The first week was good. The second week was better. Far from perfect, but the players are starting to show signs of belief.
In the first week a lot was down to observing them and seeing what they are capable of. It was also a great time to encourage them and build up their confidence (a long-term project).
The one challenge was that we had only 2 practices per week, the same as all of the other teams at the school. This was just too little time to work with them and expect a huge change in their on-field performance.
I also wanted them to get used to my voice and input and know that I have their backs.
So I suggested a 3rd practice session…
What they decided: taking the step up
They jumped at the opportunity! One kid actually asked if we couldn’t practice a 4th time every week.
The significance of this is that they were starting to believe in what we were trying to achieve. They are the center of the comeback story. The heroes that will go from zero wins one season into title contenders.
The first two practices of the week were shared with the under 14 group. This was so that they could rotate between skills and conditioning sessions.
The 3rd session was purely focused on skills.
Our 3rd session was nearly derailed…
It was on Thursday afternoon that we wanted to have our session and it was very nearly derailed by weather. The skies were dark… there was thunder and lightning… and there was rain.
By the time the practice session rolled around the thunder and lightning had moved away to a safe distance and we were able to practice. Despite the rain still coming down, only one of the players made up an excuse not to practice.
Players from other age groups were watching us with a bit of confusion from the stands while we practiced in the rain.
Another brick laid on our path to a great season
They thoroughly enjoyed the session and there were more and more glimpses starting to come through. The captain of the team however didn’t have the best of days and afterward was very dejected by his performance at the practice.
We talked about this quite a bit afterward and he will definitely come back stronger.
The win out of that situation is that he is starting to expect more from himself again.
There is a belief that is starting to form that he (and the team) is capable of more…