Friday, December 14, 2018
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extra time well spent

Every Friday I would go to a local school and coach an intramural style sports program. Every Friday I watched Quentin take a “back seat” to the action. I watched him goof around and act silly, not ever getting serious about playing and helping his team. There were those moments when he would have to have a “time out” because his behavior got a little out of control. He wasn’t a bad kid, he just seemed to lose focus, get distracted and cause disruptions to the game. The truth is that he was a very likeable kid with a fun personality, but he just seemed to not have any interest in the games.
Well, one Friday as I arrived a little earlier than normal to set up the field and get the equipment ready, I saw Quentin coming out to the field. He said his teacher let him out early so he could come and be my “helper”. If you haven’t noticed yet kids love to be the “helper”, especially those 8 year olds just like Quentin or the “Q-man” as I called him.
Well I thought this would be the perfect time to spend some quality one on one time with him. So, I grabbed the football and we played catch for about 15 minutes. The first few minutes he struggled to catch the football. Needless to say throwing a good-looking spiral pass back to me didn’t happen. His ball looked like a wounded duck in flight.
Then, after a few minutes of non-stop catching and throwing with coaching, he started to get it. He started to catch the ball when I threw it to him and then he started to throw spirals back to me. His success started to motivate him. He started to “like” football and really liked to play catch.
The next several weeks, the Q-man somehow talked his teacher into letting him out early to come and be my helper. He would go straight to the footballs, find his favorite one, and then he and I would play catch until the others came. He really started to get good at it.
I could see his confidence level increase. He started to actually play in the games and found that it was a lot more fun that way. He was an important player now on the team as he contributed to the teams’ outcome. He didn’t act silly anymore, was really focused and tried really hard. No more backseat for the Q-man. The kids even wanted the Q-man on their team.
All it took was a little one on one time, a little instruction, a little personal attention, and a lot of love. The Q-man didn’t have to cover up his lack of self-confidence anymore by being silly or not trying. His confidence took him to another level. He was not the best player on his team, but that didn’t matter. He now felt adequate. He felt capable. He felt like the others.
The strength of extra time and love goes a long way with our young kids. So dads and youth coaches, go find your Q-man and make a difference!

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