The kids I coach in grassroots football over the last few years have made four Grand Finals and only won one. This year, they played up an age group and got knocked out in the semi final game to make the Grand Final.
For the result centric parent, this is an underachievement. From their mouths, I have heard how it’s a team that chokes on the grandest stage. It’s unfortunate that the consistency shown throughout the year is forgotten based on a result from just one game.
For a development focused parent, this shows them that their child’s development is progressing on the right path. They are competing and as a by-product of competing, they are successful. And it’s pleasing to see a grassroots club competing against representative teams and academies. The rep teams and academies have parents who pay between $1500 to $2500 for the year while the parents of the kids I coach pay $195 for the year.
I am one of those silent coaches when it comes to game time. I say my pre-match speech with my white board for two minutes, have my half time talk for 3 minutes and wrap it up at the end of the game for 2 minutes. Short and sweet and to the point. In the end, it’s the kids that go out on the field and play the game. All I hope is that I’ve given them some technical and tactical edge to compete and enjoy the game.
I had a parent come up to me and say “How do you deal with the empty feeling of disappointment when so much hard work and so much development over the last 12 months ends with losing a grand final? I said to the parent to have a look at the kids.
They are smiling. The hurt at full time is gone, replaced by a fire/hunger to go one better next year. They have already moved on and are focusing on next year. Resilience is the key. The kids are the ones that need to overcome the feeling, not the parent or the coach.