In his weekly Limerick Leader column, our Secret Junior Footballer reckons that traditional ways might be best when it comes to coaching.
We got a new coach at the club lately, a young fella. The gaffer decided that we needed a new voice so when the usual 14 of us showed up to training a few Tuesdays ago, there he was. Now I’m no stranger myself to coaching badges having recently completed an FAI Kick Start course and I’m proud to say my U-10 team are unbeaten all season – we’ve played one game. That said, there’s no way I’d try to use any of my new-found knowledge on any of our lot.
We’ve got the usual big fat goalie that most teams down our end of the table have. He’s the local GAA junior ‘A’ keeper too and he’s a little mad which only adds to the stereotype. We’ve got the Secret Junior Footballer as our centre-half and his partner is just as old and slow as he is most weeks, unless the younger lad is home from London for the weekend.
Our fullbacks and wingers are the quick lads from the rugby team but they’ve usually had a game and a few pints the day before so they could show up in any state and the centre midfielders, re-energised by Juan Mata’s move to United spend more time breaking into the box than they do trying to win the ball back. Our strikers are the usual posers who can win or lose a game for you on their own.
So all of these differently shaped soccer players stood there with open mouths when the keenest coach in the world started laying out the cones. Before long we were hopping and skipping our way around the pitch and for the most part we really enjoyed it.
But there’s only so far you can take these lads and the kid overstepped the mark in one fell swoop. We have lads who have been playing this game all their lives and along comes this lad, fair play to him he knew his stuff, telling our centre-forward how to defend.
Firstly, he knows and we know how to defend as a striker. You walk, very slowly back to the halfway line and you stand there with your hands on your hips and wait for the ball to be pumped back up the pitch. He had our big number nine sprinting after the ball, chasing down fullbacks and not allowing anyone to settle on it and for the five minutes that he had any energy in his body he was like a new man.
After those five magnificent minutes he stopped, but the coach kept pushing him and pushing him and pushing him until BANG. The kid got a mitre size 5 right in the stones and spent the rest of the session trying to dislodge his whistle from the back of his throat.
Within a week it was back to the old fashioned laps, Chelsea sets and sprints, you know, just like Janesboro do it and look how well it’s worked out for them this year!