Do you remember your first time on a team? Learning how to play a sport? DC SCORES intern Luiza Kieffer is spending this fall with the Seaton Elementary School Stingers, documenting the team’s progress on a weekly basis as Coach Blake teacher the kids basic skills, the rules of soccer, and how to be on a team. For more, follow @DCSCORESinterns and watch Luiza’s videos on YouTube.
Written by Luiza Kieffer
Digital Media Intern
Nov. 17, 2015
The fall soccer season for the Seaton Stingers is nearing its end. Coach Blake is very impressed with the improvement these young athletes have shown the past couple of weeks, but he is not done with them yet. Starting off the practice with their usual routine of stretching, the Stingers then go straight into practice.
Coach Blake sets up the field with a straight line of cones on either side.
“1, 2, 3, 4...” Blake yells out.
Automatically the kids know it’s time for the Stingers to come together around their coach. Once Coach gets to 10, if the kids aren’t there they must complete 10 push-ups ... “8 .. 9 .. 10." Some of the kids still trickling in, Coach Blake looks at them and they immediately know they have to complete their push-ups.
While the kids are completing their push-ups, Blake starts to explain the first drill of the day.
“Everybody line up with the cones!” he tells the Stingers. “Dribble the ball with your left foot to the cones, then circle around and switch to your right foot.”
All the kids line up, and Blake yells, “Go!” and the kids begin. As the drill began, it was complete chaos, everybody running into each other as though they didn’t know what to do. After a couple of run-throughs, they finally get the hang of it and complete the drill well. One of coach's main focuses for the Stingers is improving their dribbling, so they continue the drill for several minutes.
By the end of practice as light wanes from the field, the kids eagerly wait to scrimmage once again -- it never gets old for them. Coach splits the Stingers into two teams, and assigns each team a different color. Once the scrimmage starts, it's a joy to watch the progress the Stingers have made since mid-September.
From the very beginning of the season up to these last couple of practices, the kids have not only grown their soccer skills, but also their team bonding.
While they scrimmage, I can hear more communication on the field than from the first couple of weeks -- kids telling their teammates to pass the ball or congratulating each other on scoring. The kids are quick to encourage each other to play better.
The younger kids who have never been on a soccer team before DC SCORES have improved immensely. There's no way you could tell this has been their first real team experience.
“The kids are starting to get soccer, and learn to love soccer," Blake says. "And I’m really proud of them.”
As practice finishes up, Ryan, one of the leaders on the team, screams out, “This is the best soccer team ever!”