First day of our spring break camp today. Didn’t feel much like spring to be honest. Wicked winds mixed in with enough rain to make itself known. Sixty odd kids out there though and they were troopers.
The over-under on first kid to need to go to the washroom was 25 minutes and those who went under were rewarded as one of the younger players put his hand up at the 18 minute mark.
First enquiry as to when the snack break would be came soon after.
Sure glad I brought a brand new canopy down to the field so players get put their bags underneath and maybe get a bit of respite from the weather during breaks. Anchored it down with a 30lb bag wrapped around the base of the leg and used the tie downs to attach it to the perimeter fence. It lasted half an hour before a gust picked it up, along with the 30lb anchor and flipped it over the fence destroying several of the metal bars. Useless.
Looking for an answer to how many times you need to tell 10 year old boys not to shoot balls around during the break? Six. Even with escalating volume each time.
Amazed and impressed that not one kid, and they were as young as five, broke down in tears and wanted to go home.
Even with them all bundled up like colourful little michelin men, it’s a pretty impressive sight seeing them all running around, filling up the field despite the weather.
Day 2 weather forecast: more of the same.
Weather turned out to be pretty awesome. Especially when you compared to our friends running the Coquitlam Metro Ford Spring Break Camp. They had to cancel due to snow at Town Centre!
Forgot to mention that one of our younger assistant coaches that we bring in to help out almost quit on her first day. She was taking some of the younger kids to the washroom and had a little boy come out crying with his pants down saying he couldn’t get them back up (he had two pairs of pants on due to the cold and got them tangled up). Tears and nakedness in a men’s public washroom didn’t sit too well with your young coach and she came back to the field saying “I didn’t sign up for this. I want danger pay.”
Interesting to note that I had the 6-8 year old girls first and did a touch-heavy 100 minutes with them doing all sorts of ball manipulation and they only needed one two-minute water break. Lots of work. No complaints. All smiles at the end. Great kids.
Day 3 to 5:
It took a few days to thaw out from one of the harshest March days I can remember. It snowed a bit, a hailed and sleeted but it mainly rained sideways amidst a strong wind. Amazed that we only had one player asks to go home and that was a U12 who had probably been left the task of dressing himself and opted for shorts, t-shirt and a nylon jacket.
The funny thing was that our numbers didn’t dip on Wednesday despite the continuing lousy weather but they did on Thursday which turned out to be pretty awesome. But our last two days so a combination of “won’t be there due to a cold” emails and people leaving for spring break holidays. Felt bad for them as they missed two pretty nice days and our semi-legendary soccer trivia games that we play during the snack break.
So Monday to Wednesday was all about the Adidas puffy coaching jackets and wool socks but Thursday and Friday we almost needed to break out the sunscreen. Such is Vancouver.
Camps like this actually are great to re-focus you as a coach. You can run familiar drills and games but when the range of abilities and ages can be quite wide, sometimes within a single group it forces you to think on your feet and make adjustments quickly. By doing so, you see those drills and games in a different light and can picture further conditions you can add for future use. Re-contextualized drills and games are just as valuable and important as trying out entirely new ones. Definitely felt this sort of intensive, wide ranging camp was beneficial to both the players and myself. And it showed that you should never underestimate what kids can tolerate and achieve in sport. Even very young ones.