It's a scorcher and the climate is very Brazilian. The players, they are clowning about in one of those moods that makes one wonder why we coaches give up so much of our time with these young players. We could be soaking up the sun somewhere else. Like maybe on a beach watching people go by, listening to the waves roll in and dreaming a bit. We can dream can we not? Let our minds wander in peace maybe, catching up on some reading and taking a peak at who's going by.
Then you see a bunch of kids running on the sand in bare feet giggling and having fun with nothing other than a soccer ball. Oh no, you say to yourself. I can't get away….Soccer here, soccer there, soccer everywhere. After a month of soccer on TV, soccer in the streets with people waving flags, soccer in the front pages of all the papers all while coaching my soccer team, I want to get away from that ball. Especially now more than ever because of Ronaldo.
Yes Ronaldo, I worshiped you for your perseverance in the case of adversity. Through media and peer pressure, through injury and through all kinds of personal demons you demonstrated that hard work, practice and mental toughness would get you through. Just the qualities we coaches talk about to our players. And yes, your skills, that too. We talk about your ball control, quickness and ability to find the open spaces. We ask our players to emulate you and take on opponents and then give it off every so quickly and swiftly. We coaches, we talk about how you shoot to score with power, precision and of course perfect technique.
We talk about you when we hold our shooting practices. Do it like Ronaldo, head down and steady, plant the non kicking foot beside the ball, keep the toe down and hit it with the instep of the foot. Oops, get that toe down, we tell our players, hit the ball with the shoe lace area of the foot. (Wherever that may be now a days. Some shoes no longer have shoelaces. Pretty soon well be playing barefoot with stick-on studs for the sole of our feet. Can't get any lighter than that now can we?) Back to the story.
Yes coaches, we teach practice after practice about proper technique. Even when we sleep we dream about repeating those words. Why can't some of my players put that stupid ball in the back of the net? It's so simple, just watch Ronaldo. Progress is happening little by little and we feel we are not wasting our time until of course we get back to that practice just last week in that hot humid day when the players were there just to aggravate you and want you to shrink to the smallest depth.
Yes it all started on that faithful day not so long ago. That's when my model, my go to guy, my demonstrator, Ronaldo, betrayed me and all us coaches in the biggest stage of all at the World Cup in front of a billion people, give or take a few Buffalo sports casters who happened be on another planet that month.
Yes Ronaldo, that's when your ruined it. You played so well up until that point.
And then you went ahead and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like: scoring a goal with your TOE. Yes. Your frigin TOE.
Try explaining that to my player's hot dog. No wonder they are clowning around trying to tell me how to shoot and score. "Coach, I thought you said not to use your toe".
The World Cup was practically won by a toe! There goes years of coaching down the drain. Now everyone wants to kick with the toe. That's it I'm going home. No, I can't show them that. I'm the adult coach. Yes I'll suck it all in. And then of course, they had to show it over and over and over again and again and again and then in slow motion and super slow motion. This angle and that angle, close up and super close up. Holy Cow, why not just punch me in the face and make me look like a moron. Yes coaches, we are all under stress at this time. The NSCAC will be holding a psychology session with non-other than Hubert Vogelsinger. The great Austrian who showed us again and again how to master the art of shooting in his tapes, clinic sessions and book.
Yes coaches, we have to stick together on this. We'll get through it. I'll be dreaming of that stupid toe punt for a while. Oh no. I'm daydreaming as I type this. Wait a minute, what do I see? Oh my gosh, all my players have e-mailed me a team picture of them and I can't get it out of my computer. And look, they have all shaved their heads except for that stupid triangle on the front of their heads.
…Wake me up when it's over….
Hope you enjoyed the story, Don't try commenting, it's totally fiction.
Thanks for reading
Executive World Cup Fan