Toddler "Organized" Sports Are Anything But Organized.

I had such an eye opening experience at Ollie's first soccer practice. Oh, do I have a story for you...

We got to the practice with five minutes to spare. I've learned showing up early usually only leads to disaster in the form of a bored toddler, so as a rule, I aim for a five minute buffer, MAX. Since we had never been there, I wanted to leave time for the level of confusion and anxiety I was already feeling.

We walked in behind two ladies and a little boy Ollie's age. It was clear this was not their first time being there, so I decided to follow close. This worked out for navigating our way to sign-in and finding Ollie's name tag, but failed once I realized I was following her to the bathroom.

Thankfully, next to the bathrooms was the entrance to the soccer field, so we migrated with the rest of the parents and kids. Ollie's coach greeted us, and after introductions and pleasantries, he said, "Come on Ollie, let's go play soccer." Ollie barely glanced back at me before taking the ball out of the coach's hand and running out onto the field.  #peaceoutmommy

Much to my delight, the lady I followed in, sent her son onto the field right after Ollie, so I decided to follow her again to see where I should sit. We made our way to the bleachers, right as the coach called the toddlers, about a dozen 2-3 year olds, to the center of the field.

After ice breakers and rules, the coach described the first drill. Once he finished talking, Ollie takes off! But not with the other kids.

Quite the opposite.

In seconds, he's at the other side of the field, by himself, kicking and chasing a ball. FYI: The first drill is to make a turtle shell on your back with your arms by clasping your hands and "slowly" kick the ball.

Not my kid.

He has one speed; haul ass

I shook my head and started to get up when my new friend told me he was right on track for his first practice, and to let him run wild. She said the coaches would corral him every time they began a new drill, but when Ollie runs off, and expect him to, don't worry about it.

She told me today's only goal (pun intended) is to get him to have fun and like being there, and not to worry, every practice he will pay more attention and participate in the drills more and more. It turns out, this is her third kid, so she knows the ropes very well.

You all, no shit, Ollie did his own thing pretty much the entire time.  I was so embrassed at first. There's the group of kids in the center and then there's my boy... Doing his thing FAR from the center.  Sure enough, a couch would coral him back to the center for a new drill, and sure enough he would run right off once the kids started.

This pretty much sums up the practice:
Ollie chasing, tackling, kicking and carrying a soccer ball, while everyone else did mini-drills.
By the end of the 45-minute practice, I got over being embarrassed about having the ONLY wild-kid running around and not sticking with group. Of course, he will get better at listening and participating; preferably, sooner than later.

He is still two years old after all, so taking everything into consideration, I'm super proud of him! There's no denying he was having a great time kicking his ball and running freely. To Ollie's credit, when a couch would corral him for a new drill or water break, he always listened and joined the group. He just had no desire to stick around.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Uplifting Families Parenting Advice said...

I hope he enjoys it. By the time he gets the hang of it the season will be over with. Try and relax mom, he will figure it out. Plus for the first several years, soccer for young kids is generally herd ball. You will see every kid on the team running and chasing down the ball.

April McCormick said...

All that matters to me is that he enjoys it. I was certainly comforting hearing his behavior was normal. Thankfully this club does camps year round, so as long as he wants to play "herd ball" I'll keep taking him.

Unknown said...

Dex tried out soccer for a season or two and never got into it, so we did gymnastics for a few years. But, totally with you... the little ones. Oh my word.

April McCormick said...

Yeah, I plan to let him try everything he shows an interest in, but no way will I force him to do anything... those bleachers are cold and full of helicopter moms!

Kgomotso said...

It sounds like he had a lot of fun though. Well done to you too for letting him :).