Right away let me say “Go team USA!” They just played a superior game against Portugal to tie 2-2.
A few hours ago I got back from the “D” license course for soccer coaches in Arlington Heights. I had a horrible experience last time, failed, and vowed to not return but supposedly “everything changed” in 2013, that it was now more professional and standardized, and so I decided to give it another try. The actual test is next month but I figured I could use a refresher so I showed up, unannounced, at an earlier session (which was today – the US Soccer website says players who sign up for the test are encouraged to attend the instruction session).
Once again, I asked ‘what activity should I coach for my topic’, once again I was was told it’s not important, they don’t care, that “It’s not what you coach – we judge you on ‘how’ you coach”, once again I copied the activity the instructor used on a previous day, once again it was my lesson plan they criticized (as opposed to how I coached it) and told me it was not an appropriate choice of activity, and once again I failed. They even told me not to show up for the next session, that I needed to start over with the E license.
I sort of saw it coming. I’m getting used to recognizing the lack of smiles/nods, blank stares, and not answering my questions as asked. So this time I corralled the instructors (both of them!) after the course and made a point of asking “why?”
The conversation went like this:
Me: “So what is wrong with my lesson plan?”
Instructor: “This activity is not a good choice to use.”
“It’s not a realistic situation.”
(Pause as I reflect on the irony.)
“Do you agree? This is not what happens in the game?”
“Yeah, but then neither is any of the drills anyone did.”
“It’s not active enough. Too much standing around.” (No its not, and even if it is I just make the field or groups smaller.)
“It does everything you said I needed! Exactly!” (Yesterday he gave me a list after I kept pushing on the ‘how do I know what an activity needs.’ Answer: Provides a way to score, to win, goals, pressure, direction, and includes the topic.)”
“I just don’t think you get the philosophy US Soccer is trying to teach.”
“What!? Are there specific criteria or not?”
“You should take the ‘E’ course again. We have one in a month -”
“Wait, that’s a ‘technical’ course, like how to kick a ball and stuff.”
“Yes, but that’s where we introduce lesson plans.”
“I can understand you not liking this choice of activity here on this page, but now you’re making it sound like I don’t know how to do a lesson plan.”
“You need to keep an open mind here.”
“I’m trying! But what is wrong with this activity?”
“These are just suggestions. We’re just saying this is what you need to succeed. We want you to succeed too.”
(Recognizing a cop-out when I see one) “You’re the boss.”
(Other instructor visibly bites tongue. She recognized the insinuation of personal bias and is thinking “It is not us, its USSoccer.” Both say nothing.)
(Sigh) “Thank you for your feedback.”
And I vowed not to argue this time! ARG! Next try I’m going to be completely silent. Not a peep. Complete mute until they say its my turn. Nothing. Zip. Of course, that means I will have to try not to listen, since this time my first argument came after the statement “Attackers are usually numbers-up in a real game.” I couldn’t help it – a “What?!” burst out of my mouth. I swear I won’t ask a single question next time.
I already signed up and paid for the official test in a month. But they advised me to not even attend since they “know I will fail”. What does that mean, I “Don’t get the philosophy??” They make it sound like a religion or something! Since when is belief required to pass a test? So frustrated here.
You fail, US Soccer. Fail.