What happened coach?

Circa 2006 I was coaching goalkeepers at a small high school in western Ohio.  There were 3 players who trained with me. A senior, a sophomore and a freshman.  All would make capable goalkeepers in time. It really came down to the amount of work each chose to put into learning the position.

The senior goalkeeper regularly chose other options when coaches were available to work with the team over the summer months. He missed team camp and then missed the contact days the coaches were allowed with the team.  He arrived to official practice out of shape.

The sophomore goalkeeper never missed any of the summer sessions. Additionally this kid had an unbelievable work ethic and a warriors spirit. He was in fantastic physical condition and set standards for various activities that hold firm today. He was also a bit on the short side for a goalkeeper, but made up for it with athleticism and determination.

The freshman goalkeeper came to us a bit overweight but had the best size overall. Standing approximately 6'3" I new once he rounded into physical shape he could be a good one. The question was would he work to get himself into shape?  He did. Dropping close to 30 pounds through the course of the season. By the time the season ended he was in excellent physical condition having improved his agility, coordination, quickness, speed and strength.

The sophomore won the starting goalkeeper position. By the end of the season the freshman was next on the depth chart.  The senior goalkeeper?  Well, he was naturally disappointed. In fact, he was very upset as was his mother.  His father, being a former college athlete himself recognized his son had prioritized other activities over being a goalkeeper.

I sometimes refer to it as senioritis. Others refer to it as a sense of entitlement. Call it what you will. The results are all too often the same. A senior year of soccer "ruined".   Now exactly who ruined it is often a hotly debated topic. In the story depicted above the senior goalkeeper and his mother blamed myself and our head coach for the decision to go with the sophomore goalkeeper.  Of course, the fact the senior had not put in the same level of work on goalkeeping that the sophomore (and freshman) had was of little consequence to them.  This was his senior year afterall! He "deserved" to be the starting goalkeeper  Being a senior apparently trumped all other considerations and criteria in their minds.

The reality is the starting position went to the most deserving candidate. It went to the young man who put in the effort and devoted the time to the art of goalkeeping.  Choices and priorities.