Playing for Sheep Stations

| Posted inWeekly Blog
Playing for Sheep Stations
Coaching moddies on a Saturday morning should be fun and rewarding.  Usually the coach has to also umpire and this is when fun turns into frustration.
Most of us coach our little moddies once per week and it’s a challenge to teach all the children all of the positions.  With the rotation rule, all players are required to understand where they can go when playing each position and also acquire the skill of shooting.  This is a big ask for any coach and with the wide range of skill level and comprehension amongst the players some learn quicker than others.  There is also the common problem of errors in their footwork, catching and throwing which is understandable for these little kids.
So Saturday comes around and all the players and their parents are so excited about the game.  In most cases the coaches are required to umpire which is annoying yet it is a way to guide the players and encourage them to try skills they have been learning at training.
Whistle in hand, both coaches rally their troops.  So the whistle blows for the beginning of the game and out of the blocks the opposition coach is umpiring like it’s a test match.  Pulling the kids up for everything, making sure her players were getting the ball to their end and scoring.  Unbelievable that this behaviour was acceptable and there was definitely a Sheep Station up for grabs.
So how can you stop this from happening?  Rather than getting angry with the coach of the other team, try to prevent this behaviour by discussing the way the game will be umpired before the first whistle.  Try these ideas to ensure the experience is positive for the children, parents and yourself.
1. Make sure you are both aware of the modified rules.
2. How soft will you both be on the stepping rule?  (moddies are allowed to shuffle slightly)
3. Is it ok to coach the children to where they should be in their positions?
4. Can you help both sides?
5. If one team is not scoring do you both believe it is important to help that team score points?
6. Discuss the importance of skill development rather than the final score.  Eg talk to the other coach about what you did at training so you would like the opportunity to assist them to understand it in a game situation.
7. Discuss how you both will deal with parents that are loud (maybe negative) on the sideline.  Rule is to attend to your own parents.
8. Talk about the rotation.  Sometimes teams rotate every quarter as they are meant to whilst the opposition may rotate at half time.
9. Discuss whether it is ok to assist the team with their shooting technique.  There is an inconsistency in teaching the correct technique and if the opposition coach is telling your children how to shoot and it is different from your technique this can be confusing.  Sort this out before you start umpiring.
The key is to communicate with the opposition coach and establish an enjoyable and safe environment for the children to experience their favourite game.  If you control the situation then it won’t get out of hand and you will have the respect of children, parents and the opposition.  Be humble yet confident and be happy with your suburban block as Sheep Stations are hard yakka.
Written by
Melissa O’Brien