The curriculum is printed, the jerseys are folded, and the ice-breakers are prepared. That can only mean one thing: Coach Kickoff! This past Wednesday and Thursday, America SCORES New York hosted coach training for our soccer and poetry coaches for Spring 2018. Before the start of every season, we prepare our coaches and teachers to successfully guide our poet-athletes through soccer and service-learning, and this year was the best training yet! We started with some opening words by Executive Director Shannon Schneeman, and then we were off to the ice-breakers! Program Director Zach Gomes guided the coaches and teachers through activities that were not only transmittable to poet-athletes from multiple age groups, but allowed the coaches and teachers to learn more about what will be required of them during the coming season, including learning to communicate and getting to know others.
After we went over the day-to-day routine of general America SCORES program, we broke up into two groups—soccer and service-learning. Soccer coaches Kevin Grogan and Joe Behan of Kevin Grogan Soccer ran the ASNY coaches through several drills following an in depth discussion about positive reinforcement for young players. The five pillars of the game were explored - Technical, Tactical, Physical, Mental, Social - and Coach Grogan emphasized that for youth soccer, the most vital aspect was Social. The coaches enjoyed some good three-on-three drills and they also demonstrated some best practices for coaching the sideline and keeping all players involved and interested.
Up in the classrooms, the poetry teachers learned about the service-learning component that America SCORES adopts for elementary school students in the Spring. Throughout the season, the students explore their feelings and strengths, the feelings and strengths of their peers, and the needs of their community. They then use those to learn about acting with empathy, a vital part of service-learning. PD Zach Gomes stressed that the most successful and rewarding service-learning projects occur when the poet-athletes felt comfortable with each other and felt like a team, even off the field. We ran an additional session for the poetry teachers who work with middle school students with Dwayne Simmons from Boston SCORES. He came down to New York to prepare our middle school teachers to teach the One Hen Academy curriculum, a financial literacy program that we adopted from Boston SCORES. Through One Hen Academy, our middle school students will learn about fundamentals of money management, basics of starting a business, and the importance of helping others.
Overall, we had an incredibly fun and successful Coach Kickoff! It was definitely an exciting week here at America SCORES New York, and it's only just getting started!