-- by Coach Marc Cascio
“Capice?” Coach Matt Badiee asked his 07 boys as they prepared for a field session in front of a conglomeration of Arlington Youth Soccer coaches gathered for the inaugural coaching education training.
The boys clapped their assent- which is obviously their conditioned response.
What followed was a well-orchestrated, sublimely beneficial session on high pressing. Badiee, who holds virtually every potential soccer license under the sun, leads his charges in the same way that he leads the coaches: through complete organization based on observation and analysis, and through a Socratic method which challenged both groups to evoke and incorporate their own knowledge.
Prior to the field exhibition, Badiee had conducted a classroom session. In the past at other places, such sessions have tended to have a “sage on the stage” feel, where the instructor spoke and the coaches were just expected to sit quietly and listen. Badiee, in contrast, functioned as an erudite guide: he proposed questions based on video analysis to the group and created an amiable and collegial atmosphere which proved to be conducive to enlightening discussion. Coaches chose groups of four and were asked to write down answers within their group which were, ultimately, shared amongst the array of coaches. The mixture of humor and wit in conjunction with a group of dedicated coaches sharing their knowledge had a galvanizing effect on a group of already tight coaches who are bonded in the idea of doing the best they can for their players. The two-hour classroom time flew by, and we were all anxious to observe the players on the field.
One of the tenants that Badiee emphasized was that coaches should “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. This is an idea that I personally have encountered in many different arenas, and those who embrace it are primed to achieve because discomfort means less to them than does progress. And, it’s a good thing too, because I am sure that I wasn’t alone in thinking back on my own sessions while watching Coach Badiee’s and thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?” and “ Wow, I can’t wait to incorporate what I have seen and heard today to make my sessions better”. But, this training was all about growth, and I am also sure I wasn’t alone in finding the five hours on that Saturday morning with my fellow coaches and Baidee both exhilarating and educational.
At the culmination of the session, Badiee addressed the coaches, stating that he had learned from us and that he would love any feedback or requests for information that we had. He closed the excellent training session with his trademark “Capice?”
For more reasons than one, I wanted to clap!