Today was my first practice with the local college women's team. Kate is out and about and unable to come to practice, so I was on my own. I used the rules and suggestions from the UPA coaching clinic and, for the first time, actually wrote a schedule of what I wanted to cover in practice. I had high hopes going to practice.
They were dashed pretty much as soon as I arrived at practice.
We had low numbers to start with. Can't really scrimmage when there are only 8 players out.
Most of the players showed up late. I started the practice off with what we were going to do at practice, as per John's practice format, but didn't wait past 9:15 before starting. That meant two or three players missed out because they were late, and weren't as clued into practice as the others. They also missed out on the throwing warmup and practice. I scheduled 9:00 to 9:15 as throwing practice, figuring some players would be late. Those who were missed out on the throwing warmup, which is unfortunate, but I really don't want to encourage ultimate-time any more than it already exists in our culture.
We had distractions. Usually when I start talking, I can keep the team's attention through the first sentence, then start losing them after the second or third. I often try the call and response, or question a player about what I'm explaining. I tried both, but wasn't very successful with some players.
Rather than try to talk over the distracted players, I just kept talking at the same volume, at the same speed, looking up at the distracted players, but not addressing them directly. The second time I did this, and part of the team couldn't hear what I was saying, several players, the ones who are quickly improving players who clearly wanted to know what I was saying, told the talking women to shut up, shush, sssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHH! I had very few interruptions after that, for which I was thankful.
And then there was the bathroom issue. Mid-practice, during a water break, half the team left to use the bathroom. Now, I of the world's smallest bladder have exactly zero reasons to begrudge them heading off to the bathroom, it's the fifteen minutes of socializing that frustrate me.
I know the are conflicts. I know there's schoolwork. I understand the balance of life and how too much of anything can be detrimental to one's mental and physical health.
I just wish some players were passionate about ultimate and wanted to play with the intensity and obsession of the recently converted. I don't really know how to inspire that love.
Not yet, anyway.