Yesterday was a scraped together sort of pickup for Lancaster United. Our “A” players (or at least the people who call for “A” games and then just throw themselves) were all away at tourneys or field trips, leaving the rest of the club to fend for itself. This presented a sorta-rarified thing for me, wherein the people I was playing with were still learning the trade or weren’t nearly as competitive as other Lancaster players we’ve got.
1. Still just as competitive: in the absence of our A players, our other alphabet players stepped up their games. Maybe that’s not true: they were able to expand enough without the interference of more powerful players, let’s say.
It’s something I didn’t realize until after we stopped playing, but the skill level you’ve got is something that can be affected by not only your own abilities, but by the abilities of those around you. With all of us B players kicking around yesterday, we had the opportunity to be more daring and try more plays. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong pass game, nor did I ever see some of the people playing be as strong of players.
Now – I can hear the voice of an A player ringing in my ears right now: Crusher, you dummy, of course everyone was better – nobody puts any pressure on themmmmm!!!!!!!111!!!
Yeah, I hear you. But with days like we had yesterday, other-alphabet-players are able to spread their wings, as it were, and build the confidence needed to become stronger players (without some quicksilver player coming in and ruining their chance to learn what it feels like to complete the play).
2. Time to think: Much in the same way as above, I wasn’t just thinking about how can I keep up as much as I was thinking how can I make a stronger play. I was, by no means, the strongest player out there yesterday, but I found myself having more time to allow plays to set themselves up, and I feel like I’ll be able to use that in future games.
3. Someone cut my tire: I will find you, and I will do absolutely nothing because that’s just part of the game. But damn, that’s cold.
4. Don’t ignore a new guy’s mistakes. Embrace them: This wasn’t so much something I learned as much as it is something I forget to mention all of the time: When you have a new guy playing, don’t coddle him or ignore him when he falls (any more than you would ask someone else if they are alright). It not only makes them feel like a child, but it can make the fall seem like a much bigger thing.
Essentially, if the newbie is equally OK with what’s going on, go ahead and give a little poke-of-fun at them when they crash. It helps show that you’re not very serious about the play they may or may not have fumbled, and removes the added pressure of silent judgement that they might think is present.