A guest blog post from one of our most active members, Scott M. I am really excited about this one because my oldest son has been taking soccer classes with Super Soccer Stars for the last several years, and I’m always happy to share my favorite experiences with my fellow Dads. I played soccer from the time I was six until I was thirteen, and I think I’ve learned more watching my son’s classes than I did in my entire childhood. Congratulations to Super Soccer Stars as they celebrate 10 years in NYC!
When my son first started saying a few words, every ball my son saw was labeled a basketball. With almost all of the older playgrounds in the city having an adjoining basketball court, he has had a lot of early exposure to the street sport. Earlier in the summer, I took him to see the Staten Island Yankees with the Dad’s group and then baseball crept into his vocabulary. My son has never seen soccer before, nor has he exhibited any passion for kicking a ball. (We missed the World Cup action because we’re still not watching television.) In the playground a few days earlier, he was playing with a girl his age who was confounding him because they’d both run to the ball and when he would bend down to pick it up to throw, she would beat him by kicking it.
A couple weeks ago at the ripe age of 2.5 yrs, we attended a demo class provided by Super Soccer Stars. The class size was smaller than expected with the teacher/student ratio at 1:2 so the kids got a lot of individual attention. All the kids attending were about 2 to 3 years old. The class is designed to be a drop off class, but because of the age of the kids, some of the dads would participate lightly to get the kids to refocus on the coaches. It was the first time I attended a drop off class and it was fun to be able to watch him in a class setting without being right on top of him.
The teachers (coaches) started off with some basics of soccer in song and rhyme to let the kids know not to use their hands. After a few minutes of hello songs and songs about soccer basics, my son’s attention started to wander. I think it was mostly because I wasn’t on top of him to nudge him, but fortunately it was quickly followed up with activities to get them to learn the basics they were just singing about. The kids had a lot of fun, working on uprighting cones with their feet, kicking objects in the goal and other activities.
The class had a really good pace, the coaches were both very energetic and sensitive to when the kids needed to move to the next activity to keep their attention and keep them motivated. Time flew and class was over before we knew it.
The shining moment for me was the end of class, where they set up cones, a ball and a net. The kids were supposed to run to the ball while straddling the cones and then kick the ball into the net. I was absolutely sure my son would run up to the ball, pick it up and throw it at the net. But the class must have already sunk in, because he straddled the cones, ran up to the ball and kicked it in the net with a glorious smile, then wanted to do it again. I’ve heard of soccer classes where toddlers might do soccer activities for only a short time of the class’s duration, and the rest of the class is like your average class of singing in a circle. But this class is full of soccer activities with only a very small portion of it singing in a circle (it’s the easiest way to say hello, good bye and cover basics.) In swim class terms, this class teaches your toddler how to swim, you’re not just dancing with him in the water while singing “the wheel on the bus” and surprisingly, my 2 yr old was ready for it.