Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adapting Positions

Barley's team had their second win last weekend!  It was an exciting game, 4 to 3.  Barley played goalie the first half, and then came out of the net to be a defender in the second half.  He is a natural defender, always focused on stopping the ball's forward progress.

It has been fun watching Barley turn into a goalie.  After he twisted his ankle really badly a few weeks ago, his coach put him in the net to play goalie during practice, so he could participate without running around much.  He did well enough to earn some actual game time as goalie.  When he gets the ball, he runs and kicks it back into play quickly, before the other team's offense has time to back up.  This usually means he is kicking it over their heads, into the waiting line of our forwards, who take it back to the other end of the field before their team knows what happened.

One thing Barley is still learning to do, is grab the ball with his hands.  Three years of playing soccer, and NOT touching the ball with his hands has been the mantra all along.  It is his instinct to kick, even when it would be better to dive for it.  I can understand his hesitation though--who wants to risk getting kicked in the face during a dive?  He is learning to catch the pop-flies that come in (I know that term is from baseball, not soccer, but you knew what I meant, right?) and we got to see him do that IN the game on Saturday.

DH breathes a sigh of relief whenever Barley's time in the net is done.  While he enjoys watching him as goalie, as the last line of defense, he worries about every drive that brings the ball into the goalie's realm.  It is less stressful to watch him as a defender, at which he is also excellent.

Barley used to be the one kid who stopped the other team's Goliath--a child several inches taller than everyone else on the team.  Barley also took any penalty shots or corner kicks.  This season, that Goliath is on the same team with Barley, and he kicks higher and harder than our son does.  When Barley kicked a penalty in the game this past week, his coach yelled for him to let Goliath take it next time.

He and the other boy just grinned at each other and shrugged.  They are all getting used to new positions.  Fewer penalty kicks and corner kicks, but Barley is doing  more throw-ins.  We noticed he was throwing these higher and further than he had been, so we asked about the change.  He said his friend J had shown him how to throw over everyone's heads.

That's what we want to see from this experience...new skills , growth, adapting to change.  Makes all the schedule contortions worth the hassle


  1. Watching Barley let in the 2 goals he's allowed so far has been very difficult--mostly because I knew how brutal he would be on himself about letting his team down. On one goal, he had no chance...but there was that one where he just didn't bend over and pick it up, oh boy! Still he's really getting pretty good at it, and it's wonderful to see him take to the new challenge so eagerly! Another Dad expressed his admiration for how Barley was verbally directing his defensive players on their positioning. It's the perfect combination--he gets to play soccer and be bossy at the same time!

  2. First, the fact that Jomama even remotely understands soccer is very amusing to me. Any time I talked about a sport I could feel her eyes roll back.

    Second, I also have a son that is a goalie but in the best sport, hockey, and he always beats himself up when scored on, even well into adulthood. She should take heart, our other son played forward against his brother and always rubbed in when he scored. Try dealing with that!!

  3. Yo "Anonymous," *cough*little brother*cough*

    I don't recall you discussing sports much until your boys took up hockey, actually.

    The even greater irony is that our most sports-minded sibling ended up with the artistic offspring, while the 2 of us appear to be raising jocks...


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