Isabelle played her first season of soccer this Spring. We signed up for a team through the YMCA with her best friend Addi and thought it would be fun for the girls. Isabelle was so excited to start playing. We went out and got her a pink soccer ball and started practicing every day for a few weeks before the season started, she looked like a natural. Then the season started...
Isabelle was so excited for the first game. She was determined to kick the ball and get it in the goal.
Then came our first obstacle...she couldn't use her pink ball. Why did I have to buy her a pink ball??? She had a complete melt down. When we finally got her out on the field she had the ball and someone took it away....obstacle #2- you don't share in soccer. Isabelle just couldn't understand why people would take the ball away from her when it was her turn. Obstacle #3- kids would run right into her and not say sorry. Yes in soccer you don't stop to say sorry. It didn't help that Isabelle was the shortest one on her team and usually one of the shortest and youngest on the field. Each week before the game she said she was going to play and kick the ball and not cry. She would go into the huddles with her team and be all ready but then we kept running into the same obstacles. Would this ever work?
Typical scene of me trying to get Isabelle out on the field as she cries from the sidelines.
Erin and Marc came to watch Isabelle play, but saw more tears than playing. Anya liked coming to Isabelle's games. Fortunately she hadn't started walking yet so I didn't have to worry about her trying to run into the field.
We kept hoping that Isabelle would see Addi playing and want to play like her.
After about 4 weeks of tears, I decided to try a new approach. I took Isabelle to the store and let her pick out a toy. I told her if she played her soccer game that week and didn't cry at all that I would give her the toy. Yes, I bribed her! Some may frown on that, but at this point I was willing to try anything. That Saturday we went to her game. She watched me bring the toy with us and put it in the stroller, still in its packaging. She went in the huddle with the team and then went out on the field to play. And she played! It was like she was a completely different child. She kept looking over at me so proud that she was playing and saying "I'm doing it Mama." At the end of the game she came over and said "now can I have my toy?" Of course! I was one proud Mama. The next week I was a little concerned that she wouldn't play if I didn't get her a toy so we went out again and picked out another toy and went through the same process. Sure enough she played again. This continued for a couple weeks till she was good and comfortable and playing. Now when I say she played, I don't mean she was suddenly making goals and kicking the ball a lot. In fact she hardly touched the ball, but she kept running up and down the field with the other kids following the ball. So there is still a lot of room for improvement, but at least she overcame her fear and her need for her pink ball. I'm proud of her!
Charles coached one week when Isabelle's coach was gone and helped out on the other weeks.