So I went to watch some other teams from our club play this past weekend. I thought (hoped?) maybe it was just my kid’s team and coach that played American kickball. I was curious to learn if there was any good soccer being played elsewhere, perhaps a coach teaching possession, or maybe if I was lucky, to discern the club philosophy of play. I watched two U12 boys’ teams play, and a U18 boys team.
It was all the same. The U18s were more skilled and more athletic, but it was just a faster, more frenetic version of jungleball, with a few more pockets of better technique. If the keeper didn’t punt it forward, the defenders booted it. If the defenders didn’t boot it, the midfielders tried to thread 50 yard needles. The forwards stood around a lot, waiting to sprint. Boom, kick, sprint. Boom, kick, sprint. I counted zero sequences of more than three passes. If the players didn’t have room to boom, kick or sprint, they put their head down and tried to dribble through four defenders. The ball went out of play a lot.
My kid watched as well, and we discussed what we were seeing. Why didn’t that player play it back … why not switch the field … how could the teammates help by giving more options … why no width … how would a little patience improve their chances … ?
At the U12 game we had a short conversation with some parents. They were unsure of both the name of their kid’s club and the number of players on the field.
I’m not a great tactician by any means, but it was obvious even to my limited knowledge that American kickball is a losing game. It’s no fun to watch either.