What it’s like to work with Neighborhood Sports

March 1, 2019


This is my first full season as a Neighborhood Sports basketball coach. Even though I’ll be at ACC next year, I plan on coaching again next year as it will be the last year my current team is eligible to be in the league. The team is currently all seventh graders so if the entire team stays together, they will all be eighth graders next year.

I started getting involved with coaching last summer. My first game coaching was on July 16, which was my dad’s birthday. My dad was the true head coach of the team and as a gift, I asked him if I could take over as coach for the day. At first, I was excited to coach because it was my first time doing it but when it got to the day of the game, I got nervous because I’ve never coached before so I didn’t know how it would go. We lost that game by three points but it ended up going better than I thought it would. From that game, I knew there was stuff I could improve on as a coach and it helped for games in the future, especially this season.

Most of the time, they are easy to coach and I enjoy my time with them except when they are all doing their own thing and it takes multiple attempts to get their attention. During practice and games, when we warm up, we always start off by making a line and do layups and I try to get them to do that but they start shooting around. Sometimes, if we have a few players, I’ll wait to start layups so more of our players can start rolling in to the gym but if I don’t, then they’ll shoot around. It takes me multiple times to get their attention because as I call them, some will get in a line and get ready for layups but the others will continue to shoot around and will eventually make their way to the line to shoot layups. Once they start shooting layups, it becomes easy from there.

When I coach the team, the way I do it is the same as Mr. Howard conducting the marching band rehearsals after school. Anytime he has a comment to give to a certain group of the band, he wants nobody talking so he can make sure everyone listens to what he has to say so no one misses anything important. It applies to my coaching because if any of the players talk while I give a comment, especially if it’s about our gameplan or our formation, they will miss what I said and will ask me a question that I already answered and they missed it because they were talking when they shouldn’t have been.

From being a coach, I’ve learned that it’s not easy coaching a team. To begin with, you’ll have players that know each other from school and they’ll talk to each other and do their own thing and it takes you multiple times to get their attention and the more they do it, the more annoying it becomes. Coaching can also be easy, especially if you have players that have played together in the past and you stick with the same game plan and formation that you’ve done in the past. You put your players in the same positions as they played and you put the new guys in positions that are open or that they’ve played. Despite that, I’ve enjoyed coaching more than I have in the past, since I have coached more games. Throughout the season, I’ve had some ups and downs with the team and if you’re willing to become a coach, then it should be something worth doing.

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This is my sixth season as a Neighborhood Sports referee. Although I can only be a referee through high school, I have the option to be a field director in the fall. Even though I’ll be at ACC next year, I plan to be a field director for the league while I’m studying there.

I started as a referee when I was 13 years old. Neighborhood Sports has an age limit for playing soccer, but once a player turns 13 they have the option to become a referee. Neighborhood Sports hires referees during the fall and spring seasons. Many referees I’ve met played soccer through Neighborhood Sports before becoming a referee.

Being a referee has its good and bad moments. It can be hard because parents sometimes get involved. I’ve never experienced it, but there are times where a parent gets upset after a call is made. When they do, they’ll argue why the call was bad and what the call should’ve been and why. If you can mess up a call the players, coaches and parents will give a confused look as to why that call was made. On the other hand, it’s easy if you know the rules well enough. A referee needs to understand the plays they see, and I’ve had some games like that because I knew what to call based off of what I saw. It came natural to me. It’s even better refereeing with another person.

Being 13 years old doesn’t automatically qualify someone to become a referee; there’s a process they have to go through. The process begins by letting a commissioner know they’re interested in becoming a referee. Next, a potential referee attends a meeting where the commissioner goes over the expectations for the season, dates and reviews rules. They then take a test to see how well they know the rules (It’s pass/fail). The grade determines how much money that referee earns per hour. Then the referee assignments come out. There are more referees than referee spots, so the commissioner alternates refs every week.

From being a referee, I’ve learned that it’s a lot to handle. From dealing with the fans to knowing what to call throughout a game, there’s just a lot to deal with. There are times where you will mess up, but the key thing is to be confident in your calls. I’ve enjoyed being a referee and it’s a great way to earn money. It’s definitely worth it.

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