Wednesday means that it is the third day of this weeks camp, so here I am on day 3 wondering what happened to my good group of students. They have been excellent this week, they have been kids, so a little wild, but today it was at a new level. It must have been because they were tired and their muscles were sore, but they were very irritable with each other and more out of control than they have been for the past couple days. Normally, just asking them to calm down or to be quiet works fairly well, but today it did not. We pushed through lunch and then the video session with moderate ease after a great time on the ice.
After lunch, though, we go outside for dry land training. They were a little whiny after we went for a warm up run and began to stretch. Many were complaining about the heat and the humidity which I can't completely blame them for; it was terribly hot and humid, but they were starting to push and get unruly. A few quick exercises after stretching calmed them down a bit but then the complaining started soon again... "my legs hurt", "I'm tired", "I want to stay in the shade," so on and so forth. Now it may sound cruel to keep them in the sun, but I always make sure to give them plenty of water breaks and unfortunately there is only one tree which amounts to very little shade on the grass and I'm certainly not having them do their exercises in the parking lot on the hot black top. They finally got through it all and were up for playing a game for the last 45 minutes which is typical of the camp - work for a half hour then play a game for however much time remains.
Lately, we've been playing blocker baseball, a form of baseball which instead of a bat you use a goalie blocker and in place of a hard ball a tennis ball is used. Today, though, the kids brought a whiffle ball and bat which they all wanted to do, but once the game got under way a few decided they were going to sit down and not play simply because their team wasn't winning so they were making excuses, "I'm bored," etc. I said we'd play capture the flag if they played 5 more minutes of whiffle ball... but one of them wouldn't relent. He was adiment that he was done playing and was going to whine about the game for the rest of the time. Well, kids may be able to get what they want at home by whining and complaining and acting stubborn, but this is not their house and I'm not their parent or babysitter. Instead, they ran until everyone was giving a solid effort in the running drills... actually, all gave a great effort except the one stubborn one, he slacked on the first running drill... but once he realized that we were going to run until he gave an effort, he decided to care more on the second and longer drill. I have found that some kids, despite their constant stubborness and complaining, respond the best to authority, especially when the other kids are punished for something they didn't do; that's how a team works and the kids at this camp are a team and will act like a team. Every camp so far has had the kids that disrespect eitehr myself of another coach and expect to get away with it... but they don't and it's rather interesting to watch the transformation that occurs during the week, most of them correct their behavior, if just for the rest of the week. Whether it be the pressure of not letting down their teamates or a realization that they can't treat their coach like their parents, I'm not sure, but either way, they learn respect for their coach - and I truly hope for their parents, but I'm not so sure of that.