Yesterday was a rough practice for me. I stayed back run with a couple of the slower kids and was getting really frustrated by how much they were goofing off. And the excuses they were making for not running. And the comments they were making about not wanting to practice, and not caring. It's frustrating to me because I want so badly to help them improve. It's frustrating because I know they can run the distance, and I know they can run faster than they were. I want them to get better, and they're not going to improve as runners by walking. I had to yell at them a few times to get moving. And encourage them and push them to even finish the run.
After practice, I ran a little more with a friend of mine who teaches at the middle school. While we were running, I began expressing my frustrations. He told me that I need to remember that these kids are only 6th graders. He said they are really more like elementary kids. They are still maturing and growing. They are not out there to torture themselves in the heat (although it has cooled down significantly over the last several days!), they come out to have fun.
So, I was humbled. I need to remember to keep it fun. I don't want to push the kids away and make them not want to keep running in the future. If they are having fun, they are going to enjoy running. They will want to come out for the team next year and the next and the next. And as they mature, they will be more motivated to push themselves and have a greater desire to improve.
Does anyone have ideas for fun games for the kids? I remember some of the games I played on my cross-country team, but I am definitely open to other ideas. Just remember I only have four kids.