In the spring of 2009, the 9U Force, a soccer team in Lakewood, Ohio didn’t win a single game. The players, a group of first year kids, had zero organized soccer experience and needed time to comprehend and apply the basics. While morale could have sunk as the kids left the field each game without a “w”, that wasn’t the case. Jay Mursch, the Force’s rookie coach, simply would not allow it.
Mursch, a 36-year-old software programmer by day, was a 100 percent confident in his team. His strategy, focus on the fundamentals of dribbling and shooting and have fun doing it. Which is why he constantly emphasized their progress, and encouraged them to keep their heads held high.
His strategy paid off half way through the Force’s second season together, when they finally tasted the sweet thrill of success. “Seeing how excited the kids were to get what they had been working so hard for was by far the best reward a coach could receive,” wrote Coach Mursch. Watching step-son Colin partake in the joyous first win was also an added bonus for our Coach of the Week.
Indeed, Coach Mursch and his wife Heather of two years, were thrilled at the accomplishment. But soccer is just one of many family activities. They not only hit the soccer fields routinely but also the running paths, participating in up to four 5K’s a year - their latest being on Father’s Day. Mursch also gets his adult soccer fix in by participating on a weekly co-ed indoor league.
Coach Mursch’s active lifestyle makes him a great role model for each of the Force players. And so far it’s working. The Force are 5-0-1 this season and are continuing to have fun and improve. Coach Mursch is excelling too writing, “I enjoy coaching more and more each season.”
Keep up the great work Coach Mursch and good luck with your final game!
Coach Mursch’s Keys to Success:
- Don’t try to accomplish too much at once. Start with one teaching point at a time and keep reinforcing it over and over.
- Keep practices loose but also disciplined and the kids will learn more than you can imagine.
- Turning drills into games and making competition between the teammates is the best way to keep them engaged.