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the practice before the playoffs
THE PRACTICE BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS
It was the practice the weekend of the playoffs. Sunday 10 am. I was wicked tired. I thought he had never had a practice this early in the day. Every one was warming up in the heavy fog. The coach, Mr. H, laughed “ Take two slow laps around the field to get warmed up then we will stretch”.
So our team starts running at a slow pace in a single file line, then we start to merge into little groups and talk. Vigs and I were talking about this practice, like how hard he going to push us this practice and what he’s going to show us. We had never made it past the second round of the playoffs so he was probably going to push us really hard. Harder then he has ever pushed us before. I don‘t think that 10 am are team would be ready for a super hard practice. I saw that everyone was yawning. We had finished our first lap and Ben and I could see that people were starting to slow down and loosing their breath but not us we kept going strong till the end, then we finished our second lap around the field. Coach said
“ Wait till every body gets back then lead the stretch.” Then he said “ Make sure it’s a really good stretch I don’t want you to pull a muscle or anything like that.”
Ben and I said “ We can do that.”
When every one got back coach said
“ Get in a circle around Adam and Ben they are going to lead you in a good long stretch to warm your muscles up.” coach exclaimed!
I told Ben to pick the first stretch so he did then I picked a stretch and we went back and forth for about 10 minutes. After Mr. H told us to get the net from the other side of the field so that we could play half field. We ran over to get the net, four people on each side and 4 in the middle we picked it up with caution because we noticed that it had drops of water from the rain last night. When we got to half field we lined it up with the other goal and dropped it down. Next I thought about what we were about to do like a boring drill but instead he said we are going to play bread and butter.
Bread and butter is a game with three teams, two teams on the field and one off then the coach kicks the ball up and we start and after one team scores the team that is off the field comes on and gets ready to play defense. We play till our coach tells us to stop. So coach started to pick the teams I was hoping to be on the blue team for 2 reasons. One my favorite color was blue. Second my best friend was on that team and we work well together on the soccer field.
I was the second one to be picked for the blue team I always seem to be on the blue team. But thats fine with me. My team was on the field with the green team they had five players we had four but that didn’t matter. Are team was me, fast and a lot of power, Vigs, also fast and has power, Luke, the best on the team in the defense department and he has speed and a lot of power and last we had Lainey, he also has a lot of power like the rest of the blue team.
The green team was made of Nate, small but fast and did not have a lot of power but still one of the best on the team. Next was Dioli who always has a ton of energy and has lots of speed, next was Will and he is a really good defender with speed. Now we got J- Fed who can kick the ball really far. Dylan was small, but you don’t want to underestimate him. I was now thinking that they have more players then us but I think we have a really good chance because we got every thing we need tons of speed and power and we are only playing half so we could kick it from one goal to the other. Coach threw the ball up.
Me and Luke went up for the ball and I hit the ball back to Vigs with my head he passed it over to Lainey he took a touch to his right around Will and scored into the upper left hand corner. While he celebrated his shot with Vigs I sprinted to get the ball so we could get an advantage on the yellow team so I yelled “Lainey look up.” He turned around and some how headed the ball over to Luke and then Luke took a touch to his right and passed it to Vigs then Vigs faked left, went right and blasted a low hard shot just how coach showed us.
After thirty more minutes of this we went on to penalty kicks because the last two times we played Portland we went into a penalty shoot-out and they won both times. We split up into two groups and our best players went with Mr. H and the starting goalie. The other group went with Mr. Lyon, the assistant coach, and the back up goalie Dylan to the net we brought to half field. I was with Mr. H and told us to go and grab a good ball and line up. I went to get my ball as fast as I could so I could go first because I was starting to get better at PK’s. So he said “ Adam you’re up first.”
I stepped up to the line and set the ball on the left side of the line twelve feet away from the goal. I took two steps back then one step to the left and waited for Mr. H to blow the whistle. He blew the whistle I started my run forward placed my left foot about four inches away from the left side of the ball and swung my right foot as hard as I could and placed the ball in the side panel. Then thought to my self. That was my best PK shot ever. Then I think that woke me up a little and showed me that if you listen to your coaches suggestions and practice hard you can accomplish your goal. Next ,Lainey was taking his PK and he is one of our best PK shooters, every time we have a PK he takes it so I expected it to go in the back of the net.
He steps back in the dead silence, waits for the whistle, tweet, he starts to move forward places his left foot on the left side of the ball and swings his right foot like a rocket he puts the ball in the upper left corner of the goal. Next was Vigs he wasn’t the best PK shooter like me, accept that the last time he took a PK was in a travel soccer league MCU and it was the state finals and we needed him to make it but he got to nervous and shanked it way above the crossbar but the goalie stepped off the line so he got another chance but he did the exact same thing. So this made me think that he might shank it again.
He proved me wrong he placed the ball in the right panel an amazing shot because usually righties put the ball to the left side of the net. I gave him a high five and waited for the next directions from Mr. H. The next drill was a running/speed drill where at half field you bunny hop over the line then if you hear one whistle you run left if you hear two whistles you run to the right and the last two people have to do five really good push ups. He said “Get on the line get set hop.” We started to hop and waited for the whistle.
I hear one tweet so I plant my right foot into the ground and push off it to give me a good start. I was at least ten feet ahead of Dioli and he was pretty fast. I got there first, and waited for the rest of the people. The last to players were Timmy and J- Fed. So they did five good push ups. I felt bad for them, they were usually always the last two people unless someone started to go the wrong way so I felt really bad for them. We jogged back to half field. Then did the same thing again. There was five minutes left in practice when Mr. H said run two laps around the field in a sprint.
Every one started to whine but I just started to run so that I could get the heck home and sleep. I started to gain speed I was three quarters of the way down the field when everyone else started to to run I felt like I was a ninja with ninja speed. I don’t know why but I could the wind in my face. I had made it all the way around the field. Then I noticed that I was really far ahead of the rest of my team and that I was losing my speed and thought that this was usually a easy thing to do because I run every day. But then I realized that our practice was from ten to eleven thirty and I have never had to work this hard in the morning.
I got back from my second lap winded. I could barley stand up. I guess I didn’t have enough energy yet. I waited for the rest of the team to get back. When they did coach said “ Great practice boys, that was probably the best practice we had this year.” Then we put our hands in the middle and screamed at the top of our lungs “ 1 2 3 YARMOUTH! “ I think the whole town of Yarmouth could hear us. “ Owwwww” I said that blew my eardrum. As I was packing all my gear in to my bag I was trying to get my hearing back . It took me 10 minutes just to get my hearing back. I went over to Vigs and started to talk about what we said the practice would be like when we were running. We were pretty close. Mr. H had pushed us the hardest he has ever done. But it was a pretty fun practice.