I've coached my older daughter's soccer team for the past 3 years - since she was in kindergarten.
One of the things I've noticed is that she has a hard time engaging the other team - she sort of hangs back and waits for the ball to come to her. If the ball is loose and she gets there first she'll take it toward the goal - but if someone else catches up to her - regardless of what team she's on - my daughter will let her have the ball.
So I've been trying to teach her not to back down, not to take turns and not to "share" the ball with the other team.
Now I'm also coaching my younger daughter's kindergarten soccer team - and I've been trying to give her the same lesson.
This weekend I watched my whole team drop back and let the other team have the ball during one play - like they were taking turns.
When they came to the sidelines I told them, "I know you all have brothers - what would you do if you were playing against your brothers and they tried to steal the ball away from you?"
The girls all laughed. I could see them picturing the scene in their minds.
Then a little boy walked up to me. He is in kindergarten and the twin brother of one of the girls on my team, "Hey!" he said. "I'm standing right here!"
I looked at him and we shared a laugh.
Then the girls took the field and made me proud; they were aggressive, they were passionate.
And then I noticed my daughter - she was throwing elbows and shoving. To be fair, her opponent was very much trying to intimidate her and my daughter was NOT backing down. She was using her shoulders and her elbows to establish her zone and when that didn't work she was using her arms to keep a solid boundary between herself and the other girl.
She ran her heart out. The rest of her team was chasing her but she was like a dog on a bone with the soccer ball and 2 or 3 times I was CERTAIN she was going to score but then the rest of the pack got in the way.
Finally she scored and I put in subs. "Great job!" I told her. "You stayed with it, you were aggressive and you didn't let the other team get the ball! I'm so proud of you."
5 minutes later I put her back in. She was lined up against a different little girl - a small girl who likely didn't have an older brother. Because when that poor little girl ran up to the ball with my daughter, my little BABY reached out and shoved her with ALL OF HER MIGHT and the little girl ran off the field SCREAMING.
I pulled my daughter off the field and said, "That's not how we play. We don't attack the other players, we just defend our space and we attack the ball and the goal."
My daughter only sort of understood. She was upset that she was getting in trouble.
I had her apologize to the other player and say, "I got carried away."
But she walked away saying, "I HATE SOCCER."
I think she'll get over it.
And PS You should have seen my girls school their brothers at 2 on 2 football today.