Coaching a 7U team with a very wide range of skill levels, but I've got one in particular that is proving to be quite challenging. He may not need to even be out there at all, but his dad is committed. It's quite the conundrum. Dad is one of the more committed, brings player to all the practices, puts him in all the camps. But as far as I can tell, the player does not like being out there. Coaching sessions are like pulling teeth. Having to divert attention to getting him to even make any sort of attempt to play or engage. My assessment is that, the boy is very intelligent. Probably one of the more intelligent kids out on the pitch, but this also contributes to his confidence is completely shot. Dad being kindof on the more, lets say.. enthusiastic, end of the spectrum about the sport, he could have pushed a little too hard too early. My practice sessions have begun to be all about fun. I'm steering away from drills at this age and more towards the small sided games. During these sessions I get a handful that are engaged. Another handful that attempt to be engaged, but sometimes aren't. Then this poor child who is classically picking butterflies. Here's my question. What is most likely to keep him engaged enough where I can get him to learn to love the game, rather than see it as a chore that dad is making him do. I'm even willing to run a practice session completely tailored to this kid, maybe some kind of special game based around him. Brainstorming what that would even look like. If he gains his confidence, based on how smart he is I'm sure this kid would be wonderful to coach if I can get dad to learn to sit back and relax. Using the alias "Johnny", maybe something like "Johnny in the middle", where the one child is the focus of the game and getting the ball to him is a goal. And then he dribbles and scores in the nearest goal for another point. Has anyone else dealt with this sort of challenge?