As the Capitals youth roller hockey team took to the practice rink on a recent afternoon, their coaches put them through their paces, patiently encouraging them and keeping them in line without shouting.
But these are no ordinary parent team leaders.
The Capitals' coaches are two 15-year-old Calabasas High School freshmen, the youngest in the Tri-Valley Roller Hockey League at Juan Bautista de Anza Park.
Ian Scott and Joe Theule, themselves, are experienced roller hockey players. Ian, a Calabasas resident, and Joe, of Woodland Hills, began coaching in January after they approached league director Ned Collins about taking over a team.
Their 5- to 9-year-old players seem to enjoy being taught by the teens.
"Grown-ups tend to, like, boss you around more," said 7-year-old Tim Barut.
Collins said older teens have served as assistant coaches before, but he made an exception to his rule that coaches had to be 16 or older when he saw that the boys were committed to the idea of coaching--all while still playing on a league team of their own.
Coaching started as a community service project Joe did for his church, but it has developed into a mission to pass on the skills he's learned to younger boys.
"I want to give kids the kind of coaching experience that I would want," said Ian, who has taken the lead in coaching duties, supporting the team and teaching the basic skills of the game, and keeping the kids' spirits up during a not-so-stellar season.
Although the Capitals lost their last regular game of the season Saturday, they will compete in a play-off game at noon this Saturday.
Because the kids seem to be having fun, most team members and their parents don't seem to mind that they haven't won every game.
"A lot of boys want to play next year, only if they can play with Ian," said team mother Lysa Suarez, whose son Randy is a player. "Adults think of it as a competition. Ian and Joe think of it as fun."