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15

Jul

Week Four: APPRECIATION!

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Four: APPRECIATION! This week’s word of the day is APPRECIATION. APPRECIATION is a great word and ironically enough, even though it is a long and hard word to say it is one of the most remembered words we have. In the older curriculum and other seasons it is usually one of our last words, which means we don’t get to go over it as much as we could, so I am glad that it comes earlier in the Summer Season.

APPRECIATION is defined as thanks, gratitude, or an assessment of the true worth or value of persons or things. I like this definition because it truly shows how important this word is. A basic human need in all of us is to feel valued and at this stage in the children’s life it is important that we get this across to them. 

I love the easy way that this word can be shown to our kids as well. It can easily be explained as showing thanks. The easiest way APPRECIATION can be shown is during water break, as well as when we are passing out the soccer balls. Since APPRECIATION means thanks, as a coach I like to praise the children who say thank you by telling them: “by saying thanks you are showing coach APPRECIATION” or “look how Billy showed Coach Kim APPRECIATION by saying thank you.”

It is easy to remind the children how you can show you appreciate someone. Showing the children our APPRECIATION for them is important too. Making sure we are always showing them their value and importance is paramount because this may be the only APPRECIATION they are receiving all day.

07

Jul

Week Three: COURAGE!

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Three: COURAGE! Welcome to Week 3 of the Word of the Day blog! This week is all about COURAGE. What’s great about this word is that it can be explained in many different ways. The dictionary defines COURAGE as: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. But what I like better than this definition is the second definition, which is: the heart as the source of emotion. That one really hits home with me because as a coach we really are touching these kids hearts and emotions each and every day. 

The way that I went about explaining COURAGE to these kids was by telling a story. Some of the words of the day are easy to explain by just explaining the definition. However, I feel that COURAGE is a little harder to explain so I use a story that demonstrates how characters the kids know have been brave.

I talk about how the characters Woody and Buzz from the Disney film Toy Story get lost at the arcade. They were scared, but they showed COURAGE, and even though they were scared they stuck together and found their way home. Now of course any story will work, whatever you think your kids can relate to and provides an easy way to explain COURAGE.

What I love is that after the story, the kids who understand what you mean, eyes will get big and they say “ohhh,” and you know that you got through to them. To me, that is the most important thing. At the end of the day those moments make everything we do just that more impactful.

27

Jun

Week Two: CONFIDENCE!

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Two: CONFIDENCE! Welcome to Week 2 of the Word of the Day blog! This week is all about CONFIDENCE. This is definitely a harder word for some of our children to say and to remember, but for me it isn’t as important that they necessarily remember the word but that they remember the meaning and feeling behind the word.

CONFIDENCE means belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities or self-assurance. This is something that the children we are coaching are just starting to recognize in themselves. Also our children are very impressionable at this age and it is crucial that they are learning how to have self-CONFIDENCE. The best that we, as coaches, can do this is by constant praise. More important than just praise is specific praise. So for example not just saying great job to a child, but pointing out an exact thing they are doing, such as: “Great stop position Sally” or ” That was a great pull back Billy”. Being specific is important because is show the children that you are paying attention and care about them.

We always want to be modeling the behavior we want our children to have so modeling CONFIDENCE is very important. Seeing us being confident in what we are teaching them helps them be more confident in themselves and their abilities. At the end of the day self-CONFIDENCE is very important and we, as coaches, need to do what we can to set these children up in the right direction for them to continue to build their CONFIDENCE for the future.

20

Jun

Week One: RESPECT!

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week One: RESPECT! Welcome to Week 1 of the Word of the Day weekly blog!

This week I will be talking about the word RESPECT. It is definitely the most remembered word in all of our classes. All of us know that when we get to talking about the word of the day, the children who have taken a class before always love to guess which word it is, and more often than not they say RESPECT. It is fantastic that our kids remember this word, but sometimes I wonder are we really making sure they know what it means?

I love the way the coaches I work with introduce the word of the day. Water break is a great time to talk to the kids about anything, but since it is a quieter moment in our session it is also a great place to bring up the word of the day. I also like how the coaches always say what the word of the day is and then ask the kids what it means. With the word RESPECT, some of the answers I’ve heard have been: being a good listener, being nice, being kind or being quiet when others are talking. These are all amazing answers and what I really love to hear is when a child may give an answer that doesn’t really fit what the word means and I still hear the coaches acknowledge that child and tell them “great job” and “great answer”, while still letting them know that it doesn’t really fit with this particular word.

Screen Shot 2014 06 20 at 12.28.58 PM Week One: RESPECT!

The biggest challenge I see is making sure that we always explain to the kids how to show the word of the day. For example, if Billy is listening to coach when coach is explaining how to do a stop position, it is great to point that out by saying “Billy is showing RESPECT to coach by listening to what they are saying”.  I saw great examples of RESPECT this week with my classes. In one class, one child saw that a friend was talking over coach so the child responded by saying: “you need to show Coach RESPECT by listening to her”. I thought it was great that the child was learning how certain actions do or do not show RESPECT, and how they wanted their friends to show it too.

RESPECT is definitely a foundation word that many of our words of the day stem from. Making sure our children really understand this word will set them up for a bright future.

22

May

One family’s Soccer Shots story…

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

We received this message from a parent in one of our park programs, and it filled our hearts with so much joy, we just had to share! Truly, this is why we do what we do, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team and the impact they have on kids and families in Los Angeles every day!

I have so much to say!!!!!!!! This group, has touched my heart in so many ways! It’s sometimes hard to find the words. We are faced with putting our trust into those who are mentors, teachers, coaches, and friends. We place our trust and depend on them as we start and continue to build our village, because I do STRONGLY believe it takes a village to raise my special lil guy!! 

The first soccer session, I ended up at the wrong park, drove around in circles, once I got to the right park, I literally walked around not knowing really who to look for. I see a guy and assume he is a coach with Soccer Shots so I ask, ” Is this the group my son is registered in?” He replies .. “Yes..hi, I am Coach Stewart..” I immediately start explaining and apologizing for being 30 minutes late, explaining that I went to wrong park, drove around in circles and here we are!! Kinda expecting a “you’re too late response.” Team One familys Soccer Shots story...
Coach Stewart immediately comforted us, introduced himself to me and D, got him a Soccer Shots shirt, and walked D over to his team, his group of new friends!!! He then said to me, “no worries!!!” Little did he know I was tearing up, I was so worried and mad at myself; worried that I messed up D’s first day, his first soccer experience!! 
Instead, I realized that was not the case at all!! Coach Andy immediately embraced D and gently threaded him into the group seamlessly!! This moment was huge for me!! As a parent I love experiencing those first time moments, that I’ve so come to realize as much as it is a HUGE deal for our little one…it’s just as HUGE for us too!! 
Watching my son merge in with people he had never seen before… a moment I so wanted to call my mom … That, mom to mom moment, sharing D’s first day of soccer..I know in her way, she was there with us!!! 

When the class was over, I walked over to introduce myself to Coach Andy. He reached out to me, shook my hand and said Hi. I was again apologetic for being so late..and had a million questions .. “Do you need me to fill out anything, forms? Did we miss an introduction.. Blah blah blah” 
Coach Andy, with the sweetest smile said.. “No no no don’t worry, your son D is awesome and welcome!!” 
I was like, “really, no lecture, you know that coach talk on the importance of being here on time?!” He was completely the opposite and said your son is great! Balboa Park One familys Soccer Shots story...

From that day forward here is what I see every Saturday… Character building, sitting together, for what I would love to be a lil fly and listen .. But I do love watching them sit together building trust and relationships!! Learning about how to respect, appreciate, encourage, and mostly how to have FUN with each other! With much thoughtfulness Coach Andy and Coach Geo embrace the kiddos with lots of happiness, fun, smiles, and an amazing amount of genuine authentic love for the them!! 
D has just graduated from his second season, he has more confidence in everything he does from school work, to now swimming and jumping into a pool, to taking those first steps into things that before felt too scary..believing in himself.
Coach Andy guides and coaches in a way that allows them to have freedom .. He gives them the space, allowing the learning process to be natural, comfortable and at their own pace!! His teaching skills build self confidence and his ability to be so IN THE MOMENT with each kiddo, individually and as a group of friends is incredible!!

Example: just about to practice the hocus pocus move.. But then you hear one child say to another .. “Hey that’s my ball, he took my ball, that’s my ball!!” Coach Andy immediately responded.. “Ok boys and girls let’s practice how we share with our friends”, and immediately had them practicing on sharing the soccer ball with one another , teammates, playing, shouting with laughter and having so much fun in sharing the soccer ball!! What could have turned into a melt down on someone took my ball, was brilliantly turned into laughter and sharing!!! 

I love this group so much!! You all have become a great friends, and have made my son’s first sport an amazing, very positive experience! When its time, any new coach that comes into D’s life will have VERY VERY big shoes to fill. I am ever so greatful to each and every one of you!!! 


From my heart, from D’s heart, 
We thank you so much Soccer Shots team. A huge blessing to have you all be part of “our village.” Xoxoxo

 

16

Mar

The Soccer Shots Experience – Meet Noah

  • By Rian Heim

Each day we have the opportunity to positively impact thousands of children and parents across the country. We do not take this privilege lightly, and we recognize the importance of our position in the lives of children as parents allow us to become their child’s first coach, first mentor, and, in many cases, we’re introducing a first sport. How we do this matters.

Meet Noah. Noah is four years old and in his second Soccer Shots season in Pittsburgh, PA. His mom, Lori, recently shared her Soccer Shots Experience with us, and we wanted to be sure to share it with the nation. Noah and Lori represent thousands of children and parents who experience Soccer Shots each day, and thousands more who will. This is the first video in a series of this kind we plan to produce in 2014 and beyond. Please be the first to take a sneak peek, and be proud of the experience we deliver.

10

Mar

The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

  • By Rian Heim

Rian jacket21 The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

Way back in 2008, when the country was in the early stages of the greatest recession of our generation, my wife Alyssa and I were in our first full year operating Soccer Shots. After months of careful consideration we decided to purchase the 16th franchise in the Soccer Shots system (today, there are more than 100 franchises in the system).

We knew the challenge that confronted us, not just the odds that face all new businesses, but given the turbulent economic times we knew we had an extra steep hill to climb. Looking back, I think we were also somewhat blind to the odds (either consciously or unconsciously, I am not sure) as we only focused on succeeding. We had a business plan, financial projections, and the desire to do what it took to succeed.

Alyssa and I knew we wanted to work with children and in the field of education.

Given the importance of physical fitness in children and their ability to learn and excel in school, Soccer Shots seemed like a perfect fit. Having previous experience working for a privately run charter school, global agencies, local companies, and Fortune 500 businesses we also knew that we wanted to start something of our own. And an opportunity that would support the family that we planned on having and that would succeed or fail based on the effort, decisions, and dedication that we invested. And of course there is always some level of luck involved.

In early 2008, not a single child in Los Angeles had experienced Soccer Shots. This year 10,000 children will experience Soccer Shots. In 2008 it was Alyssa and I handling every task, starting every relationship with schools, scheduling every season, coaching every class, and completing all of the administrative tasks. We were very much learning day to day and improving little by little with the intent to survive and hopefully grow. Today our team consists of 11 full time salaried employees and 10-15 part time employees. Virtually every hour of every day of the week there is a Soccer Shots class running somewhere in Los Angeles!

Soccer Shots Coaches and Kids The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

When I think about the growth that we have been so fortunate to experience, I can’t help but think about the future and where Soccer Shots will be in years to come. As a small business owner my focus naturally shifts to looking ahead but it is important from time to time to reflect on the past and how we got to where we are today. Looking back I realize that from day one we have been very intentional about our vision for Soccer Shots and truly believe that this vision and our success are directly linked. Every decision that we have made has been answered by thinking about our vision and who we are.

Our goal has always been to offer a quality program for the families in Los Angeles.

This goal has not changed, however we have learned that in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market, we must continue to strive to be remarkable and that part of achieving this was identifying the ways to make our program truly unique.

What Makes Soccer Shots Unique?

Employees, Not Independent Contractors
Our directors and coaches are all employees of Soccer Shots. This means our entire team is covered under Workers Compensation and Disability and many receive health and other benefits. Many programs farm out services to independent contractors. However, due to the nature of our work with children and the quality we wish to uphold, we prefer the conservative path of fully trained and screened employees.

Character Development + Soccer
Character development is the foundation of our program. Our professionally designed curriculum is structured around our 10 character building words. Each class utilizes our innovative curriculum which extends beyond physical activity to incorporate values like respect, honesty, teamwork, and encouragement.

Heims SS 960x946 The Soccer Shots (Los Angeles) Story

Family Owned & Operated Since 2007
Soccer Shots is owned by myself and my wife Alyssa. Together with our team we make every effort to deliver a remarkable program that children, parents, and schools will bene!t from and enjoy. As parents ourselves of two young children (Charles and Amelia) we understand the many needs of families.

Our primary focus is and always has been to serve the needs of the schools that we partner with. We understand the unique challenges and are experienced in meeting and often exceeding the expectations.

Trained & Certified Coaches
All coaches have successfully completed extensive group and one-on-one training by Soccer Shots. This means up to a couple of months of training alongside an experienced Soccer Shots Director/Lead Coach as well as ongoing professional development.

Squeaky Clean Records
Our entire team has successfully completed live scan fingerprint background checks through the State of California, certified FBI and Department of Justice agencies. Copies are provided upon request.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Many of our coaches have completed or are working toward fulfilling at least 12 ECE credits. We seek individuals with backgrounds in education and child development first. Soccer skills and experience are second.

Certified Mandated Reporters
Our entire team is aware that by law they are Mandated Reporters and are all certified by the California Department of Social Services. The safety and well being of the children are always top of mind.

Rewards Program
At the schools we serve we offer scholarships & all-play policy in an attempt to include children who want to participate regardless of their ability to pay. Many schools have fundraisers throughout the year and we make donations, typically in the form of gift baskets which include certificates for a free season. Another form of fundraising for schools that we serve is an incentive where we give a portion of the registration fees back to the school.

Maximum Levels of Insurance
Soccer Shots is fully insured with above required levels of coverage.

“Our primary focus is and always has been to serve the needs of the schools that we partner with. We understand the unique challenges and are experienced in meeting and often exceeding the expectations.”

In the end, our vision is to offer an experience that will leave a lasting effect on the children and families that we serve.

21

Feb

The Importance Of Having Fun

  • By Rian Heim

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Matt)

Matt The Importance Of Having Fun

This seems obvious. After all it’s the first rule of Soccer Shots. But it’s amazing how much truly having fun with my classes can change everything. First and foremost the kids will always respond and feed off of my energy. So if I’m genuinely and truly having fun with a class then they feel that and can’t help but have the time of their lives.

By having fun with my classes I know I’m truly present. I’m engaged in each moment and listening and observing my kids closely.

In my free time I do improv comedy and in improv, when you’re not sure what to do with a scene we’re always told to “follow the fun.” The same can always apply to my soccer classes. If a kid gets distracted by an airplane flying overhead my instinct is to stop them and redirect them back to whatever I’m trying to teach. But let’s face it, airplanes are AWESOME! They’re a marvel of science and technology. I’m a grown man and I still can’t fully comprehend how a giant metal bird can take off from the ground, maintain flight and hurtle through the air at hundreds of miles and hour then land relatively gracefully back on the ground. So there’s no reason a child shouldn’t stop what they’re doing whenever they see one, point and shout, “AIRPLANE!” If I’m having fun with my class I’m going to embrace that moment and say “Let’s all be airplanes!” and run around the field with our arms outstretched before I steer the kids back to focusing on our lesson.

 The Importance Of Having Fun

Perhaps most importantly for me, play leads to creativity. By playing with the kids and following what they naturally find fun I’m constantly discovering new games to add to the Soccer Shots repertoire. The most recent of which is my new game Marching Band. In this game we take a break from soccer to have some fun and make some noise. I let the boys and girls choose an instrument; either a drum (a soccer ball), a pair of cymbals (two flat cones), or a horn (a tall cone). This introduces the concept of choice to the children (which is especially great for the 2­ year­ olds). It can take the craziest or laziest of classes and really get them engaged. It started when some kids in Coach Alyssa’s class began using two flat cones as “clappers” to cheer on their teammates while doing one­ on­ ones. I took that concept and ran with it. Already my kids are following the fun with this game and taking it to the next level. I’ve already had children beat a “drum” with a “cymbal” and even had a 2­ year­ old delight me with his air guitar skills on a tall cone.

Whether you’re an educator, a parent, or a caregiver I urge you to try to take the time to leave your grown­ up stressors and inhibitions at the door when you spend time with your kids. It can be tough for an adult to play on the level of a toddler especially when other people are watching or when you’re overworked or you’ve under slept. Do your best though. Make a real effort to dive right in and be fully engaged and I guarantee that by truly having fun with your children you will reach a new level of connectedness with them and open new doors of creativity, learning, and love.

03

Feb

#WeLoveSoccerShots!

  • By Soccer Shots (Alyssa McGarigal)

Do you LOVE taking pictures at Soccer Shots?

Do you use Instagram? Enter to WIN a FREE Spring Season! 

Instagram Contest #WeLoveSoccerShots!

29

Jan

Confessions of a former Pre-K Teacher

  • By Rian Heim

- Guest post by Coach Kim

 Confessions of a former Pre K Teacher

As a new coach and as a former teacher I just wanted to take some time and share my unique experience with Soccer Shots.

My first impression, having seen the program at the school where I used to teach, was that it was just another soccer program, but the more I saw the more I realized it was so much more.

Every week I saw how all the kids that were signed up were so excited to go. They even made sure that mom or dad did not forget to bring their orange Soccer Shots shirt to wear. I also saw how full of energy and excitement the coach was every week when he/she came to pick the children up from class. When I witnessed the children at a class, I saw all the skills they were learning and all the fun they were having with the games, that I became intrigued. It made me want to learn more about what Soccer Shots was all about. I went online and read all about the program, the age specific curriculum, and how well rounded the program is.

At this point I was looking for something different in a job, and I felt that not only could I still work with kids as a coach with Soccer Shots, I could also incorporate my other passion which is exercise. I loved the fact that I could still teach the kids a lot of important life lessons such as sharing, teamwork, respect and so much more. I also believed that since I have worked in two different states and a total of five years with children, and hold two different Personal Training certificates that I could bring a lot of knowledge with me to help support these kids.

I was also excited to see how different it would be working with children out on the field instead of in the classroom. I realized that coaches deal with a lot of the same things that teachers do. Each child is unique and each learns differently and as a coach I needed to see how I could relate to each individual child and how I could teach them. I’ve had the chance to shadow and work with so many great Soccer Shots coaches so far and I see how they are able to do that almost effortlessly as they get to know each class and each child.

I feel that working with children is so rewarding, whether it is in a classroom, out on the field, or wherever else learning and fun can happen, and I feel so privileged that Soccer Shots made my transition so smooth.

I also wanted to say thank you to all the coaches out there. You really don’t know how much joy you bring to these children every week. Its really all they would talk about, so remember that every time you go out there. For that half hour to an hour you are their whole world and I’m proud to say that I am now a part of that world.

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