The Mentoring Effect + Soccer Shots

Mentoring Works The Mentoring Effect + Soccer ShotsJanuary was first designated National Mentoring Month in 2002, and while the concept of mentoring has been around pretty much forever, researchers and educators have since made it a priority to back up the idea with evidence.

This month, 12 years after the Inaugural National Mentoring Month, MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, has released some impressive, encouraging, and profound research.

In their research, published as The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspective on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring (2014), MENTOR concludes the following:

  •  There are two types of mentoring relationships, Informal/Unstructured and Formal/Structured. Informal mentoring relationships usually form between a young person and a family friend, a teacher, or a coach. Formal mentoring relationships are developed and matched with a purpose, often through schools and community groups.
  • Young people with mentors are more likely to report positive behaviors, like graduating from college, participating in sports and extracurricular activities, and often hold leadership positions in the activities they engage in.
  • Youth believe mentoring provides them with the guidance and support they need to live productively. More specifically, young people in informal mentoring relationships often stated that their mentor provided developmental support, over academic support, talking with them more often about making good decisions and staying motivated in life.
  • One in three young people, and even more at-risk youth, report that they never had a mentor growing up. That means, nationwide, today approximately 16 million youth, including 9 million at-risk youth, will reach age 19 without ever having a mentor.

Coach Andy Charles1 e1390524464198 The Mentoring Effect + Soccer Shots

MENTOR (2014) goes on to identify mentoring as a critical link in the chain of outcomes for youth today, that ultimately produces more active citizens and stronger leaders, better schools and healthier communities. 

So… as our Soccer Shots Coaches head out onto the soccer field and talk about our character words each week, we like to think we are planting the seeds for many, or at the very least, one, meaningful mentor in each child’s life. It’s not just about developing young soccer players, but developing stronger youth, beyond the game.

Reference: The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. (2014). MENTOR: Expanding the world of quality mentoring. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/mentoringeffect

The Process

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Jorge)

Jorge The Process

When I first started working for Soccer Shots I was very excited, but nervous. With a coaching background I felt more than capable. The only differences I found with Soccer Shots were the younger age groups and the focus on the non-competitive side of soccer.

Before, for me, coaching was about trophies and accomplishments… However, through my time with Soccer Shots I’ve seen how a smile and the feeling of pride for a child is 1,000 times more rewarding than a piece of hardware that will eventually just collect dust.

As coaches, we are these children’s real life super heroes. From seeing them trying to master every soccer move I show them, to hearing stories from parents about how their child pretends to coach like me when they’re at home. It’s honestly one of the best feelings anyone can have. Those high fives before and after class just give you that extra push in your every day agenda. They remind you why you are doing this, they keep you humbled and always excited to look for new ways to make class that much better for each child.

Before I became the coach you see at parks and schools, I had a lot of help along the way. I cannot begin to think about what my classes would be like without the help I received from other coaches and directors. From shadowing coaches and picking up on their coaching techniques, to seeing how they address certain situations, our coaches and directors are part a never ending learning process. Its amazing knowing that the sky is the limit for making every family’s experience extra special, and also making Soccer Shots the best youth soccer program out there.

As we get into the winter session, I can’t begin to imagine all the fun I’m going to have, not only coaching, but beginning to write for the blog and share my experiences with all of you! 🙂

The New Girl

(Guest Post from Coach Taylor Fowler)

Taylor3 The New Girl

As I complete my first season with our Soccer Shots family, I felt it was only right to write a reflective piece that would explain what it’s like to join a new program.

WEEKS 1-4

Like most of our little friends it took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of things. Traveling to my first class week 1 seemed to be the most nerve racking. Although I knew that I wouldn’t be coaching alone, I had a serious case of the “What if questions” …

“What if the kids don’t like me?”  “What if the parents think I’m a horrible teacher?” “What if I forget to give the children a water break?” “What if they think girls can’t coach soccer?” 

As I shut off the ignition and shyly walked over to soccer island I was greeted with lots of smiles and plenty of high fives and welcomes from all of the parents; I started to loosen up a bit. Before I knew my first day had come and gone along with my apprehension.

For me weeks 2-4 were my developing stages, I was still nervous every time I would walk into a school or drive up to a park, but with each smile and high five and “great job,” the nervousness I had, began to fade and a new feeling started. It was a feeling of confidence.

Coach Taylor coaching The New Girl

Week 6

My favorite week has to be week 6! During my own development, I had progressed from an assistant coach to leading classes of my very own. Leading classes meant higher expectations. As a coach I am responsible for the development of my little friends, like mastering a move. And as most coaches will tell you, there is nothing better than having your whole class master a move.

For me this happened during week 6, one of my classes seemed to really struggle with a particular move during week 4.  Knowing this, I didn’t put too much pressure on my little friends to get the move down. Instead I made up a game that would cause them to repeatedly have to try the move. By week 6, I simply asked the class “who remembers hocus pocus?” (step-over move), and to my surprise all of my friends stood up and started doing the step-over move.  I was so elated I even called my mom and dad to tell them about my breakthrough at work. 

WEEKS 7-10

I no longer had the feeling of anxiousness. It had been replaced fully with confidence. I started incorporating concepts from my very own soccer experiences into my classes. Not only did I see the progression within myself, but more and more of the children in my classes were greeting me with “Coach Taylor look at what I can do” or “Coach Taylor I have been working on this move.” Many of my little friends had grown confident in their own abilities too.

As with all great things that come to an end, the conclusion of my first season was a bitter/sweet moment for me. I knew I would miss all of smiling faces and numerous adventures we had on Soccer Island. But I also felt a sense of assurance. I know that I have all of the tools to not only be a great coach, and to also aspire to be a REMARKABLE one as well.

 

Reflections on Week 9…

IMG 7028 460x310 Reflections on Week 9...I try not to have favorites at Soccer Shots. There are certainly some games I like better (because they often run smoother), some character words are easier to explain, and some weeks the stars align and class just feels GOOD.

This week, week 9 at Cheviot Hills Park, was one of those weeks.

Week 9 is also one of the later weeks in the season, when you can really see the progress children have made over the course of the season. It’s amazing.

Here are some of the things I heard and saw this morning:

8:47am: Coach Matt, Coach Justin, Coach Steven, Coach Matthew, and Coach Mario talking about the plan for the day. What games will they play? How can they modify them to take them to the next level? What’s the best way to teach the chop move? Encouraging each other, and always learning from each other! Awesome!

9:15am: Coach Justin is leading the MINI class of 8 children, and doing a fantastic job! Every child is using their feet almost ALL of the time. They are listening, smiling, laughing, and have made so much progress since week one!

IMG 7016 460x310 Reflections on Week 9...

9:54am: Children from my PREMIER class are arriving; practicing power kicks, passing, and talking about what parts of their feet to use.

10:45am: The PREMIER class is scrimmaging (2 v. 2’s) to practice passing, and are showing incredible DETERMINATION and skill. We transition to a larger scale game (5 v. 4) and the grey team completes an absolutely beautiful “GIVE AND GO” pass for a goal!

11:22am: The CLASSIC class lead by Coach Steven and Coach Matthew dribbles under control around their race track, using the CHOP MOVE perfectly to stay inside soccer island. Impressive!

12:05pm: I receive a donation from a family for our Thanksgiving Food Drive. I ask the child (3 years old), “Did you get to pick out the food?” “Yes.” “Do you know what I am doing to do with it?” “Give it to some kids who don’t have food…” His father and I both smile, and I couldn’t love my job any more than in that moment.

The progress I saw today (and often see week 9) in all of the classes  at Cheviot Hills Park was truly REMARKABLE. I’m certain coaches and families at other parks and schools are seeing similar things!

Week 9 is one of my favorite weeks.

I left the park today with an incredibly full heart. So proud of my team of coaches. So amazed by the kids! So happy I get to be out there on Saturday mornings playing soccer, making a difference, and having FUN!

IMG 7018 460x310 Reflections on Week 9...

More than just soccer…

AlyssaM More than just soccer...Last season a family joined us at Cheviot Hills Park, with their son in our CLASSIC class. This Fall season both of their children are enrolled; their son in the CLASSIC class and their daughter in the PREMIER class. I have been lucky to be able coach both children, and I say lucky because they are two of the most polite, genuine, determined kids, and they love to play soccer!

This Saturday, Aubrey* came to the PREMIER class with her Soccer Shots shirt on, and I noticed something different. The shorts on the little man had been colored pink, and (s)he had a long flowing pink and black ponytail.

I LOVED it, thinking “GIRL POWER!” in my head. I greeted her and immediately asked her about her shirt. She told me she didn’t like it, so she fixed it. “The shirt has a white man on it. Girls and all kinds of colors of people play soccer too,” she said. I smiled, and couldn’t help but gush that I understood her feelings and I agreed!

We got a soccer ball, and started kicking around. Soon enough I got class started, and our conversation was quickly overshadowed by fun. When class was over, Aubrey came back to me with her Dad. He gently encouraged her to give me a white envelope. Curious as to what could possibly be in there, I welcomed Aubrey to talk more. She explained; she had written a letter to me because she felt so strongly about her shirt. She’d even included a new design that she drew!

Of course I asked Aubrey if I could share her letter with everyone at Soccer Shots; she shyly, but happily agreed, and I plan to do so.

As they were leaving, Aubrey’s Dad completely filled my heart with joy, he said,“Coach Alyssa, I truly believe what you do for these kids is more than just soccer. I see it every time I am out here. Thank you.” 

I couldn’t agree more, and it’s the reason I do my job every day. We encourage, inspire, and welcome freedom of expression. We make the time and space every day for kids to have fun, be silly, be free, and be themselves. We allow for trial and error in a safe space, we encourage mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and we support even the smallest of efforts.

As I said goodbye to them, I couldn’t help but say, “Aubrey, I love the way you stood up for what you believed in, you know, you could make big changes in the world some day if you wanted to.” She smiled, and said, “I know.” 🙂

1380654 600673766645760 889835819 n 460x310 More than just soccer...

At Soccer Shots we celebrate all the young minds that we work with all the time, because you never know which experience they have (at Soccer Shots or not) will be the one that will shape their life.

Anywhere across the country, on any given day of the week, a future President of the United States, a future Nobel Prize Winner, a future inventor, a future scientist, a future teacher, a future business leader, and more, may be playing Soccer Shots.

My hope and goal for all kids in Soccer Shots is not only that they have a ton of FUN playing soccer, but that they also learn, grow, and experience so much more that helps prepare them for life.

– Coach Alyssa

Director of Program + Community Advancement

(* = Name changed for privacy)

Remarkable Coaching

I would like to share with you all, the great things a parent had to say about our coaching staff. Truly remarkable!

Last week I was doing a 1 on 1 training session with a 3 year old boy for about 45 mins.

As I arrive the site the father approaches me and says, ” We don’t use words like good job, if you know what I mean.” I looked up at him and said “I do understand what you mean.” (In my mind, I thought, mmmm very interesting). I had to switch my style of coaching without doing so much positive praising.

So after having a day of coaching in the AM I had already dropped like 100 “good jobs” to children from the AM sessions. So it was a little tough to not say “good job” to the 3 year old boy. Of course I dropped like 20 “good jobs” in the 45 minutes. Lol.

CoachAlyssa SoccerShots 300x300 Remarkable Coaching

Now, the child also attends our Cheviot Hills park program on Saturday mornings.

The 1 on 1 session was successful and as I chat with the mom of the 3 year old boy she had many nice things to say about Soccer Shots.

The parent said that we prefers Soccer Shots over another intro to soccer program that they had tried because, in her opinion the Soccer Shots coaches know exactly what they are doing. The child had a season with this other program but did not enjoy it.

She went on to mention,

“Coach Alyssa is a great coach and teacher out there, she brings great energy to every session and my child has fun with her, I am happy to see that you guys teach more than soccer, you teach great values and skills that will be used in life.”

“Coach Charlie is great with the children as well and brings fun energy to every session.”

Great job out there coaches!!! You know you are doing something right when someone makes a remark about you.

Keep up the great job out there coaches and remember, the #1 rule is to have FUN!!