Week Five: ENCOURAGEMENT!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Five: ENCOURAGEMENT!For this week we get to go over the word ENCOURAGEMENT. This word is important because it can unify the kids and show them care and empathy for their teammates and friends.

ENCOURAGEMENT means to inspire someone with courage or confidence to do something; to stimulate something or someone to do something by approval or help; support. This really hits the nail on the head about what we do with our children. We as coaches are constantly encouraging our kids with high fives and praise. This shows them we care for them and show them we are paying attention to what they are doing.

The best time that we can show our children ENCOURAGEMENT is during the goals time of class. It is very easy to show our kids how we can cheer for our friends by simply cheering for them. This can be done in many different ways. Saying “Go, friends, go” or inserting the name of the child for the word ‘friend’ when they are shooting a goal. Also giving them a high five after the goal and saying “great job” is showing them ENCOURAGEMENT.

Showing our kids ENCOURAGEMENT, no matter what we are doing in soccer is important. As is encouraging our kids to encourage each other.

Week One: RESPECT!

(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.

Confessions of a former Pre-K Teacher

– 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.

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.

 

New Fall Locations

In addition to the more than 100 schools that we currently serve we love starting relationships with new ones. In just the past couple of weeks the following schools have invited Soccer Shots in to be a part of their weekly program:

MUSE School (Calabasas)
New World Montessori (Palms)
Palisades Presbyterian Nursery School (Pacific Palisades)
Valley Presbyterian School (North Hills)

In addition, we will be offering park classes at a new location on Saturday mornings in the valley, Balboa Park in Encino. Classes will fill up fast, click here to register.

Screen Shot 2013 07 27 at 1.41.56 PM 960x630 New Fall Locations

School Directors Reference List

Hello School Directors!

Following are a few “highlight points” that prospective partners often wish to know about us while considering inviting Soccer Shots onto their campus (regarding our credentials, space requirements, etc.):

A Nationwide Community of Local Owners/Operators!

Nationwide Soccer Shots will coach/mentor over 100,000 preschool and early elementary age children this year!

– We partner with thousands of schools and parks nationwide.

– Locally, we partner with over 100 schools and parks to teach over a hundred classes weekly!

– And this growth has been achieved in merely ten years in America.

– This year (2013) we will celebrate our 6th anniversary in the greater Los Angeles area.

Praise for Soccer Shots!

– Ranked “#1 Children’s Fitness Program” by Entrepreneur Magazine for the last two, consecutive years for quality of operation!

– We must be doing something right (actually, many things).

– Ask Referrals- please see our “testimonials” tab to learn about some of our many of our glowing parent experiences or…

– Feel free to call any current partner site listed on our web site. Frankly, this type of word of mouth is how we often begin new partnerships because our partner sites have such a great experience with Soccer Shots!

Physical Space Requirements

– Soccer Shots can operate in a space a small as 8 by 10 feet; we do not require a full soccer field!

– Playing Surfaces: Many sites have grass on which we play, but we also play on artificial turf, flat rubber surfaces, and indoor surfaces including wooden gym spaces and tile floors!

Minimum Enrollment

– Soccer Shots can sustain a class at any site with only six children enrolled.

– That said, many sites fill classes (our capacity is 12) and some offer multiple classes due to high demand.

Age Appropriate Programs

We offer three highly specialized and unique programs:

MINI: 2 to 3 year olds
Soccer Shots Mini is a high-energy program introducing children to fundamental soccer principles, such as using your feet, dribbling, and the basic rules of the game.

CLASSIC: 3 to 5 year olds (Pre-K)
For nearly 15 years, Soccer Shots has been introducing soccer exclusively to children ages 3 to 5. Using creative and imaginative games, weekly sessions focus on basic soccer skills like dribbling, passing, and shooting.

PREMIER: 5 to 8 year olds (K-2nd)
This program is for children who are new to soccer or who want to build upon what they have learned in Soccer Shots Classic. Focusing on individual skill, fitness, and sportsmanship, each session provides an opportunity for kids to be challenged through fun games and team competitions.

Local Leadership

– Our founders are former professional soccer players and parents who developed specially designed curriculum that demonstrated a clear understanding of the mental and motor skill developmental readiness of young children.

– All of our coaches are Live Scan cleared (and results provided to all partner sites) after a thorough interview and audition process and none are places without completing our training. Nearly all have strong backgrounds working with both children and soccer to begin with!

Insured

– Of course, Soccer Shots is insured and all partner sites are provided with annually updated Certificates of Insurance listing them as “additionally insured.”

Cost & Pricing Options

– Classes typically cost $14 per child per class or $18 per class at parks to cover our rental agreements there.

Elective Enrichment Approach: Most of our partner sites offer Soccer Shots to those interested wherein parents register and pay for their children, NOT the school.

Egalitarian Approach: However, several of our sites do include ALL of their children and pay for their classes, having built into their enrollment fees an extra cost associated with all enrichment classes they provide. Ask about special “group rates” that apply in these cases.

Seasons

Season Length: Duration of our “seasons” vary, depending on the needs of our partner sites, from 8 to 12 weeks in duration.

Quarterly Seasons: Typically, our sessions start quarterly at the beginning of the school year in September, in January, right after Spring Break and at the beginning of Summer.

How Many Seasons Are Required? Most of our partner sites elect to offer Soccer Shots year round. However, some take summers off and other elect to simply offer a season or two annually, usually Fall and Spring.

Annual Enrollment Option: Some of our partner schools elect to offer annual programs paid for by monthly, automatic draft.

Scheduling Weekly Classes: Soccer Shots meets weekly at partner sites for 40 minute classes at a day and time that is convenient to our partner sites. Classes are available any time, morning or afternoon!

How to Gauge Potential Interest?

– Soccer Shots gladly offers FREE “Demo Days” wherein every child at a school in our age group is involved in a brief, eight to ten minute “demo” class to sample what we do. This allows for prospective sites to see firsthand what we do and determine potential interest of their students and families.

A “Fragile Child”

(Guest post from Coach Paul at Soccer Shots Los Angeles)

At Creative Children Preschool, Soccer Shots had a new child this Fall whose parents (or at least one of them) thought their son to be “too fragile” for soccer, but whose other parent enrolled him anyway… Well, when the parent concerned about their son’s “fragility” was surprised to see him participating in class #1 when she arrived to check him out, that same parent’s surprise was equaled only by observing his obvious joy to be in class.

After a conversation with the parent who enrolled their son, the concerned parent admitted that they didn’t have the heart to request to have him withdrawn from Soccer Shots because, contrary to their impression of he perceived, fragile condition, he was indeed one of the most engaged children who showed himself not only to be robust and equal to the task of participating fully, but that he was actually, fully enjoying Soccer Shots!

Wow. What a way to build stronger, healthier, capable and confident children! Chalk one up for belief in potential and the efficacy of Soccer Shots!

Coach Paul,
San Fernando Valley

2011 SSCOA Recipient: PLAYGROUP (Echo Park)

We are very pleased to announce PLAYGROUP (Echo Park) as this years recipient of the Soccer Shots Community Outreach Award (SSCOA)!

On September 13, 2011 Soccer Shots will kick off the first of ten weeks of soccer and fun where each week around 20 children will experience the fun and excitement of Soccer Shots at PLAYGROUP! In addition to our Global Goals pledge, Soccer Shots Los Angeles seeks to give back to the local community in the form of the SSCOA which provides soccer at deserving schools in the community at no cost to the school or parents for an entire season. Each year we plan to give up to $10,000 of Soccer Shots! If you are interested in applying for a future SSCOA, please email losangeles(a)soccershots.org.

PLAYGROUP’s mission is to provide quality, affordable childcare for working families, and to promote children’s emotional, social and intellectual development in a safe and caring environment.

PLAYGROUP joins with families to prepare children for school and community life. PLAYGROUP values and teaches non-violence, cooperation, cultural diversity and the worth of all people.

EchoParkPlaygroup 2011 SSCOA Recipient: PLAYGROUP (Echo Park)

Tell us HOW Soccer Shots would benefit your children and WHY your school/site/program is deserving of the 2011 Soccer Shots Community Outreach Award.
We have a diverse parent and student base (economic, cultural, professional, etc.) that is likewise representative of our community as a whole.  And one of our main goals as a school is to build community among parents, neighbors and the children themselves.  

Soccer – as an energetic team sport – would be a true physical manifestation of working together – a fundamental of community building.

We also happen to be a modest school – small grounds and a student body of about 38.  The soccer camp would provide an opportunity to organize the children to a weekly trip to the nearby Elysian Park (where we would hold the soccer lessons).  Again, providing the opportunity for community building, locale awareness and downright fun!!

Many of our families are from low and modest incomes.  Enrolling in a soccer camp just isn’t possible in addition to preschool enrollment.  We’re also a non-profit school that has relied heavily on state grants in order to function.  With the past state budget cuts, we’ve steadily lost funding and as of this year, have to rely almost exclusively on enrollment fees.  To have the opportunity to expose children to a sport is a goal, but financially not possible at this time.

Finally – we’re eager to receive the award primarily because of all the greatness that comes with soccer.  

Team building, exposure to physical education and activity, parent involvement (parents would jump at watching their kids run after the ball!!) and a glimpse at physical and mental discipline.

 We really hope you consider us for your award.  We’d love to start the school year in September with the great opportunity of a fall soccer camp.

– Michelle M. (Parent at PLAYGROUP)