Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

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

DSC01638 300x200 Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

I had an “Aha!” moment last week in regards to how to get the kids engaged and enthusiastic about what we’re doing at Soccer Shots. At the school where I’m teaching, I had a short meeting with the principal to talk about the children’s progress and behavior. We identified some of the kids that were getting out of hand and those that were not engaged in the games we were playing. She gave me some tips on how to handle them. Coaches, don’t be afraid to ask for advice!

We separated the children into 2 classes by age and ability. The next week the results were amazing!

The students were more engaged and paid better attention as well as behaved better as a group. I was also able to give them more attention instead of chasing them to keep them present.

DSC01576 300x200 Los Angeles Coaching Story: “Aha!” Moment

Also there was one boy in the class who was always quiet, reserved, tended to wander off. This week he happened to be the only boy in the class. All of a sudden he was excited, coming to me to make sure I saw him score a goal. He took it on himself to help set up the cones for the games we were playing. The dynamic was very interesting. He took on a more alpha role since there were no other boys in the group.

I suggest that coaches mix up the classes if you can. Parents, experiment during your play dates with different mixes of ages and gender. Observe how your child reacts. If you can manage it, watch when he thinks you’re not there vs. when he knows you’re watching. You’ll be surprised by the results!

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Kids Should Avoid Energy and Sports Drinks

Drinks Kids Should Avoid Energy and Sports Drinks

We wanted share this article from Parenting Magazine which says that parents may want to re-think their approach to re-hydrating this children.

Throughout the year and especially with the hot summer months approaching it is so important to stay hydrated. Please encourage your kids to drink a lot of water!

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Rigorous review and analysis of the literature reveal that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents. Furthermore, frequent or ex- cessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents.”

Here is the link to the full report.

Tip For Getting Kids to Eat Veggies: The “Sam-burger”

(Guest post from Miranda at Soccer Shots Franchising)

If you’ve got little ones in your life, you are familiar with this scene: A beautiful dinner that has been prepared for your family with both love and pride is plated up and presented to your child, only to hear the dreaded, “I don’t like that,” spoken with a nose scrunched and mouth turned down. As the mom of a 4-year-old who is such a picky eater that we’ve visited a food specialist, the version I’ve heard over and over is, “I don’t ‘yike’ it!” Determined to be smarter than the preschooler, I’ve developed and fine-tuned a recipe to both hide and entice my little stinker, oh, I mean, my son (and husband) to eat all kinds of vegetable, and even “yike” them.

Sam burger Tip For Getting Kids to Eat Veggies: The Sam burger

The “Sam-burger”: There’s lots of pureeing recipe books out there, but I’m a working mom and that extra step rarely happens, so here’s my basic recipe for my “Sam-burgers” which can be followed and adjusted anytime you use ground meat in your cooking.

1) You need a food processor, mine is a “mini” version that takes up little count space and is easy to clean (they cost around $15).

2) Pick at least 3 veggies that can be cooked. Really, you can’t mess this up. My go-to combo is onion, red pepper, garlic and carrot. Other suggestions are squash, pumpkin, tomato, kale, spinach, mushrooms, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.

3) The ratio that you want to shoot for is to have your mound of ground-up veggies to be about ¾ the size of your mound of meat. Worried that you over did it? No worries, just add more breadcrumbs.

4) Ah, yes, the bread crumbs! While you’re at it with the processor, throw in slices of some good quality whole grain bread, and some stale crackers (or those health-food ones that you bought thinking you’d get your kid to eat flax). Go for a mound of breadcrumbs that is about half the size of my lump of ground meat and then adjust as you start to mix.

5) Spice it up! Throw in a big hand full of ground up fresh parsley, and then any other fresh herbs that you have on hand or growing in the garden are fair game to mix in. Have fresh cilantro? Cool, make mixture Mexican inspired with green peppers, onions, squash, cumin, paprika… you get the idea. Make the spices match up with the herbs that you add to the mix.

6) Now you just simply bake them up. Switch it up from personal sized meatloaves (they cook way faster than one big loaf) to hamburgers, to meatballs to using it to stuff manicotti or cabbage. Serve it with everything from rice, to pasta, to just a bun with some ketchup. You know all the goodness that’s in there, so side dishes can be simple, and nothing to stress over if they don’t get eaten.

7) The leftovers burgers/balls/loaves can be frozen, and pulled out later for a quick microwave meal when you just don’t feel like cooking.

Celebrate Screen-Free Week: April 18-24

screenfreeweek Celebrate Screen Free Week: April 18 24

Soccer Shots Los Angeles is proud to be an official endorser of Screen-Free Week (April 18-24), the annual celebration where children, families, schools, and communities turn off screens and turn on life. What would you and your family do with an extra 20, 30, even 50 hours a week? Please visit www.screenfree.org to learn how you can get involved and join in the fun.

We all know that children spend far too much time with screens: an astonishing average of 32 hours a week for preschoolers and even more for older children. Excessive screen time is harmful for children—it’s linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problem, and the erosion of creative play.

Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is a wonderful way to help children lead healthier, happier lives by reducing dependence on entertainment screen media—including television, video games, computers, and hand-held devices.  By encouraging children and families to unplug, Screen-Free Week provides time for them to play, connect with nature, read, daydream, create, explore, and spend more time with family and friends.  And, of course, Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round!

Anyone can participate in Screen-Free Week simply by refraining from using screens for entertainment during the week of April 18-24, 2011. But experience tells us that it’s more fun – and more effective – to go Screen-Free with others. Since 1996, tens of thousands of parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, scout leaders and clergy have helped millions of children turn off screens and turn on life by organizing local Screen-Free Weeks.

Screen-Free Week organizers and their teams promote the week, reach out to community partners, get children and families to participate, and help them discover fun screen-free activities. You can organize a Screen-Free Week in a classroom, an entire school, with a scout troop, faith community, neighborhood association, at your local library or in any community or civic group. To learn how you can become a Screen-Free Week organizer, please visit www.screenfree.org.