Week Six: HONESTY!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Six: HONESTY!

The word we are talking about in many of this week’s classes is HONESTY. I love this word because of how important it is to our kids. Teaching our kids to be truthful and honest in all they do is teaching them how to be ethical and fair, which will be needed in adulthood

HONESTY is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct as well as adherence to the facts. I like this definition because it is clear-cut and makes sense, but to a child it may be a little wordy, so we can just say: tell the truth. Saying to tell the truth is easy but how do we show them what that means? We like to use small examples ofHONESTY; such as saying our shirt is green when it is green or saying a student’s name correctly, etc. These examples get part of the point across but we need to also explain to them what being dishonest does.

Explaining lying can be hard and making sure the kids truly understand it is tougher. Plus, the younger they are, the harder it will be. Make it simple. Telling them a story always helps. There are many different stories you can tell, for example: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” We just need to make sure that the story reminds them that telling the truth is important but also that the story doesn’t scare them.

HONESTY is also about trust. We want to make sure that our kids know that Soccer Shots is a safe place and that they can trust us no matter what. HONESTY with our kids is very important and showing them we are true to our word and presenting ourselves in the same way every time is crucial to showing them who we are and that they can trust us.

The Soccer Shots Experience – Meet Noemi

We take great pride in The Soccer Shots Experience… Take a look to learn more about who we are and why we do what we do!

Meet Noemie. Noemie is 4 years old and in her third season with Soccer Shots. Noemie and her mom represent thousands of children and parents who experience Soccer Shots each day, and thousands more who will.

You can see the first video in the series, by clicking HERE.

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 Four: APPRECIATION!

(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.

Week Three: COURAGE!

(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.

Week Two: CONFIDENCE!

(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.

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.

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.