Teaching Sportsmanship!

JordanL CoachCard1 Teaching Sportsmanship!(Guest Post by Coach Jordan)

I had coached the same general group of kids for a few seasons. They all knew each other well and knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This season, we had a new kid join in who had clearly played soccer before. “Andrea” wasn’t exceptionally better than any of the other kids but she could give any of them a run for their money. All the kids in the class still got along great until a few weeks into the season…

“John” and “Andrew” were best friends and pretty much the two “best” soccer players in the class. To make things fair for everyone else, I usually put them on opposite teams when it came to scrimmage. They always competed well against each other and never had a problem with the other one winning. It was sportsmanship at its finest as far as I could tell. However, a few weeks into the new season John and Andrew got paired up on the same team going up against Andrea. It was all fun, until I blew the whistle and John and Andrew’s team had lost, a lot to nothing. Of course I wasn’t keeping strict score for either team but they were a competitive group of kids and always kept pretty good track of the score on their own. After the game, Andrew handed me his jersey with the rest of the kids and was just as happy as usual. John, on the other hand, I was surprised to see still had the jersey on well after the game was over.

I walked up to him as the other kids were collecting the cones and saw tears welling up in his eyes. “John, what’s wrong” I asked, thinking maybe he got hurt and I had missed it. He took a second before he looked up and yelled, “it’s not fair! We lost! I didn’t get a turn.” I was a little confused because he had lost plenty of times in the many season’s he’d been playing. “It’s okay,” I reassured him, “we’ll still play next week and I’m sure you’ll score lots of goals then. “No it’s not fair, I don’t want to play anymore.”

I couldn’t understand why this time was so different. I tried to reassure him some more but he wasn’t having any of it. Fast-forward to the next week and John was ready to play soccer again. He had largely forgotten about the incident it appeared and was ready to play. That was, until the scrimmage was over, and neither team had scored a goal. Again, after the scrimmage, John was distraught that he hadn’t won. I asked him again what was wrong and again he told me he lost and that it wasn’t fair.

I was still confused about what made this time any different than the other times he had lost but I was prepared. “But you tied” I told him. “It’s not fair” he said insistently. This time I was ready though. “Why isn’t it fair John?” I was starting to think there wasn’t an actual reason. “Because we lost” he said keeping his reasoning in a circle. “But what if you had won, then the other team loses then is it not fair to them?” I asked him. “But I don’t want them to win.”

Finally we got to the root of the problem. John was fine with losing before because it usually meant that Andrew won. They were best friends and hugged and high-fived and were happy win or lose. But when John was on Andrew’s team and they both lost, Andrew saw no reason he should be happy the other team won. It took another week for John to really understand that it was okay to lose. I had to stress that he was still having fun and just as importantly, so were the kids on the other team.

The concept of winning and losing is hard to get across to kids. The best way I’ve found to do it, is to first really understand what their underlying meaning of winning and losing for them is. Some kids really want to win, some really don’t want to lose, some have learned that winning is good and some just have an inherent drive. It may be a cliché to say that every kids is unique but it’s true, every situation is different. The most important thing though, is to make sure the kid learns for themselves that winning and losing are both okay. It isn’t as easy as telling them. They have to experience it both ways. The thing you can do, is explain to them the best you can so that when they do win or lose, they make the choice for themselves to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser.

Word of the day: GENEROSITY!

This fall, for the second time, we will take on a sometimes difficult, but incredibly meaningful, task…

… To begin conversations with our soccer players about GENEROSITY and to model EMPATHY.

… To teach our soccer players about giving to others that have less than they do, and to plant the seeds for the ability to put themselves in another’s shoes.

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 2.42.24 PM Word of the day: GENEROSITY!

 

For questions related to the Soccer Shots Food Drive, or to get involved, contact Alyssa McGarigal, alyssamcg@soccershots.org

 

Week Ten: POSITIVE!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

KimZ CoachCard Week Ten: POSITIVE!It is end of summer and with that we come to our last word of the day, which is POSITIVE. What a great word to end with. This is what we want all of the children, parents, teachers and really everyone to feel about their experience with Soccer Shots. That makes it a good word to end the season with.

POSITIVE is defined as expressing approval; definite, certain and having or showing a mind free from doubt. This is definitely the main goal of our program. We want our kids to be certain that they are enjoying soccer. We want our parents to be certain that they have invested in a program that is showing their kids not only soccer skills but also life skills such as patience and teamwork. We also want our school and teachers to be certain that they have a dynamite soccer program to promote to their parents and others.

I am POSITIVE that I had a great time writing these blogs and I really hope they have helped you to understand more of what Soccer Shots is and what we do for your children. I will be starting a brand new blog next week and I am POSITIVE that I will love writing those as well. Thanks for reading and see you next time with details about the skills your children learn with us here at Soccer Shots.

Week Nine: PATIENCE!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Nine: PATIENCE!

This week is all about PATIENCE. PATIENCE is something that not only the children need to learn but that we as adults need to also practice on a daily basis.

PATIENCE is defined as the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper or irritation; an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. This is an amazing way to describe PATIENCE, mostly because if we look closely, it totally describes how we as coaches need to be with our kids at all times.

PATIENCE is definitely not something that comes naturally to our kids. They are very young and it something that can be hard to do even as adults. We just need to explain to our kids how being patient and waiting our turn can yield great results. By being patient we can show kindness by letting someone else have the ball first and by being patient we can share the joy of being a team and letting everyone have their turn.

PATIENCE it is not an easy word to emulate for any of us but the more we show these kids PATIENCE the more they will respect, listen, and enjoy Soccer Shots.

Week Eight: COMMITMENT!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Eight: COMMITMENT!

This week’s word of the day is COMMITMENT. This was a new word for me and I really like it. I also like how important this word is to our kids and how COMMITMENT can impact them for the future.

COMMITMENT is defined as a promise to do or give something; a promise to be loyal to someone or something; the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something. I wrote all these definitions down because they are all a different and unique perspective at looking at COMMITMENT. Each week that our kids show up to soccer they are making a COMMITMENT. Each week we show up to coach we are also showing COMMITMENT. We want to show our kids how committed we are to them by making Soccer Shots as enjoyable as possible.

Having the children understand COMMITMENT is very important. That is why I feel that as coaches we need to really show them how committed we are. The first day that we show up to do Soccer Shots at a school, we have made a promise to the children that we are here and that we will be there to support them going forward. We don’t want to break that promise and not be there for them if we can help it, even if it comes down to another coach coaching them instead, we still want to make sure we are showing how committed we are as a team and as a brand. We want each child we coach to walk away feeling special and knowing that we care and that is all about committing ourselves one hundred percent to all that we do. 

Week Seven: SHARING!

(Guest Post by Lead Coach Kim)

 Week Seven: SHARING!The word of the day this week is SHARING.

SHARING is a word that most of our kids know. Whether they like to share is another thing all together but this is one word they all should know.

SHARING is defined as to participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns. This perfectly describes what we do in soccer. We are constantly talking to the kids about how we are SHARING our soccer balls and how we should share our things with others.

I like that during this season, SHARING is paired with Passing and Trapping. In other seasons, Passing is paired with Teamwork, which is another great word, but Passing in soccer really is SHARING. It is easy to show the kids SHARING just by having them pass the ball to us or to the other kids. Kids may have a hard time when it comes to SHARING. It isn’t easy for them to share the soccer balls, to wait their turn to kick a goal or to share the cones or other items when we ask them to clean up. It is innate for us as humans to want to keep things for ourselves and not give anything to anyone else, but learning to share is important. It is important because it is how we learn to co-exist and help each other.

We want to make sure that we are showing them as much as possible how we can share anything we have with us at soccer and reward our friends who are SHARING by letting them shoot a goal first and pick out their sticker at the end of class first, this way everyone can see how that SHARING is a great and fun thing to do.

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.

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.