Proud of my team

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I recently started coaching a youth soccer team, and we recently went to the championship tournament. Let me say first of all I am extremely proud of the kids on my team. Their display of sportsmanship would’ve have made any parent and coach proud to be a part of this team.


When this past season first started I can’t deny that we weren’t very good. Most of the kids didn’t understand the basic rules of the game, and I admit that I thought at the beginning it was going to be impossible to teach them to play as a team. Since we made it to the championship tournament you’ve probably already figured out that these kids definitely improved.


I admit that I was nervous broaching the subject of participating in a tournament with my young players and their parents. Of course the team was all for it, but most of the parents looked at me like I was slightly crazy. Thankfully they are also extremely supportive, which is why I owe a lot of my team’s success to the parents. They showed up at every game cheering the kids on, and they also made sure that the team always had plenty of healthy snacks to munch on.


Throughout the season the kids and I both benefited from all of the practices and games. In case you didn’t know there is a lot of running in soccer, especially when you are just starting out. Sometimes after practice I swear I felt like I had run over two miles simply chasing down balls that got away from the players. By the time the regular season started the team and I had gotten into shape without even realizing it.


During the regular soccer season we won games and lost a few, but not enough to disqualify us from the tournament. While we ultimately were eliminated in the semi-finals I am extremely proud of the way my team performed. The kids played a great game every time they took to the field. They never bragged when they won, and they were the first to congratulate the team that ultimately caused us to be eliminated. Some of these kids displayed better conduct than a few of the parents that were rooting for us to lose.
Like I told the kids on my team there is always next year, and now that we are in shape it will be easier for us to train for the upcoming season.

Why I Like to Work with Kids from Broken Up Families

I love working with kids from different backgrounds and walks of life, but if it is a category I really feel like I was doing the right thing for was that of children who come from broken homes. Such a disruptive event in a kid’s life has such a tremendous impact that it is difficult to help these children, regardless of the position you are in as an adult, be it caregiver, psychologist, trainer, teacher and so on. I love how enthusiastic kids are when I am getting them involved in competitive events, but I honestly think that the ones that have something really important to gain from getting involved in a sport are those who had the misfortune of witnessing their parents divorcing.



They find a venue to channel their anger

Kids react in different ways when their parents are getting a divorce. It depends on their age, the way the divorce happened, if they had to face their parents arguing or worse, and on many other factors that psychologists and other specialists always have to take into account when they are counseling these kids. I have met quite a few children from broken homes in my life, and what I noticed in some of them is that they have a lot of unexpressed anger. Giving them an opportunity to vent off their anger helped them become calmer and more in touch with their inner selves. Also, practicing a sport offered them a frame in which they could express themselves while following a clear set of rules, and this really helped them.


It is a way for them to win back their power

Powerlessness is something often experienced by kids with separated or divorced parents. They feel like the situation is completely out of their area of control, and they do not know what to do. Practicing in order to achieve excellence in a sport of their choosing helps them regain this power. When they are on the field with me, training to become better, they take back their power, and they feel much better as a result. I have noticed some of the kids I trained feeling more confident and much more in control, as they continued to practice.


Overcoming shyness is a big thing

ju1While some tend to become violent and often get into fights, others become extremely shy. They are afraid their caregivers will leave them and fear of abandonment is the biggest fear for children. Even those who used to be outgoing and sure of themselves become overly shy, since they are afraid a single wrong move or word will cause the remaining parent to abandon them. I have trained with many kids who were really shy because they were too scared to step out of their cocoon of safety. I taught them how to hit the ball, how to develop a team spirit and talk to the other kids, and how to train and push themselves, and I received the great reward of seeing them opening up and shedding off some of their shyness.


A healthy routine is created

Practicing a sport offers these kids a great option. Sports have rules, training must be followed based on a clear schedule, and kids find it easy to get into this routine. The fact that they know what to expect gives them security and they feel safe. This way, a healthy routine is created and they reap real benefits from practicing a sport. That is why I love working with these kids, because seeing them becoming more confident in their own powers, smiling and feeling better is a true reward that nothing else can replace.

Joining a championship

Since I was eager to take the kids’ training to a whole new level, I decided to ask them whether or not they were willing to participate in a youth soccer tournament. Given that most of these children were very competitive, I have to say that I wasn’t really surprised with the answers that I got. Almost all of them wanted to join in and have their say on the matter. I explained to them that competing in a tournament takes a lots of commitment given that they would spend many hours on end practicing. On the one hand, I had to make sure that their parents agreed with my proposal. That’s why I asked them as well, and most of the answers I got were favorable.


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While the tournament is still several months away, I’ve already started training with the kids and I’m happy to say that I’ve already started seeing some of the results. Some of them have begun getting the physique they should have for their age whereas others are able to run faster and for a longer time without getting tired. For now, I haven’t invested a lot of time in explaining various strategies that I have already concocted for the tournament. I’m mostly focused on making them realize how important it is for them to have the best physique and be in the best possible shape.


justice 8I’ve noticed that the same interval training works with kids just as it did for me, when I wanted to lose the weight that I had put on over the years, while I was employed. Now that I’m feeling less stressed about my job and have plenty of spare time, I can finally tend to my goals and even achieve them, gradually. I start out with several simple exercises that should be done while standing up. Believe it or not, I found that Zumba was one of the most efficient types of training that I could take advantage of with the kids. Since not all boys like to dance around, I don’t exaggerate, and therefore, we train for just a quarter of an hour or so. Since I also want them to build a bit of muscle, I help them perform several simple exercises such as fifty to eighty crunches, abs, stretches, and of course running. Some are in better shape than others, but the main point in this case is to focus on the goal. Whether they win some soccer games or not, the bottom line is that they are winners because they were able to join the tournament and do the best they can. In the future, I’ll document as much as our training as possible.

How to make any kid happy

Teaching kids the right way to play football is something that can overpower most men. It is one teaching a kid an individual sport and a totally different matter to teach them a team sport. Kids have strong personalities, even though you may be inclined to believe that they are easy to steer into a certain direction once they’re on the field, they can put you through various “torture” sessions until they learn how to perform as a whole. If you have ever tried training boys ranging from 9 to 12 years, you know what I mean. It is a lot to take into and conflicts arise daily due to minor disagreements on the field or outside it. Luckily, my lawyer experience helps a bit with settling conflicts even in kids’ world.

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So, after a couple of weeks of constantly acting like a conflict mediator and many failed attempts to make them play like a team, I’ve decided I needed a collective action that would make all of them happy at the same time.  Though most kids in the team have good soccer equipment, I noticed that some of them don’t or have poor quality shoes, which means they might as well play barefoot like the Indians in 1948. So, knowing their size and with a clear idea of what kind of cleats they’d like, I’ve decided to buy the whole team new soccer gear or at least the basics: cleats, shin guards ( here is an useful article), shorts and shirts. It wasn’t an easy deal, but I managed to find it at an affordable price and good quality. It was a general joy when they saw them, the cleats on their favorite nuance, shirts that fit them well and were made with quality materials.

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I gave them their new football gear right before our practice that day. They didn’t wear them right away, but we finally had a good practice session. I still have to change some of the cleats because they didn’t fit 2 of the boys well, but, apart from that, everything went smoothly, even better than I expected.

I hope that from now on I’ll find other ways of bringing the boys together. For now, I’m planning to take them on a trip, so that they can connect and learn how to spend some time together outside the football field. I’ll let you know if the trip was a success.

For some awesome advice for coaching kids soccer, you can check out this site or this one.

My blog

I was an attorney for almost forty years. Once I retired, I started hanging out with some of my friends, and I quickly came to the conclusion that my physical shape was a major disappointment. I used to be into sports when I was younger and due to my hectic schedule, I was unable to go to the gym as often as I wanted to. Fortunately, my retirement changed everything in my life, in that I started having a lot more spare time that I could use to get back in shape. Not only did I manage to lose some of the pounds I had been wanting to lose for years but I also joined a gym and started learning a bit about boxing and even martial arts. I always enjoyed soccer, basketball, and baseball, and since I was a good player when I was in college, I decided to volunteer to a children’s charity so that I could help some kids coming from broken families deal with their issues.

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Eventually, I found that blogging was the perfect way to document my experiences as a trainer and even describe what some of the kids I work with have to go through on a daily basis. Sometimes, it’s heartbreaking to see what misfit parents are capable of, but all I can say is that nothing is as bad as it seems. I like talking to the children so that I learn a bit about their stories, and once I’ve done this I manage to correlate their issues with the training sessions so that they’re able to work on their problems by sticking to a sports routine.


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Whatever the workout or training I teach, I’m always careful to explain that, while boxing and other martial arts are fundamentally violent sports, they should never be used to attack someone. It goes without saying that learning several self-defense techniques is never a bad idea, but if it’s possible for a person to avoid clashing with someone else, I urge them to do so.


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Children enjoy sports far more than adults, and that’s why I find it so easy to work with them. They never complain about being too out of breath especially when they’re competing against one another. In my opinion, sports and getting good exercise while you are still young is key to shaping your body later on. I’ve seen that people who go out jogging ever since they were seven years old almost never put on a lot of weight in the long run, and as you know, obesity is always on the rise in the United States. On the one hand, I’m acutely aware of the fact that most individuals put on weight because cheaper food is packed with calories, and many Americans don’t afford to buy healthy snacks. On the other hand, because working schedules are so busy, few people get to work out. Besides, workout equipment costs a lot of money. A few light exercises in the morning and the evening never hurt anyone and neither did jogging during the weekends. I’m hoping that my experiences will allow you to learn more about sports, in general, and their beneficial effect on child development.