Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Get Flip-Flops to Improve Practice and Game Play
by Alex Kos, November 19th, 2009 2:30PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Alex Kos

Shortly after a practice or game ends, all players should participate in the collective ritual that I simply call the "aaaaahhhh."

Typically, "aaaaahhhh" is the sound that players make when they take off their cleats, socks and shinguards and slip on a cool pair of flip-flops. In Northern California, we can usually get away with flip-flops. But in other parts of the country and depending on the time of year, other footwear may be more appropriate.

The "aaaaahhhh" ritual benefits players as well as parents and coaches. For players:

* After a long, hard practice in which you have given 100 percent effort, you want to wind down and put soccer behind you and reward yourself for a job well done. There is no better feeling than freeing your wet and smelly feet from your cleats, stretching your toes out, and then having them touch the nice, cool grass. There is only word that can describe this feeling ... "aaaaahhhh."

* Conversely, when you put on your cleats before a game or practice, this is the players' signal to start focusing on soccer and the job at hand. All goofing off and messing around should cease. You are now at work and ready to give 100 percent effort and attention. Putting on the cleats is the equivalent of a parent sitting in front of the computer at work, a fireman answering an alarm, or a teacher calling the class to order when the first-period bell rings. It is time to go to work to learn and improve.

* The same is true of games. When those cleats are put on, it is time to focus on the game. When the game is done, reward yourself for your effort. Getting out of your cleats is extremely important when you have multiple games in one day. After the first game, slip on your flip-flops and relax. Soccer is done for a while. Take a break.

For parents:

* Your kids will learn that there is a time and place for everything. At practice, they should be there to learn and improve -- just like at school. When the cleats come off, soccer is done.

* Flip-flops will save money. There is nothing that I hate worse than seeing my kids walking around the parking lot or mall in their cleats. Plus, it can't be comfortable.

For coaches, try incorporating the collective "aaaaahhhh" ritual. Make sure they have your undivided attention when their cleats are on. When they are off, that is their time. Your practice should run smoother and hopefully your players will be more focused and ready for the start of a game.

(Alex Kos wants to improve soccer in the United States. His experiences as a player, coach, referee, parent, and fan are shared in his blog entitled Improving Soccer in the United States. He is also the inventor of the soccer training device called Loopball. This article first appeared in his blog.)

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
A new cycle begins for U.S. U-20 men's national team    
Coach Tab Ramos, who in June guided the USA to a quarterfinal appearance at the 2015 ...
11 Tips for Coaching the Little Ones    
"I got recruited to coach my kid's soccer team. Any advice?"
Youth leaders react to change to soccer's registration cutoff date    
On Monday, U.S. Soccer announced to two initiatives that will be mandated by August 2017. One ...
U.S. Soccer mandates major changes, altering birth-year registration and standardizing small-sided format    
U.S. Soccer has mandated a significant alteration in how American soccer will be organized -- changing ...
'Former pros can bring wealth of knowledge to the youth game' (Chris Martinez Q&A)    
Colorado native Chris Martinez, who starred for the A-League's Colorado Foxes and MLS's Colorado Rapids, now ...
The Trophy Debate -- Give kids some credit     
I'm not a big fan of trophies. They tend to be gaudy and overpriced. At the ...
'Coaches cannot be set in their ways' (Luchi Gonzalez Q&A)    
After a seven-year professional playing career, Luchi Gonzalez launched a career in education -- he served ...
World Cup-bound U.S. U-17s prep with Czech Republic tourney    
For its first gathering since the draw for the 2015 U-17 World Cup, Coach Richie Williams ...
Consider the individual when planning practice    
It's that time of year in soccer when youth teams are kicking into a new season. ...
Why should you care about sports science?     
For most, it is accepted that injury in sport is a part of the game; a ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives