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



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



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
USA suffers major rout against Germany at U-19 men's tourney    
While seven of the graduates of the last cycle of the U.S. U-20 men's national team, ...
Say it carefully, quickly and clearly: Getting your players' attention    
How do you get a rambunctious group of young players to pay attention?
Heel pain known as 'Sever's disease' frequently affects young athletes    
Heel pain is one of the most common complaints in young athletes. This generally occurs during ...
Meet the 21 U.S. U-17 World Cup players    
The 21-player roster U.S. coach Richie Williams named for the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile ...
U.S. under-19 women open fourth camp Saturday    
The U.S. U-19 women's national team, under Coach Jitka Klimkova, will hold its fourth and final ...
Mexico names two U.S. products to its U-17 World Cup squad    
The deadline to name rosters for the 2015 U-17 World Cup that kicks off Oct. 17 ...
Remembering Dettmar Cramer reminds us: It's all about the ball     
The legendary German coach Dettmar Cramer once joked he felt sorry for the ball when he ...
Treating the common 'growing pain' known as Osgood-Schlatter syndrome    
Over the summer a lot of kids came through the office to get "tuned up" for ...
Now What Do We Do? Transitioning to small-sided games and birth-year registration    
Being a former club and state director of coaching, I dreamed of this day! As did ...
Two U.S. U-17s score in Europe as squad prepares for World Cup    
For the U.S. U-17 national team's last gathering before the U-17 World Cup in Chile in ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives