(Guest post from Robin Tilley, Franchise Support Coordinator, Soccer Shots Franchising)
There are so many aspects of the Soccer Shots model that are worth promoting, and each day I become more and more proud to be a part of something so genuinely good for our youth. Most of the benefits are clear: physically, we promote exercise, coordination, agility and balance, among other abilities. Mentally, we focus on character-building concepts such as teamwork, appreciation and honesty. These items alone set us apart from our competition.
But there’s one piece of our program that may sometimes get lost among the other more superficial advantages – the fact that Soccer Shots is non-competitive. I realize this could have been a selling point for parents who believe it’s the best option for their kids, beginners with no experience in sports, and we stress that this is why we’re different than a typical soccer league. But it’s something to keep in mind as kids move through the Mini and Classic programs and into our Premier programs, when children already have experience with the game.
In my opinion, and from what I’ve seen growing up in various organized sports, many parents push their kids too hard. Some pressure their kids into trying out for the best teams, practicing on their own after scheduled sessions, and giving them a hard time if they’re not excelling above the other kids. I’ve seen so many of my friends and former teammates “burn out” and quit at a young age because of the pressure. Luckily, I wasn’t one of those kids. I recently ran my first full marathon, and it got me thinking about what got me motivated enough to do this – and how my background in sports contributed to this.
Compared to some of my close friends, I got a “late” start in soccer, only playing in a basic recreational league until sometime in middle school, before eventually trying out for travel and elite teams. Most of my friends were playing on these advanced teams since elementary school, three or four years before me. My parents, neither of whom were very involved in sports growing up, didn’t even think to pressure me into these teams and didn’t even know much about them. I eventually decided on my own that I wanted more of a challenge, so I asked my parents to try out for the elite team and ended up fitting right in. Even by that point – in 7th or 8th grade – some of my teammates were beginning to resent the sport they had been pressured into playing. Some felt inferior if they didn’t think they were playing up to their parents’ or coach’s expectations.
I slowly excelled and played for higher-level teams, but all at my own pace. When it came time to try out for the JV and varsity teams in high school – at my AAAA high school, known for having consistently competitive teams in the state of Pennsylvania – I essentially skipped over two entire teams – I played for the 8th grade team in 8th grade, and skipped over the 9th grade and JV teams, becoming the only freshman on my varsity team in 9th grade (I also played for JV that year, too). I got some ink in local newspapers and played in the state championship that year (is it OK to toot my own horn if I’m making a point?!). I certainly “peaked” later than many of my teammates and friends, but I’m glad it worked out that way. I never burnt out from the sport I loved and no one pressured me into doing something I didn’t want to. I made my own decisions as I felt ready and driven to do so. And although my collegiate “career” was limited to a short period on Penn State’s club team (which turned out to be too much of a commitment – I was more interested in getting involved with other organizations and jobs), I still play in various local leagues today.
Soccer is only one part of the equation. I’ve always had a passion for running, and I’ve always done it on my own terms – outside of soccer practice and a brief stint in middle school cross country. I’ve always been motivated on my own to run by myself, with very few exceptions. I am 100% certain that I never would have run a marathon if I’d had outside pressure to run at a certain level before this point.
Kids will motivate themselves. They’ll become competitive in a sport or activity if it’s what they’re truly passionate about. I also played softball and swam competitively as a kid, but neither sport was fun enough to me to stick – and that’s OK. I love that at Soccer Shots, we don’t push competition; we simply push fun. And, let’s be honest – a child won’t ever be passionate about something unless they associate it with fun, right?
I vividly remember growing up and hearing certain parents yell at their kids from the sidelines of the soccer field, and even arguing with coaches about their child’s playing time. I’m so grateful that my parents never put that pressure on me, and I’m so proud that Soccer Shots is helping to lay the foundation for a healthier youth sports world filled with happy, confident athletes.
(Guest post from Alvarez, Executive Director at Los Angeles Soccer Academy)
Over the next few weeks we will be holding academy and club wide FALL TEAM tryouts. We will need ALL current players on every club team and every academy program to come out for tryouts. With the merger we expect between 250-300 players trying out for our 10-13 club teams. We plan to have only one team per age bracket and we want as many boys and girls to come out as possible, so please invite your friends out for these tryouts. Please note, we will be playing in a league we played in last Fall and it promises to be an organized, exciting season. We also have a home field now! We will be playing our home games at LACES High School (less than 2 miles from Cheviot).
Those players not quite ready for the Fall club teams will be invited to play in our brand new academy league. This will consist of two days of training and intra-academy games on Sundays. The training is a progressive and innovative mixture of futsal, street, freestyle and coerver technical work and a development system designed to give players the tools needed to eventually join one of our club teams. All the details will be included in the new LASA handbook which will be available at our website tomorrow for all families.
The first Soccer Shots class I attended, I was completely blown away by the excitement of both the kids and coaches. It was such a great experience to see kids outside enjoying each other and having an amazing time kicking the ball around. When children are young, joining a soccer program might just seem like something fun to get them outside. Which is definitely true, but it is so much more.
People may not realize the excellent life lessons these children are learning from these simple 40 minutes classes. Not only are they learning how to play one of the world’s favorite sports, they are gaining social knowledge that will stay with them forever. Soccer is a sport that requires communication, teamwork, and positive attitudes.
Sounds a lot like every day life, right? Because these kids are young, being apart of a soccer team teaches them how to be social and make friends with the people around them, which will be very handy for when they are growing up. If they are able to learn how to be outgoing when they are in preschool or kindergarten, school and future life experiences will be much easier.
When I was watching the class, I noticed a little girl in the beginning who seemed shy and embarrassed to do the soccer drills. When I asked her if she was okay she replied quietly, “Yeah, but I don’t want to mess up.” Because the coaches had the other children encourage and cheer for everyone, it helped the little girl gain confidence, and she ended up having an great time and scored a goal! By the end, she was chanting the other kids names for them to score goals just as they did for her. As simple as this seems, the little girl was able to break out of her shell and make friends from that one experience. Soccer has really helped me in my life too. I started playing when I was just five years old and now I am nineteen and still loving it. All of my closest friends are my soccer teammates and we all push each other to do good in school and life.
For me, not only am I staying active, I have learned to be dedicated to everything I commit to, I am able to communicate with people very easy, and I also know how to listen to rules and follow them.
I am totally not the type of person that will go outside and run on my own, but I look forward to going to practice to be with my friends while being productive. My team (as are most teams) is required to have a certain grade point average, so that disciplines us all to make sure our school work is going good. I give soccer and my coaches a lot of the credit for who I am today.
I was so happy to see those kids playing because I know the experience they are getting. It is hard to understand how children this young can be affected so much from these classes but it will be very apparent when they are older. In my opinion, the three main qualities a person needs in life is, being social (communicate well), dedication, and having a good attitude. With those three attributes, a person is able to do well in school, make friends, and eventually get a job. Any parent worried about how their child will do in life, sign them up for soccer!!
Los Angeles Soccer Academy (& Soccer Shots) in partnership with the LA Galaxy invite you and your family out to the Home Depot Center for an exciting day of training and the LA Galaxy VS. Portland Timbers game!
Tickets are only $20 each (over 50% off) and INCLUDE TWO HOURS OF TRAINING WITH THE GALAXY COACHING STAFF! Friends of LASA and Soccer Shots are welcome to join us!
Please see the attached file for additional details. Email email@example.com for ticket purchasing details. Payment and contact info must be sent to Soccer Shots by March 28, 2012. OFFER EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, APRIL 6. Please call us at (310) 857-6560 with your name, phone number, and mailing address. We will also need for you to mail us a check (made out to Los Angeles Soccer Academy) to:
8055 West Manchester Avenue
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
In addition to the LA Galaxy and LASA coaches, our very own Coach Alyssa, Coach Lindsey, and Coach Amanda will be at the training! Also, owners Rian and Alyssa Heim, Assistant Director Ali Lawson, and Lead Coach Andy Baena will be at the game! Come out to say hi, let the kids play, and enjoy the Galaxy vs. Timbers!!
We have been a proud partner of the Los Angeles Soccer Academy since 2011 and wanted to share a few exciting new clinics that they are offering. These highly specialized clinics are for 8-12 year old kids.
This is a challenging skills clinic for players of all ages and is open to both members and non-members of LASA. No RSVP is needed, just come on out ready to work hard and have fun! The fee for this clinic is $10, please bring cash and pay the coach before the clinic begins.
Boys Ages 8-12: Tuesdays 4:30-5:30pm with coach Alex
Girls Ages 8-12: Fridays 4:30-5:30pm with coach Jesse
Clinics are held at Cheviot Hills park. Coaches will focus on the following technical areas of development:
Ball-Control (fakes, feints, moves)
Dribbling (change of pace and direction)
1v1 (creativity, confidence, composure)
This is a challenging striking and finishing clinic for players of all ages and is open to both members and non-members of LASA. No RSVP is needed, just come on out ready to work hard and have fun! The fee for this clinic is $10, please bring cash and pay the coach before the session begins.
Co-ed Ages 8-12: Fridays 5:30-6:30pm with coach Michael
Clinics are held at Cheviot Hills park. The finer technical points of striking and finishing the ball will be emphasized. An excellent clinic for forwards and midfielders.
Striking and Finishing (finesse, accuracy, approach)
This is a challenging goalkeeping clinic for players between 8-12 years old, and is open to both members and non-members of LASA. No RSVP is needed, just come on out ready to work hard and have fun! The fee for this clinic is $10, please bring cash and pay the coach before the session begins.
1st and 3rd Friday of every month 4:30-5:30pm: Open to all LASA and non-LASA players $10.
2nd and 4th Friday of every month 4:30-5:30pm: Registered LASA club goal keepers only (FREE).
Clinics are held at Cheviot Hills park with coach James. The finer technical points of goalkeeping will be emphasized.
How to correctly use your feet, body and hands
Approaching every attacking situation, from 1v1 to set pieces
Diving and saves from every angle
Soccer Shots is proud to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and its Soccer For Success program, an after-school program that aims to fight childhood obesity and provide positive social benefits. Check out this video from a Soccer For Success event in Los Angeles last month, which two Soccer Shots Co-Founders (Jason Webb and Justin Bredeman) were able to attend.
“It’s about building the whole child. Soccer is just the hook.”
-Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
(Guest post from Coach Alia at Soccer Shots Los Angeles)
Encouragement is the gift that every child should receive. Although this statement seems obvious, encouragement really does make a difference in a child’s life.
I was coaching at Life House Preschool and about two sessions into the program a new child enrolled in my class and I was absolutely thrilled! The kid who was new to the class seemed apprehensive about playing soccer however he came along and attempted to play in all the games. About midway into the session I noticed that he was crying and I went over to him to see what was wrong. He informed me that he was sad because he did not think his mom would pick him up after lunch. I informed him that he had nothing to worry about because he would see his mom soon.
During this situation I saw more than the need for his mother, I also saw a kid who was easily upset and scared. I could easily relate to this child because when I was younger I was very much like him. I was very shy and was often afraid to talk to other people so I was quiet and kept to myself. What really helped me when I was younger was to have somebody encourage me and let me know I was doing a good job in whatever I was doing.
I knew that this child needed encouragement.
What made the situation even more perfect was the fact that the word of the week was encouragement! During the session I explained what encouragement was and had all the kids cheer for one another throughout the session. At the end of the session I also had everyone clap for this kid to show him that he did an amazing job that day at soccer.
During the following week to my surprise this kid did not cry at all!
Instead he was laughing and having a great time throughout the whole class.
I was very excited about this because I know that the other kid’s encouraging words made a difference in this child’s life. It doesn’t take much to encourage a child but it can make an enormous impact on their life in a positive manner. Each and every day, no matter how small it is, encourage a child. It may seem trivial however it can make giant impact in a child’s life.
Soccer Shots is owned and directed by Rian Heim and his wife Alyssa. Their passion for soccer and working with youth was their motivation for bringing Soccer Shots to Los Angeles. 2012 marks the fifth year that Rian and Alyssa have been running Soccer Shots here in Los Angeles. Together they make every effort to deliver a solid program that children, parents, and schools will benefit from and enjoy. They currently live in Playa Del Rey with their two year old son Charlie and dog Buddy.