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Silicon Valley Eagles

The Silicon Valley Eagles Soccer Academy blog is a great source of soccer coaching tips, parents and players improvement tips and advises, and updates on the soccer world news.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_soccerfriends.jpgThere are a variety of benefits to enrolling your children in youth sports programs. There’s the physical fitness aspect, as kids get the exercise they need to stay fit and active. It’s a grade booster, as studies show that those who participate in youth sports are more likely to do better in the classroom. Above all, however, sports are fun. It can be very rewarding to watch your children dedicate themselves to a sport while having a great time in the process.
While there are a bevy of benefits to youth sports, there’s one big benefit that may not necessarily be top of mind: career building. Youth sports help provide career-building skills that will benefit children years down the line when they’re in the workforce. Here’s a look at some of the ways youth sports provides career-building skills:

Preparation: They say practice makes perfect. Thus, not only is it important to hone your skills at a particular craft by putting in the practice hours, but it’s also important to prepare for the game or task at hand from a strategic standpoint. This is also true in life. In the classroom, you’ll have to prepare for tests. In the workforce, you’ll have to prepare for interviews. After you’ve gotten the job, you’ll likely have to plan presentations for clients or bosses. Planning and preparation is an important part of a career, and it can all begin with the important details one learns before the big youth championship game.

Getting along with others: As your child plays sports, it’s highly unlikely that he/she will be friends with every single teammate. The same can be said about the working world. You’re not going to get along with everyone you work with and everyone you do business with. However, just as it’s important on a team, in your career, you have to put differences aside and come together for the greater good. On a youth sports team, this greater good is doing what it takes to win the game. In the career world, this greater good is doing what it takes to accomplish sales goals or attract new business.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_multiplesports_web.jpgThere are a bevy of benefits for kids who play multiple sports. These include becoming better overall athletes from engaging in multiple disciplines; learning to be smarter and more creative players; and staying more active and having more fun in athletics. In addition, research shows that the majority of athletes who go on to play college sports come from multi-sport backgrounds.

According to various studies, the benefits of children playing multiple sports far outweigh the disadvantages. For instance, a study from Ohio State University reported that children who specialize and only play one sport early on are more likely to experience physical inactivity as an adult. Another study from Loyola University found that up to 93 percent of athletes who play just one sport are more likely to be injured than those who play several. Furthermore, data also shows that children who specialize in only one sport are more likely to suffer from burnout and lack of enjoyment with that sport over time.

As you can see, there are many benefits to being involved in multiple sports. However, what if your child wants to pick just one to focus on? Here’s a look at how to encourage your children to get involved with multiple sports:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_seated-sideline-parents_web.jpgAs a former coach with well over 30 years of experience helping young people learn to play soccer and learn life lessons on the field, I’ve seen some changes over the years. Equipment has gotten more expensive and fields have gotten nicer, but there are changes in the parents and the way things are run as well. Here’s my take on what I saw 30 years ago and what I’m seeing today.

Yesterday’s Sports Parents
They walked to their neighbor’s house, local school or the recreation department, if they had one, and waited for the meeting to begin. The host, usually a parent or department employee, would eventually start the meeting. The agenda, if they had one, would cover the program’s needs.

They were told their child could not play unless someone “volunteered” to coach that team. They were told the games could not be played unless someone “volunteered” to referee. They were told the league could not operate without some “volunteer” administrators to guide the program. Eventually, everyone who wanted their child involved would be given a job, from putting numbers on T-shirts to marking the fields.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_JobInterview.jpgThere’s no question about it: kids (and kids at heart) love participating in team sports. In 2011, 21.5 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 played a team sport. And, as ESPN says, “Youth sports is so big that no one knows quite how big it is.”

Whether it’s soccer, basketball, football, baseball, hockey or rugby, playing an organized sport is a great way for both kids and adults to stay in shape, build close relationships and learn about themselves. Another benefit that many people don’t think of? Being part of a team can also help people prepare for business success.

Participating in a team sport is about more than just having fun. It’s also about doing your best to support the goals of a group of your peers. If you’re looking for ways to prepare for your own future success in business, or you want to establish a solid foundation for your kids, it’s worth your time to consider participating in a team sport.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_coachbase123.jpgThere is a problem with participation in kid sport.

Unknown to many though is just how big the problem is. Right across the board, no matter the sport, the amount of children starting and staying active in sport is decreasing. The good news is that technology offers solutions that could help reverse the trend.

But first it’s important to understand just how serious this downward trend has become. The data, tabulated by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and presented by the Wall Street Journal, says the numbers of kids aged 6 to 17 playing the four most-popular sports – baseball, football, basketball and soccer – declined from 2008 to 2012. Surprisingly it’s basketball that saw the largest drop off, losing 8.3 percent of participants over the study while soccer dropped 7.2 percent of its players, baseball 7.2 percent and football down 5.4 percent. These numbers become increasingly worrying when placed against the backdrop of a childhood obesity epidemic along with concerns over childhood bullying and the like.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_stressed-kid_web.jpgSports are competitive, and young players sometimes have a hard time dealing with the pressures of the game. Add in the demands of school, and you may end up with one stressed kid. Here are 10 tips for helping your child manage sports-induced stress.

1. Provide the Right Encouragement
To help your child manage stress, you must provide encouragement without adding pressure. Don’t push too hard, overreact to mistakes or losses, or make your child feel like sports is the most important thing. It’s not.

2. Watch Your Sideline Behavior
Are you yelling at coaches, refs and umpires? Your sideline behavior can greatly add to your child’s stress both on and off the field. Help your child by keeping it in check.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_133947695.jpgEven over the holidays, when your kids are training for sports, you want to provide them with the right foods to fuel their activities. You should also provide your child with the right foods to promote their growth. Certain nutrients are essential to achieve optimal growth; this helps their performance in sports and can help to promote their overall health. Here we consider which macro and micronutrients are vital for growing bodies and where these can be sourced in the diet.

Protein

All tissues in the body contain protein. From the bones and muscles to the organs, all require an adequate supply of dietary protein for growth. If we break a bone, tear a muscle or accidentally cut ourselves, protein is also required for wound healing. The amount of protein your child needs each day depends on their age. Teenage boys require more protein in their diet than girls; this is demonstrated in the table below, which is based on figures provided by the CDC.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_hidrasyon.jpgDid you know that young athletes are at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses than adults? This is because kids don’t sweat as much as and absorb heat faster than adults. Plus, kids tend not to want to drink water or other fluids while they’re exercising. Even though most pediatricians recommend that kids should drink half of their total body weight in ounces of water each day, we all know that, in reality, that is the exception rather than the rule.

With the summer camp and tournament season fast approaching and temperatures rising just in time for kids to be playing in hot – and often humid – weather all across the country, we are likely to see a rise in the number of heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, among young athletes. Making it worse? The proliferation of artificial turf fields, which can be nearly 86 degrees – yes, you read that right – hotter than natural grass fields.

What can you, the team manager, do to keep your team of young athletes hydrated, happy, and healthy through a weekend tournament or week-long camp?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_youth-sports.jpgLast week, I was invited to participate in the NFL Health + Safety Conference in New York City along with more than 40 other bloggers and writers. Sitting at a huge conference table at NFL headquarters, we heard from representatives of the NFL and USA Football about the success to-date of the Heads-Up Football program in reducing head injuries in youth football, as well as plans to expand the program in the coming year.

More interesting, however, was the subsequent discussion among the bloggers – parents of youth athletes from Kindergarten through college – about the role of parents in reducing sports injuries, especially concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). If you’re like most parents, you’re probably thinking, “What can I do? I’m not on the field. I’m not the one playing or coaching. And I’m not a doctor.”

In reality, there’s a lot that sports parents can do to make their child’s experience safer. Here are six ways you can ensure a better, safer youth sports experience for your child:

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Posted by on in Sports Parents

b2ap3_thumbnail_youth-football-concussions2.jpgOver the past few weeks, my Facebook news feed has lit up with news of friends’ children suffering concussions due to football, including these highlights:

“Just back from Children’s Hospital. Concussion. Out of football for 2 weeks!”

“Mild concussion. Sidelined for a week. Could have been worse.”

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Posted by on in Sports Parents

b2ap3_thumbnail_little-league.jpgFlying home from Spring Training a few weeks ago, our flight was packed with 7- and 8- year-old boys. Had they gone to see their beloved San Francisco Giants or Oakland A’s play up-close and get autographs? No. They were returning from a four-day baseball tournament where they played against other 7- and 8-year-olds from up and down the West Coast and neighboring states.

Bad enough that they had missed two days of school to play baseball against other kids their own age—I have to think there are plenty of other teams at their age-level within a short drive of their Bay Area town—but I couldn’t stop cringing as I listened to the coaches and parents talk about those other second- and third-graders:

“Did you see that first baseman? He SUCKED!”

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Posted by on in General Sports

b2ap3_thumbnail_8112a157bc8dfb9cab1fed897b0ae17a.jpgWebster defines simulation as “the act or process of pretending; feigning.”

For those not familiar with how the term applies to soccer, it can best be characterized as attempting to fool the referee into calling a foul in your team’s favor. Commonly called flopping or diving, it can occur anywhere on the field, but is usually attempted inside the 18 yard box outside the opponent’s goal because a foul called inside this area is awarded a penalty-kick (essentially a free goal).

There has been a lot of controversy over the last couple weeks in English football as Manchester United star Ashley Young earned a penalty kick two successive weekends and was clearly shown on instant replay to be diving both times. This has generated a lot of discussion on message boards and blogs across the Internet and lead to him being left out of the line-up last weekend. It got me to thinking – always dangerous – about whether this should be considered cheating. If so, should it be punishable by the governing body after the fact, i.e. even if the referee doesn’t spot it during the match, similar to the way the NFL hands out fines or suspensions for vicious hits.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_two-girls-brushing-teeth-300x147.jpgAlong with helping children learn how to read, how to talk and how to play well with others, parents are responsible for teaching their kids how to move.

The first step to walking is a parent holding a child’s arms up while they stumble along. That’s helping them learn how to move, as is supporting them on the monkey bars those first few times, showing them the difference between a run and a skip and moving that baseball bat so they’re holding on to the right end.

As children get older, we may think we’re done helping them learn how to move. They can walk, run and jump, after all, and we get busy. With packed solid days, sometimes (OK, most of the time) it’s impossible to even consider adding anything to the schedule.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_girls-soccer-sportsmanship.jpgChildren gain so much from participating in sports, like the opportunity to develop physical literacy and the chance to make lasting friendships. Playing sports can also help kids become better people as they grow up. My soccer teams have always been known for good sportsmanship. Through the years, coaches and parents from other teams have often told me that they like to play my teams, even when we beat them in competition, because my kids are basically “nice.” That says something.

What makes my players nice? In a nutshell, I coach them to play to win, but always honestly and fairly. Compete as athletes, train hard, and then win by using your superior skill, fitness and intelligence. Don’t compete with personal insults or dirty fouls or vulgar chants. We’re not about “winning at all costs.”

It’s about honoring everyone and learning what respect really means. Most people will agree that good sportsmanship means honoring everyone on the field of competition, including opponents, officials, parents, spectators and ourselves. However, not all kids learn this.

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Posted by on in General Sports

b2ap3_thumbnail_download_20160201-224600_1.jpgFall is here, which means school and extracurricular activities are here, too. One of the many sports popular during the fall is soccer. As with any sport, you can’t just show up for tryouts and expect to make the team, you’ve got to invest the time and effort necessary to show coaches that you have what it takes.

Here are some tips to help set you up for success.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_apple_XXSmall.jpgPractices are a good way to test what snacks work best for your child in regards to energy and performance. Just as the old adage goes for adult athletes, “Do not try anything new on race day;” this also can be applied to youth soccer players. Testing what food works well for pre/post practice can then be applied to pre/post games.
A snack before a soccer practice or game should be something that isn’t heavy, but is enough to keep kids fueled. Try to fuel muscles 1-2 hours before an athletic event. Some kids will need two hours to digest before they play. This depends on the individual kid and timing of eating needs to be experimented with at practices. Also, a snack that travels well is best, since travel to and from games is commonplace. Make sure to avoid fatty foods, extra sweet foods, and caffeine. These cause spikes in blood sugar, and then sugar levels can drop quickly during performance. This will make kids feel sluggish.

Here are some examples of good pre-practice and pre-game snacks:

Whole grain bread w/peanut butter
Cereal that is low in sugar
Low-fat cheese
Yogurt
Turkey or chicken
Fruit, such as: apples, bananas, pears, oranges
Post-soccer practice or post-soccer game snacks are something one needs immediately following the event. First thing is fluids. Some examples are water, chocolate milk or natural fruit juices. Sports drinks can be included as recommended fluids, as they aid in replacing electrolytes, but read the labels to make sure there is no caffeine. After fluids are replenished, youth athletes need a mixture of food that includes both carbohydrates and protein. Again, something fast and that travels easy is likely to be a good choice. This way, kids can eat something on the car ride home and they won’t be starving by the time they eat their next meal; which is not good for their blood sugar levels to dip too low.
Some good post game and practice snacks are:

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