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Silicon Valley Eagles Blog

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_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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b2ap3_thumbnail_parent-soccer-eagles.jpgI’ve been coaching soccer for many years. I’ve instructed all kinds of players: the uninterested four-year-olds, the unusually talented 10-year-olds, and high school seniors doing their best impression of the Bad News Bears. The winning is always great, and there’s much to be learned from losing, but it’s nowhere near as satisfying as having a player tell you how much fun he’s had.

Especially for the younger players, I’ve always felt a responsibility to create fun and lasting memories…win, lose or draw. Along the way, I’ve been lucky to have tremendous support from the vast majority of parents who’ve trusted me to do the right thing.

But occasionally, coaches encounter troublemaker parents. This can ruin the fun for everybody: players, coaches, and entire teams and families.

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crying-footballer.jpg

Participating in a sport is supposed to be fun. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological 

Children taking part in competitive sports often feel stressed, but the cause of that stress may be surprising to some parents. Often, it isn’t the coaches or your children’s teammates that are causing the stress; it could be you — and you may not even know you’re doing it! Are you guilty of any of these stress-inducing behaviors? Avoid stressing your child out during sports activities by remembering these stressful behaviors parents engage in during games, practices or even around the house.Association estimates that 9 percent of all children use sports to help manage stress. For those children, sports can be fun, but for many children, sports can be extremely stressful.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_overloading-insport.jpgMy husband and I were thrilled when our 11-year-old daughter was selected for a Class I soccer team earlier this spring. It’s something she wanted and drove—she’s pretty headstrong—and we followed her lead. She loves soccer and wanted the greater challenge on the field. At the parent meeting, the coach clearly stated that once the calendar hit August 1st, it was serious soccer. From that date on, he expects the girls to be at every practice leading into the season. We were on board 100 percent.

Until our daughter’s good friend invited her to spend 10 days in Hawaii. In August. In the middle of the ‘serious’ practice season. I had been so careful to plan our family vacation in June to avoid our son’s July baseball commitments and our daughter’s August soccer commitments. I was the model, committed sports parent. And now I was faced with a dilemma. Do I deny my 11-year-old a wonderful experience that she would remember forever, in order to demonstrate our commitment to the new coach and protect her playing time for the entire season?

Whether it’s a vacation or another family, religious or school commitment, I’m sure many of you have been in my position. Striking the right balance between commitment to an athletic team – or multiple teams – and what’s right for your particular family is no easy task. But here are some guidelines to help reduce your family’s overall stress level and limit your child’s potential for physical injury and mental anxiety due to overuse and overscheduling.

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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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