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The Soccer Sidelines

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Bringing parents, players, and coaches together around the stuff that matters.

Bringing parents, players, and coaches together around the stuff that matters.
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Bringing parents, players, and coaches together around the stuff that matters.




Mental Health in Soccer

Mental Health in Soccer runs deeper and more silent that most of us have given much thought to. In this episode, I share my thoughts and research after a discussion with a mental health nurse in a UK training camp, then I share three things that we can do as parents or as coaches to help our kids manage some mental health issues before they become issues.


Parent Engagement in Youth Sports

Youth Sport is bigger than any player. We do our best to let them go and let them play when they're on the field. That's a good thing. But coaches only get kids for at maximum, 2 or 3 hours at a time. Parent drive them around, pay for their access, eat and play with them at home, share their perspectives and experiences every day.Parents also make up the bulk of the volunteers for any club. Parent engagement is a key component of every program. If parents are not connected with what's going...


Improving Access To The Game

Not enough kids have access to the game. Language barriers, cultural differences, and financial paywalls are leaving significant numbers of kids on the sidelines. How big is the problem and what can we do about it?


Better Coaching With John O’Sullivan

"What do you remember about the best coach you ever had?" John O’Sullivan asked. He had passed out yellow sticky pads to all tables in the room and asked us to write down our top five characteristics- one per sticky. He stood in front of a room full of coaches, team managers, and a few other invited guests as he spoke. What he would reveal to us in the next five minutes would become an “ah ha” moment for many in the room and a lesson for you to think about the next time you're on the field...


The Future of Coaching

It's time to promote social and emotional skills, but how? A team of experts spent the last two years exploring this and have a report worth reading.


Play Up and Play Down Situations in Youth Soccer

Play up and play down situations happen every season in youth soccer. In this episode, we talk about the who, what, and why of the play up and play down scenario.


#69 – Volunteer Jobs That Support Kids

Supporting kids in our soccer clubs is more than coaching or being the snack parent. Volunteer jobs that support kids range from cleanup to marketing, to managing awards to organizing BBQ's. Community Clubs are powered by volunteers of all kinds!


#68 – How to be a Good Coach – 10 Ways

Learning how to be a good coach is a process. We aren't born good coaches. We become good coaches. Here are 10 ways you can be a good coach.


#67 – Childhood Obesity Threatens to Cause More Cancer

We're in trouble. Diseases related to obesity are riding into our communities at an alarming rate. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer... all on the backs of fat cells. Last Monday, the American Cancer Society released a report on a study published in The Lancet Public Health that examined 12 obesity related cancers between 1995 and 2014. They found a disturbing trend in adults between the ages of 24 to...


#66 – Playing Soccer in College

For many players, playing soccer for their college is a dream. This article is about how to get there. Below you're going to find a collection of video and linked resources that will get you well on your way to:Understanding the processGetting your plan togetherKeeping you and your athlete safe from ego and from predators who would love to use that take your money Get to Know the NCAAWhether you're interested in soccer, football, swimming, basketball, or some other sport, the National...


#65 – Competitive Youth Soccer

Competition is a natural ingredient in the process of strengthening hearts, minds, and bodies. Without competition and struggle, we miss out on valuable opportunities. The question in this episode is: Why do we compete? What's the end game? Is it to play on the world stage or is it to create stronger healthier adults? In this show, I discuss two valid perspectives: youth sport as a way to compete globally, and youth sport as a way to create strong adults in whatever field they chose. In the...


#63 – Playing Chess with a Ball

There is so much more to watching a soccer game than watching the player with the ball. Come along with me as we explore some of the history, the formations, the styles, and the 99% of the game that is played without the ball. Come away with a better sense of the game and how you can appreciate watching your kids play the biggest sport in the world. Chances Are You're Missing Out Soccer is much more than kicking a ball. It's about shapes, coordinated movement, positions on the field, timing,...


#62 – Cooperation Human Superpower

Many mammals cooperate, but most stick to cooperating with relatives. Human beings are different in that we have learned to cooperate with people we don't know. This has made all the difference in our evolution. We're genetically wired for cooperation, but our ability to cooperate is weakening. Some of the essential ingredients we need in order to cooperate are disappearing. Where we used to rely on one another to learn skills and pass on knowledge, we now have Youtube. Where we used to make...


#61 – Finding Success in Real Life

It's time to take our youth sports character successes home! Moms and Dads are invited to come off the bench with me for this episode!Connect with me at or on Facebook at Wins Happen in Real Life!It's important to win. We should never be satisfied with losing. The drive to win pushes us. Being on a winning team helps us gel and feel good about ourselves (or maybe we win because we gel and feel good about...


#60 – Pay to Play in Youth Sports

Pay for play is unequal. It’s unfair. And it’s hurting youth sport more than it’s helping. It’s been a thing for at least 10 years. It’s a bad thing. And it’s something you should be aware of no matter what sport your kids are playing. Listen to the show for details about what's wrong with pay to play and how we might fix it. What is Pay to Play in Youth Sports? Pay to play shares one characteristic no matter what context it’s being used in. Pay to play = limited access. Essentially, what...


#59 – Parents Are Not Perfect – And Should Not Try to Be

The bottom line up front: it's normal for kids and parents to experience conflict during the process of letting go. Kids are genetically wired to create conflict - no matter what you do or how you do it - so that they can achieve a more grown-up state of autonomy, independence, responsibility... all the things we want them to have as grown ups. If you know what's coming, when it's coming, and maybe a few strategies for managing yourself through the process, you may have an easier time. A...


#57 – Take Advantage When The Development Window is Open

Before you know it, your young athlete will be walking out the door for their first year of college. This comes fast! It’s important to realize that our kids are only on loan to us for a short period of time. Here is one way to make the best of it!Know Your Child's Development WindowThere are clear development windows for all sorts of things from walking and talking to understanding how to navigate mixed gender social situations. A youth athletic coach is focused somewhere within the period...


#56 – The Mental Game

The crucial difference between an elite performer and one who is good is often not visible to the casual observer. Having a good Mind Game can make all the difference! "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain Author It Doesn't Matter the Setting It really doesn't matter what sport your child wants to play. It doesn't even matter if they want to play sports at all. Athletic competition is just one way kids work on their mind game....