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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.




#25 – Competition and Sportsmanship Through Youth Sports - The Soccer Sidelines

Defining Competition in Youth Sports Competition should be managed like a prescription drug. It's really great for creating certain chemistries, but there should be warnings on the label. Mis-use or overuse of competition can be bad for your health. In this article, we explore the concept of competition in youth sports and share some perspectives from both sides of an ongoing argument. Competition by itself is neither good nor bad. It is simply defined as the activity or condition of...


#24 – Empathy Through Youth Sports - The Soccer Sidelines

What is Empathy and why is it so important in life? How does youth sports help kids to develop empathy? How do we deliberately create an environment where empathy can grow? How can Empathetic kids and parents improve the game of soccer and elevate the sport? Empathy as a Key Ingredient Anyone who has worked for someone else for any length of time understands that there are differences between "bosses" and "leaders." Totally task oriented, overlooking the human elements - if the person in...


#23 – Integrity Through Youth Sports - The Soccer Sidelines

​​​​"We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb. I mean, you don’t want a spark of energy out of them." Warren Buffett // Famous Investor A low single digit percentage of kids across all youth sports are going to go on to play their sport at the...


#22 – Concussions in Soccer - The Soccer Sidelines

Concussions may as well be called "the invisible injury." They happen to an organ which is completely enclosed by bone and usually covered by hair. It's hard to see a concussion - and consequently, it is often underestimated. In this episode, we describe concussive injuries, put them in context of soccer related activities, explain how to recognize them, how to respond to them, how the sport is working to minimize them, and some specific things (and equipment) that you can do or buy to...


#21 – Let’s Talk About Cross Training - The Soccer Sidelines

Cross training into soccer from other sports or into other sports from soccer... Parents often ask if it's a good idea for kids to cross train. In this episode, we go into some of the pros and cons of cross training as youth athletes. Some topics we consider include over use injuries, strengthening of different muscle groups, and athletic IQ.


#20 Protecting Our Kids From Predators_Youth Protection - The Soccer Sidelines

This episode made me sad to have to deliver, but this is a subject that is important to talk about. Better now than after another child is abused. Violations of youth protection result in pain that can last a lifetime. It's important to talk about the pain that's already happened, but it is equally important to talk about making it harder for this kind of abuse to happen in the future. Today's kids are tomorrow's victims - unless we do something to prevent that from happening. In this...


#19 Making College Affordable - The Soccer Sidelines

In this episode, Dr. Michael Brown joins the show to talk about how to make college affordable. From the simplest stay-at-home option to more expensive out-of-state options, we explore several models that put a good education within reach of virtually any student - regardless of prior financial planning - without the need for money from Mom and Dad, and without taking on excessive student debt. Who is Dr. Michael Brown? College as an investment Choosing a field vs a college "What do you...


#18 – The Offsides Rule Explained - The Soccer Sidelines

Arguably the most difficult and most argued about call in all of soccer, the offsides rule has given plenty of sideline enthusiasts, coaches, players, and referees alike a lot to talk about. In this episode, I will break down the four conditions that must be satisfied to result in an offside foul, give you the one timing component that makes all the difference, and share the difference between being in an offside position and drawing an offside foul. As much as I'd like to say that after...


#17 – How to Know Where Your Kid Should Play - The Soccer Sidelines

How can we tell where in the soccer system our child should play? In this episode, we look at behaviors you can find at home or on the field that tell us where our kids want to play. Should we move them into a more technical environment, into a more social environment? Which is best for my kid? Let's explore that question...


#16 – How Much Does it Cost to Play Soccer – Part 2 (The Programs) - The Soccer Sidelines

In this episode, Part 2 of How Much Does It Cost To Play Soccer, we dive into the programs available. We reveal what each program costs in the area we live in, and what you get for the money you pay. Anyone new to the game of soccer - or interested in exploring hat's possible - will find this episode useful. While there is no single answer to how much does it cost to play soccer, this episode will give listeners a good idea of the range of what's out there. Introduction The range of...


#15 – How Much Does it Cost to Play Soccer – Part 1 (The Variables) - The Soccer Sidelines

Soccer families that understand the economics of the game early will make better investment decisions over time. It's possible to just "follow the crowd" and see where it takes you, but you'll spend more time and money this way than you need to. By understanding what's involved in costing a soccer experience, you'll go in with your eyes wide open. This episode is part 1 of a two-part series that talks about the soccer experience. We will introduce the variables here so that next week when...


#14 – Bundle of Sticks – Playing Together to Achieve Team Synergies - The Soccer Sidelines

Sticks in a bundle can’t be broken but sticks taken singly can be easily broken. Same applies to people. One of the most potent superpowers any team has is Unity. In this episode, we talk about creating unity on the field, amplifying it at home, and using Unity as a measure of a game's effectiveness. Sometimes, we just need a simple and effective way to introduce the concept to players so they will understand and be able to apply it. Moms and Dads need a simple message to reinforce at...


Talent is Only Part of Success in Sports - The Soccer Sidelines

Inspired by an article written by Fred Bowen of the Washington Post titled "Athletic Ability is just a part of success in sports," we hear what 5 high school coaches are looking for from players beyond athletic ability. We also hear about what Tom Statham from Manchester United's Youth program has to say about essentially the same subject. Time and again, we hear that what separates the good from the great is Character. Coaches from high schools to the pros are echoing this message over...


#12 – Get Ready to Enjoy a Tournament! - The Soccer Sidelines

So much of the tournament experience happens beyond the pitch. Building esprit-de-corps, enjoying local food, experiencing the hotel, and checking out many different game and coaching styles are just a few! In this episode, we explore two real-world soccer tournaments that are hosted in the Maryland area. As co-owner for both of these tournaments, David shares some insights on the value of tournaments and how to prepare for them by setting a budget, a plan for the area, and making...


Making Community Connections - The Soccer Sidelines

Youth Sports is a rallying point in the community for many families. In this episode, we look at a real-world scenario where a family in trouble reached out to a Club, and the Club came through. More than 15 volunteers delivered a FUNd-raising tournament that raised 4 digit donations and sent a message loud and clear to kids and others of how powerful community and youth sports can be in support of families.


How to Be Intentional About Development - The Soccer Sidelines

After the crowds go home, the final scores are tallied, and our youth athletes leave the field for the last time, it's on to real life. Whatever education they were able to pick up; coupled with the tools they got from their youth sports, home life, volunteer, and other club activities; are all that our kids have to dress themselves with as they enter the workforce. If former players have a good grasp on the most important things: teamwork, initiative, drive, work ethic, empathy, positive...


What the Heck is Futsal? - The Soccer Sidelines

The game of futsal looks like a simple game of soccer on an indoor court, but there is more to it than this. In this episode, we break down the game of futsal and will compare it in some ways to the game of soccer. When you’re done listening to this episode, you’ll have a good idea of the lens to view futsal through. History of Futsal : Learn about the history of futsal - a game that has been around since 1930. The name Futsal is actually a combination of words from the Spanish and...


Getting Familiar with The Throw In - The Soccer Sidelines

The throw-in is a basic maneuver that all soccer players, parents, fans, and coaches need to be familiar with. There are rules for the throw-in: where they are relevant, body position, physical position relative to the field, the movement itself, what other receiving players can or can not do, whether offsides rules apply during a throw-in. It's equally important to know what happens if the rules are violated, and what happens if the ball goes into one of the nets from a throw-in. In this...


Moms and Dads Can Coach – But Should They? - The Soccer Sidelines

My first day of coaching started off, literally, in a lawn chair on the sidelines of my kid’s soccer game. The coach’s assistant, a dad of one of the kids on the field, couldn’t make the game. The coach, another dad of one of the kids on the team, needed someone to keep the time. I didn’t realize that one needed to keep time at a soccer game, but I agreed to help out. Besides, I thought it might be cool to be on the coach’s side of the field with a stopwatch, and I figured… how hard could...


The Real and Profound Effect of Dehydration on Performance - The Soccer Sidelines

Dehydration decreases mental and physical performance on the field and in school in some pretty dramatic ways. Something as simple as not drinking water cut performance by nearly 50% in laboratory studies for patients who were just walking! In this episode, I share a couple of studies done on the effects of dehydration on performance. What you'll discover is significant in many ways that extend well beyond the soccer field. Listen to find out how dehydration decreases mental performance in...


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