April 2016

Constructive Strategies

Success a Vital Element in Improvement by Keith Conners, Ph.D.

Anyone who has played soccer for any length of time has undoubtedly been on both sides of a lopsided score line.  It is not much fun to lose under any circumstances, but it is especially difficult when an opponent runs up the score.  Players are brought face-to-face with their shortcomings, and their confidence erodes.  Even the winning team tends to suffer a bit in a lopsided game.  Some players feel badly for friends on the losing team.  Others may feel shortchanged because they received less playing time when the coach cleared the bench, or because they did not get a chance to play as competitively as they would have liked.

Attending to players’ bruised feeling and self-esteem is a difficult but important job for losing coaches in blowout games.  They have to put aside their own feelings of frustration and find positive outcomes from an unpleasant experience.  

In soccer, as in any learning situation, success is a vital element in improvement.  Yet it is a real struggle to find ways to have player perceive anything about a one-sided loss in positive terms.
What can players, coaches and organizations do to avoid blowouts? And if one-sided contests cannot be completely eliminated, how can we minimize their negative effects?  Our purpose in writing this piece is not to deliver the definitive answer for handling blowout situations, but to sample opinion, invite reflection stimulate discussion and perhaps generate some constructive strategies for handling games involving mismatched teams.  
By Keith Conners, Ph.D.,
      Victoria Brooks 
      Amanda Brooks

Keith, Victoria and Amanda’s constructive strategies are available to you at: www.fundamentalsoccer.com 

Editor’s Note:  Please send your opinions on this topic to: cysakarl@comcast.net

Konstructive Strategies by Koach Karl

What can winning teams do to keep the score down while still playing good soccer and benefiting from the experience?

Here are some ideas of possible conditions and restrictions that coaches and player can accept to help balance the competitive situation on the field and still play hard.  The list is arranged in no particular order and coaches should consider applying restrictions or rules that encourage their players to work on strengthening personal weaknesses.

No one may score until a designated player scores.

Specify a designated number of consecutive passes (10) before Going-to-Goal.

Pass, Dribble or Shoot with left-foot (only) for right footed players and vice-versa for left-footed players.

Go-for-Goal only after successfully executing a combination play (i.e. wall-pass, take-over, etc.) in the offensive third of the field.

Go-for-Goal only after successfully executing a combination play (i.e. wall-pass, give-and-go, etc.) in the defensive third of the field.

Following restarts (including throw-ins) all players on the team including the goalkeeper must touch the ball before being allowed to Go-for-Goal.

All players are limited/restricted to ‘one-touch-play-the-ball’, that is, they are not allowed to bring the ball under control but must immediately release (pass/shoot) with the 1st touch –no exceptions..!.

All players are limited/restricted to ‘two-touch-play-the-ball’ , that is, they must 1st control the ball with the first-touch and immediately release (pass/shoot) the ball with the 2nd touch –no exceptions..!.

All –or-designated players are limited/restricted to either ‘one-touch’ or ‘two-touch’ play depending on what part of the field a. defending, b. midfield, c. attacking the ball is on.
Use your Imagination..!!!

CAUTION: Moving players to unfamiliar positions often results in even more damage (scoring).  Many coaches have exchanged their front-line players with their back-line players to avoid running-up the score with tragic results.  They did not realize that Back-line players (even goalkeepers) who were finally given the opportunity were willing to sacrifice personal harm to score a goal.           

Editor’s Note:  For more Koach Karl suggestions/ideas go to:  www.fundamentalsoccer.com

Let Children Be The Winners!

"Benefiting Children in Youth Soccer" By John Murphy

Youth soccer, like all sports, has as its immediate and specific objective a team being victorious in a game. To make youth soccer available to all kids, thousands of volunteers give selflessly of countless hours of their time, donate incredible talent and expertise, and endure all kinds of stresses and disruptions of their personal and professional lives. The givers include treasurers, match secretaries, registrars, field managers, and many, many others, especially volunteer coaches and other team officials.  Because the goal of youth soccer is to win, we would expect all those that give so much to be able to know when they have in fact "won." But the truth is that it could be very hard to know if you have won or are a winner in youth soccer. 

Consider a TOPSoccer match. Is the coach of the team that scored more goals than the other team in a TOPSoccer match the "winner" and is the coach of the "defeated" team the loser? Or are both coaches "winners"? The answers will depend on your values and the true purpose of your involvement. If your purpose is to beat the opposing team in a game, the answer is that the coach of the team with the most goals is the winner and the other coach is the loser. If your value is to help children grow, master essential life skills, and mature, the answer is both coaches are winners. How do you determine what your or the values and purpose of others really are? Words they use may be helpful, but then again words can be misleading even to those using them. To be sure consider the conduct. There is much truth to the saying that actions speak louder than words.

Some examples of common situations help make the point. The red team and the blue team with their team officials and parents arrive at the field for a game. Each team has an outstanding player that is moderately injured. Late in the second half, the score of the game is tied. The blue coach decides to substitute in his injured player to try to score a goal; the red coach thinks about putting his injured player in but decides not to do so. Which coach is the winner and which one is the loser? If you can answer this question without knowing the final score, your value and purpose is to promote children in the larger sense of helping them grow, learn, and mature. If you need to know the final score to answer the question, it is somewhat difficult to know exactly what your value and purpose are other than to say they are something other than benefiting kids. The red and blue teams have full rosters of moderately talented layers. The players have regularly attended practice and played all year for their teams, including in tournaments and throughout the league play. As the deadline for freezing the rosters for purposes of playing in State Cup approaches, the coach of the red team and the coach of the blue team are approached by Kristi Kicker, a outstanding national pool player, who wants to leave her existing team and asks both coaches separately if she can join their teams. To make room for the outstanding player on the roster, both coaches would have to get rid on one of his existing players. The red team coach informs one of his players that she is no longer needed on the team, drops her, and transfers Kristi onto his team. The blue team coach tells Kristi that he is sorry but there is no room on his team roster. The red team is victorious in the State Cup and is crowned state champion. The blue team is knocked out of the State Cup competition in the quarter finals. Is the red coach and team or the blue coach and team the winner? If your value and purpose is to succeed in the State Cup, the blue coach is the winner. If your value and purpose is to help kids grow, learn, and mature, the blue coach is a winner and the red coach is a loser.

Winning depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you consider winning in youth soccer, as I do, as benefiting children in the greater sense of helping them grow by teaching them worthwhile values by example, helping them learn lessons such as morals and ethics that will serve them well throughout their lives, and assisting them in maturing into responsible adults, will you ever really know if you won? The values you advanced take time to grow and show themselves in the children you served. There is a good chance you will not see what you actually achieved as the children move on with their lives. So, did you win? You may not ever see the specific example of your purpose being achieved, but you did win, and you won big. You know it and I know. More important, each of the children you served knows it.
By John Murphy,
Former Chairman CYSA-N

Reading Heart sets a New Guinness World Record

During a 24-hour book drive, Reading Heart in Fresno collected a world-record-setting 280,110 books.

The nonprofit fell short of its goal of 500,000 books but surpassed the current record of 275,000, said Dwayne Ferguson, whose daughter, Danay, founded Reading Heart.

The donation drive was held at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno, with book drop-off locations in Lemoore, Fresno, Clovis, Biola, Sanger and other Valley cities. There were 272 volunteers for the event and the books filled around 300 bins, Ferguson said.

The drive started March 18 at 3 p.m. and ended Saturday. In addition to collecting new and used books from the public, Reading Heart took donations online, with Scholastic providing four new books for every $5 donated.

“Books will be distributed to Fresno County schools, the Marjaree Mason Center, Valley Children’s Hospital, Friends of the Fresno County Public Library and other organizations. The goal was to give every elementary student in Fresno County a book”, Ferguson said.

Reading Heart was founded in 2014 by Danay Ferguson, 9 year old Recreation player from the Fig Garden YSL who sends a heart-felt ‘Thank You” to everyone in District VII who donated books or money to the drive..! 

Hi Koach - I'm proud to say our Fugman Soccer Club unanimously voted to donate $500 to Reading Heart.  I personally delivered a check to Danay's home this past Wednesday.  Our Club is proud to support Danay's efforts and proud to represent District 7.

 Thanx ***Michael Calvillo

Kohl’s American Cup

Applications are open for the Kohl’s American Cup

Visalia Youth Soccer is proud to host the 2016 Kohl’s American Cup

The Kohl's US Youth Soccer American Cup provides recreational youth soccer players an opportunity to experience a consistent and high quality statewide tournament in a fun, family-like atmosphere. It fosters stimulation and excitement about soccer in an effort to increase the recreational players interest in and love for the game.  

We want the recreational player to feel special and have fun! The Kohl's American Cup can achieve this by providing recreational players with the opportunity to participate in an original event outside of their normal league play.

When: April 23 & 24th

Where: All Games will be played at Visalia Riverway Soccer Park (click to get directions)

Who: U8-U19 boys and girls Teams 2015-16 age chart

Brackets will be formed for both Regular and Advanced Recreation Teams.

How do I register: Register here for the Kohls Cup 

Entry Fee

U8-U9  $175

U10-11 $275

U12-14 $300

U16-19 $325 

All Teams are guaranteed Three Games. Tournament Pins and bags to all entrants. Medals for 1st and 2nd in each flight

Please call or email the tournament director with questions 

Roland Soltesz president@visaliagalaxy.com    559 936-2871

John DeBenedictis -  Executive Director of The National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada Neil Bradford - National Director of Coaching SAY Soccer

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Food for Thought

The Want toWin

by Graham Ramsay

Winning proves everything we are told.  It identifies perfection and the highest ideals of sport, who we are led to believe and yet we have all these awards and winners but far fewer real players and coaches.  The problem is compounded by the Al Davis’s of the work who trumpet out, “win, baby, win” every day in the media.  Statistics back up the claims the vast army of youth coaches and parents suddenly see the Holy Grail of success staring directly at them.  Winning solves and proves all. Or does it?

At professional level, a win is a win is a win.  You have yet to see a pro coach reject an ugly win.  On the other hand four or five losses, its “hasta la vista” and on your bike!  These coaches know most of a player’s development is done by their late teens and competition is the next phrase of heightening that talent.  They know their athletes have matured both physically and mentally to deal with the many ups and downs or pro sport.  Mr. Davis is totally correct about the importance of a win in the pro arena but down on the sandlot he would probably rephrase his quote to, “learn, baby learn.”

Unfortunately the youth scene takes these images of the only things in life are to win without thinking about the environment and youngsters.  It looks the same – the ball, the field, the game, the uniforms, etc. So they mimic the picture that is on the screen and learn to talk the talk.  It’s official with all these mini-pros and Bobby Knight look-a-likes pacing the touchlines.  They have, however, forgotten two things- the children and their development needs. 

To blindly imitate means short term winning and long term losing.  It looks good at the beginning, winning the U5s Post-Natal-Cup, pounding opponent into the ground with an incredible winning record.  “This is what it’s all about!” PuttPutt her we come!  Suddenly, parents who up to that point used to get a nose bleed competing at checker are talking contracts and scholarships for their youngsters.  Luckily sanity is slightly restored when children turn around and say “we’ve had enough.  Skateboards and the open road, her we come.”  Off they go, never to be seen on a competitive sports field again.

Graham Ramsay, Executive Director, The Soccer School (est. 1969)  

Editor’s Note:  Find more articles by Coach Ramsay at: www.fundamentalsoccer.com

Sports Medicine

 Asthma and The Young Athlete – By Carlos Flores RN FCN

It is estimated that 15% to 25% of athletes have signs and symptoms suggestive of asthma. By definition, asthma refers to 

the disease process in which an airway becomes narrowed or blocked causing difficulty with breathing. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. These symptoms may be mild to severe and are often brought on by exposure to allergens (things we’re allergic to), exercise, poor air quality, and cold, dry weather. Severe symptoms may lead to hospitalizations and when uncontrolled can lead to severe outcomes, including death. In 2010, Fresno’s own, Ickey Woods, former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals lost his 16 year old son, Jovante, to a severe asthma attack. Ickey has gone on to establish the Jovante Woods foundation to promote asthma education ( jovantewoodsfoundation.org ).

The problem is in the triggers that start asthma. Because mouth breathing is necessary during any increased activity, this type of breathing bypasses our natural defenses found through nasal breathing. The inhaled air is breathed directly into our lungs. All of the pollens and particulates normally filtered end up in our bronchial passageways. In addition, if we’re exercising in cold dry weather (as is found right here during our winters) the inhaled air is not first warmed and humidified as it would be if we breathed through our nose.

When controlled, asthma does not restrict exercise performance. In fact, being fit helps ward off asthma symptoms. So we should not be afraid to get out and get active even if we have asthma. But we do need to take precautions and have a plan.

First, as we’ve said many times before, it is crucial to have a pre-sports physical conducted by your own primary care physician. He/she can provide you with the necessary counseling, prescriptions, and advice on how to manage your asthma. This may include monitoring with peak flow devices, charting your progress, use of long term medications, rescue inhalers, and the proper use of those inhalers (using a spacer). Those specifics are beyond the scope of this article, so I must stress that your physician provide those instructions to you and your young athlete.

Second, establish a plan. Using your physicians advice, have your rescue inhaler at every practice and sporting event. Know what to look for, shortness of breath, coughing, decreased performance.

Third, ask your physician about pre-medicating with your inhaler. Generally, 10-15 minutes prior to exercise is helpful…BUT…you must get your physicians ok prior to doing this.

Fourth, keep your coach in the know. He/she must know that there might be limitations if your young athlete develops symptoms. Let your coach know what your asthma plan is.

Fifth, pay attention to the Air Quality Index. As often happens in our region, the AQI can go up into the unhealthy for sensitive groups, which means, limiting outside activity for young athletes, especially those with respiratory afflictions.

Having asthma myself, I can attest to the stress of not being able to breath. Try running up and down the pitch while breathing through a straw. This is what it’s like, and it can be severe.

But with proper preparation and having a plan, there’s no need to be afraid. So get that advice, take your meds, be mindful of the air, know your symptoms, and get out there! Play hard, play safe!

Editor’s Note:  If you would like to connect with Carlos Flores to suggest topics or receive personal feedback, he can reach him at:  cflores@valleychildrens.org.

Playing sports and being physically active is absolutely necessary in a young person’s life. Doing so without injury is entirely possible so long as we provide safety as a virtue above any championship, tournament, or trophy. As always - Play hard, play safe. 
For more information on concussion and to access online concussion training, go to the Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/HeadsUp/index.html
Play hard, play safe! 

Note:  If you would like to connect with Carlos Flores to suggest topics or receive personal feedback, he can reach him at cflores@valleychildrens.org.


 My kids are equipped with Go Pro cams on top of their heads 24/7 which is connected to a wireless feed so colleges/universities can scout them at all times. One is currently specializing in twirling around on the soccer field while the other has D1 Dandelion Picker (DP*) written all over her!

 *I refer to Dandelion Picker as DP since savvy soccer parents think DP as it relates to MLS' designated player.  Helps keep my sanity 

Coach Shaune

The outcome of our children is Infinitely more important than the outcome of any Game they will ever play!