5 Mistakes Youth Soccer Coaches Make

Being a great youth soccer coach is not rocket science. You can do it, but you might need a bit of help to get off on the right foot. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years as a coach. Most of them weren’t fatal, but having a good understanding of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them will help you have much more fun as you develop your own winning team of soccer studs.

5 Coaching Mistakes You Must Avoid:

Mistake #1 – The No Fun Coach

Members of the media call the NFL the «No Fun League» because the commissioner has outlawed

the celebrations and other things that really make the game entertaining. Unfortunately, the same

can be said of the majority of youth soccer coaches. Remember whom you are coaching.

Remember their age and think about how kids this age see things. Put yourself in their shoes if you can and always ask yourself «Would I have enjoyed this when I was a kid?» I’ll give you a key hint here…Kids want to have fun playing soccer. They enjoy the game more when they get to touch the ball A LOT! They don’t want to stand in line.

Mistake #2 – The Survivor Coach

The basic premise of the hit show Survivor is that a group of people are left on a deserted island to fend for themselves. They are given a couple of items when they arrive, but are not allowed to bring anything with them. I have witnessed numerous coaches that come to practice with that same philosophy.

They hardly bring any equipment with them at all. Fortunately, you don’t need a ton of gear to run a quality soccer practice. With that said, having the right equipment can make all the difference between a losing team and one that gets better every single week. There are certain must-have items in your kit that so that you can go quickly from drill to drill and keep your players motivated and attentive. Be sure to bring plenty of balls and cones to every practice and things will run much more smoothly.

Mistake #3 – The Cool Hand Luke Coach

One of my favorite movie lines is from Cool Hand Luke where Strother Martin says, «What we have here is a failure to communicate.» Most coaches and parents have this same problem. Establishing a clear line of communication with your soccer parents can be the difference between a fun-filled season of soccer and a descent into the depths of hell. Soccer moms and dads can be your strongest advocates or worst nightmare. If you set up a good phone & email system ahead of time, you can bet that coaching your team will take less time, be less frustrating and be much more productive!

Mistake #4 – The Drill Sergeant Coach

Most of the drills that you find in coaching books take way too long to setup, don’t hold your kids interest and have your players standing around too much of the time. Good drills should feel more

like games to your kids. Your team shouldn’t spend all of their time waiting in line to kick the ball.

They should be actively involved in the drills, get lots of touches and be on the fast track to becoming better players. Look for drills that involve most of your players at the same time. Look for drills that minimize standing in line and maximize time with the ball at your players feet.

Mistake #5 – The Nutty Professor Coach

I am constantly amazed at the coaches I see that just show up with a bunch of balls, some orange

cones and NO plan. They either forget what they were going to do, or don’t have any idea in the first place.

In order to get the most out of your weekly practices, you need a solid plan for each practice. Ever see a coach who’s team is running around all out of control? If you don’t have a plan for your team, they will quickly develop a plan for you. Players should move from drill to drill and spend the majority of their time actually playing soccer. Designing a good practice plan can take a lot of time, but it is worth it.

Make sure that your players get a good warm up, individual skill time, group skill time & group game time in each and every practice.

In Conclusion

What kind of coach do you want to be? A frustrated, pulling your hair out babysitter? Or a fun-loving coach that is developing awesome soccer players on a weekly basis?

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8 Ways to Take Care of Your Soccer Cleats

If you have been playing soccer since your childhood, you probably know that you would bang your shoes against the brick wall to dislodge mud. While this was your way of keeping your cleats free of mud, there are some other better ways of achieving the same purpose. Let’s know more.

A Common Myth

Don’t use hot water to wash your cleats as it may ruin them. Some people think that this trick will loosen or expand the leather. As a result, the shoes will fit you better. This is just a myth. So, soaking your shoes in hot water is not a good idea. There are many other safer ways of washing your shoes.

Polish Them

To keep your leather cleats from drying out, you can use cream to polish them. However, don’t use this method unless your shoes are made from pure leather. Once you have cleaned the shoes, don’t forget to apply the cream each time. This will prevent cracks and increase the lifespan of your boots.

Keep Your Shoes Away From Intense Heat

Don’t put your soccer cleats near an intense source of heat, such as fire. This is more important when you have just cleaned your shoes. The intense heat from the sun or dryer, for instance, may dry out the cleat leather.

Take off Your Shoes After Each Play

After each play, make sure you remove your cleats and put them in the right place. Your cleats are not designed for casual walk. Your leather shoes may get damaged quickly if used on hard surfaces over a long period of time.

Clean Your Cleats thoroughly

Most of time, you don’t clean your cleats thoroughly due to lack of time or some other reason. You may miss some places, such as some tiny dents or cracks where dirt can get trapped in. If your cleats have dirt on them, they may appear a bit dingy. Therefore, you should scrub your shoes properly so that they look clean from all sides.

Use a Newspaper

After each wash, you can use newspaper to soak up the extra moisture from your cleats. Aside from soaking up the moisture, stuffing the paper inside the hollow section of the shoes will maintain the shape of the cleats.

Be Gentle

Usually, cleaning your cleats with lukewarm is a good idea. All you need is a piece of rag and warm water. However, make sure you don’t use soap or other cleaning agents. These things may damage the structure of the shoes.

Consult an expert

Lastly, if you have no idea as to how to take care of your soccer cleats, we suggest that you consult an expert, such as your trainer. They may give you some really useful practical tips that will help you perform the upkeep of your shoes. It’s better to consult a good professional instead of going the DIY route and end up damaging your expensive cleats.

Hopefully, these tips will help you take care of your soccer cleats.

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The Tea Ceremony Around the Globe

2737BC. The passage of time from 2737BC to 2014 is almost incomprehensible to me. The change, the modernisation, the evolution. What is the significance of this date?

This is the year tea was discovered.

Yes, in 2737BC, in China, the Chinese emperor stumbled across a mysterious potion after leaves from the camellia sinensis plant accidentally fell into the water his servant was boiling for him to drink. As a herbalist, he embraced the opportunity to try a new concoction, sipped the delicate liqueur and immediately fell in love; a love that has been shared by billions of people since.

But it is mind blowing to think that tea has been consumed by people for over 4000 years. And perhaps even stranger to think that in Britain, we have only been drinking tea (our saviour, our comfort, our ‘pack-your-kettle-last-so-it’s-the-first-thing-out-the-lorry’) for a short 400 years.

Even so, this is an incredible amount of time to develop the traditions and conventions associated with drinking it, and the tea drinking ritual is one steeped in cultural customs.

It is perhaps a generalisation, but when we think of tea drinking rituals, it is the Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies that immediately spring to mind: formality, silence, connections to nature, tea as a gift, a way of offering thanks or apologies to a relative.

Rule-governed and purposeful tea drinking? The officialism appears alien to us.

On reflection though, perhaps there is ritualism in our own tea consumption. Doesn’t tea follow meal times, help calm our nerves, welcome us home after work, or welcome friends over (imagine not offering a friend a brew after knocking on your door. Ultimate social faux pas), lift our spirits and console us? Although we do not wear robes or kneel down, tea does have significance: comfort, safety, friendship. If this isn’t our tradition, then I don’t know what is.

Tea is not just enjoyed in the countries mentioned above. Tea has successfully bewitched people in every continent across the globe, which has led to it being branded as the second most widely consumed beverage on the planet after water. Tea’s ability to permeate cultures has arguably enabled it to survive these 4000 years, each bringing their own traditions and quirks in which to celebrate this distinctive liquid.

And this is what we will here explore; how tea drinking traditions differ in some of the top tea drinking regions of the world.

China

As mentioned above, in China the consumption of tea is ceremonial. Not only do the Chinese people celebrate tea, but they use tea to formally celebrate or consolidate occasions, such as serving tea at family gatherings, as a symbol of formal apology and as a way of politely addressing and thanking parents for the giving and receiving of partners at weddings.

It is the tastes and aromas of the tea which are at the heart of the ritual. Each utensil is carefully washed or cleansed using the first infusion of the green tea leaves to ensure that the second infusion’s taste is not coloured by any foreign bodies, like dust particles, so the tea is pure.

Importantly as well is the way the tea is poured; slowly, in one motion, across all cups (which are small clay pots) and only half full. The other half of the cup is said to be filled with friendship and affection; therefore binding host and guest in their tea drinking experience.

Japan

In Japan, the tea ceremony centres around the making of Japanese Matcha tea; a green tea ground to a fine powder which is world renowned for its excellent healing powers, high concentration of antioxidants and rather bitter taste.

The ceremony is named Chanoyu and focuses on the aesthetics of tea making rather than the taste or smells, making the experience more of a choreographed performance than a quenching of thirst.

The ceremony’s composition dates back to the twelfth century and involves the host’s serving of the tea, as well as the presentation of the utensils and ceramics used to prepare it, the arrangement of flowers in the space and calligraphy. These items can all be modified by the host to best fit the occasion for which the tea is served. It is also the host’s task to have considered their guests’ view of the tea at every angle in the space, to ensure that their experience will be one of purity, serenity and tranquility: a weighty responsibility.

The thoughtful consideration that is required for a successful ceremony often ensures that the bonds of friendship between the hosts and their guests are strengthened after the experience is concluded.

India.

In India, tea is served on the streets by Chai Wallahs, or ‘tea makers’, who blend their spicy chai tea on their stalls at train stations, bus stations and on every street corner.

Authentic chai is milky, sweet and spicy, made from thick buffalo milk, Assam tea, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon and often what seems like a ton of sugar. The ingredients can vary, but the ritual of serving generally stays the same: the Chai Wallah brews up all of the ingredients in a large metal pot over open coals which are placed on the stone ground. Once simmering, he pours the liquid through a sieve into a teakettle, then pours the chai into small terracotta pots from a great height. The drinking cups are only used once; consumers throwing them to the ground once they have finished, smashing them to pieces, to allow the clay to get trampled back into the ground.

Chai’s popularity in the UK has steadily grown in the past year (it’s one if our best sellers!) and it’s easy to see why. Chai tea is delicious; warming, spicy, soothing, it’s like Christmas in a cup and yet I drink it all year round! OK, we like to have it our way- we tend to brew Chai with hot water rather than in hot milk and individual consumers choose whether to sweeten delicately with honey- but the resulting comfort is the same.

Equally, much of India’s tea is renowned for its medicinal properties, mainly because of the strong ties to Hinduism and Ayurvedic tradition: a system that inspires us to live by alternative medicine, ultimately governed through a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Tea blends are therefore steeped in a philosophy that inspires the ‘art of living wisely’.

Russia

Rather like the UK, Russia was introduced to tea in the mid-1600s, but whereas we strove to steal the idea from China, the Russian Tsar was given tea as a gift from the Chinese ambassador to Moscow. Of course, he loved it (who doesn’t), and quickly a line of trade was organised between the two countries.

Tea in Russia is not just about the liquid itself but about the heat that brewing the tea gives rise to, and the warmth felt through consumption (Russia can get a little chilly at times). Russia’s tea ceremony is therefore centred around the use of a samovar; a large metal tea urn with decorative handles and a spout.

Typically, the samovar has more than one layer to it. Simple samovars have a bottom layer housing the hot water, which is actually heated by filling the small soldered pipe that runs through the centre of the urn with hot coals. Above this sits a small metal teapot, often of the same metal material, and a concentrated form of brewed tea, zavarka, is made here before being diluted by the hot water from the urn.

Russian Caravan tea (so named as a result of the camel trains that first brought tea to Russia) must be mentioned here. It is the perfect blend to brew in a samovar as the teas used have strong, dark flavours: Chinese Keemun and Formosa Oolong tea, sometimes with hints of Indian black teas like Assam to add a maltiness to the blend.

Morocco

Inshas Allah, ‘with god willing, all good things come with time.’ This is the proverb by which Moroccan people brew their tea and signifies the respect they show to the timely process of making the perfect cup.

Morocco is famous for its Moroccan Mint tea; a blend of Chinese green tea, fresh mint leaves and a lot of sugar (often five times the amount of sugar to the amount of tea!)

The tea making ritual is one of leisure in Morocco and if invited to assist in making the tea, you are honoured. Incense is lit and those who are taking part in the serving wash their hands in orange blossom water before they begin.

Firstly, loose green tea leaves are placed in a round bellied teapot with a conical top and long curved spout, and hot water added. Much like in China, the first infusion (left to brew for just one minute, before being poured into a tall glass) is used as a cleanser, this time for the leaves rather than the flasks, to rid any impurities the leaves may have picked up through travel. After this, the loose tea is brewed before adding the sugar and mint.

The spout is one of importance to the teapot. Curvature to the spout allows for the server to pour the tea from a height of around half a metre into the small glasses below, to create a frothy foam on the tea’s surface.

Tea is served often in Morocco: after each mealtime, when entering some shops, to welcome guests in the home and even to mark business deals.

Iran

Tea is also the national beverage in Iran, with tea drinkers enjoying mainly green tea and black tea to quench their thirst or as a comfort, respectively. No occasion can take place without tea being served and, in many regions of Iran, light coloured tea is a marker of disrespect from the host to the receiver. Principally, Iranians like it strong.

Perhaps it is the liking for a keen strength to tea that has led the people of Iran to discount the water as a part of the tea. Through the use of a samovar, Iranians heat the water and simply use and see it as a way of extracting the aromas and flavours thickly from the leaves.

Typically, tea is drunk from glassware and this is held by the rim of the glass between the thumb and forefinger with the pinkie used to balance. Often, held in the other hand, is a large pipe connected to a hookah, or qalyoon as it’s locally known; a tall, ornate smoking device that uses hot flavoured tobacco and water. In the absence of alcohol, tea houses, where tea and the qalyoon are served hand-in-hand, act as a social hub where young Iranian people can relax and socialise, much like us westerners would do in our local pub.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is another of the world’s biggest tea-drinking countries, with its tradition once again being rooted in the giving and receiving of tea as an act of welcoming and politeness. Guests are offered tea on arrival into a host’s home and it is considered impolite to refuse the beverage.

Kazakhs are known, much like the Russians and Turks, to use samovars to brew and serve the tea; however, differently to the Russians, the server only fills the kasirs (which are small, wide-mouthed saucers), to around half full. This ensures that the tea is always served hot: no one likes a cold cuppa (unless it’s iced, of course).

The guests to the ceremony are then required to pass their empty kasirs back to the female host as a way if thanking her and showing her respect for that which they have received. She then ‘re-half-fills’ the cups and passes them to her guests once more; a process which continues, creating a graceful, rhythmic and visual ceremony, beauteous to behold.

Britain

In Britain, (one might have known!) our tea traditions involve food. These customs were developed in the early 19th century, first by the upper classes who championed Afternoon Tea as a way of bridging the gap between lunch, at 12 o clock, and dinner at 8 o clock. Tea was served at around 4 o clock in the afternoon along with small sandwiches, scones and cakes. Heaven.

High Tea is different, although sometimes (incorrectly) the terms are used interchangeably.

In industrial Britain, workers home from the factories and mines would require immediate sustenance after a day of physical hard labour, and so a substantial meal would be served to them accompanied by a cup of strong, sweet tea at around 5 o clock. This became known as ‘tea’ (which us northerners still to this day sometimes use), and the ‘high’ aspect is a reference to high backed chairs and higher table the lower classes would sit at to enjoy their tea (whereas the upper classes would be seated in low lounge chairs and have their tea served on smaller, occasional tables.)

Taking time to enjoy tea has always been important in this country regardless of class, right up until the invention of the teabag. When the teabag was born, a dip in quality occurred. Beautiful unfurling leaves slowly releasing layers of flavour no longer existed: a throwaway pouch of powdery black dust, bitter to taste and quick-to-brew lay in its place. We are committed to changing that. Lovers of loose leaf, we are promoting taking time out from your day to enjoy the perfect cup of tea, slowly brewed from high quality leaves. We are bringing back the ‘good old days’.

Culture Deconstructed – Intercultural Communications As an Instrument

It was in the summer of 2014 that I first decided to study and live abroad. I wanted a taste of the outside world and figured that I needed to make the most out of my youth. Fast forward to 2017, I turned my back on my little town in the mountains and turned my idea into reality.

I come from a country where getting burned by the sun is as normal as it gets and riding a minivan without air conditioning and a door is the ideal form of transport. But it’s not all that bad. I realized how great living abroad is. My father once told me how he’d wish he had the opportunity to study abroad as part of his education and that I should make the most out of this opportunity. I’ve come halfway round the world for an internship, but I think the perks go beyond work experience.

I thought living abroad was supposed to be an adventure or a new chapter in life. Not necessarily fun, but more of; getting a new girlfriend or engaging in activities. Instead, I spend half my day saying, «English please?» or «Sprichst du Englisch?» as they say in Germany. I don’t completely murder the German language when I speak it and I do get my way around fairly easily, but I was hungry for more.

But my ineptitude doesn’t mean the end of the world for my life in Germany. For one, living and learning another language has shaped me more than any internship can offer. Of course, doing an internship in a foreign country is good for me and the look on my CV is second to none. Aside from the fact that I get to work in an intercultural environment, living and learning a new language/culture exposes me to the ‘real world’.

It made me realize that there’s a big difference between theory and the real world. I very quickly realized that living abroad is a continuous learning process. Just when you’ve thought that you know it all, there’s more learning to do, and a foreign country is the best teacher. The syllabus? Everything you do.

I always get the feeling that when you learn and understand a language, it’s almost like as if you’re stepping foot in a new world. When you hear two people having a conversation and you think to yourself «what are they saying?» you’re like an alien. Completely foreign, like you’re a different species and you don’t have a clue of what’s happening. But, when you do understand and become fluent, you don’t realize how much knowledge that is.

I do miss the searing sun; the long walks along beaches that won’t freeze you and most importantly, the food. But as an expatriate, I realized there’s more to life than that. In order for me to really get a taste of life, I had to put my money where my mouth was and that was living abroad.

Having a cup of tea with my colleagues is great, but what’s even better is talking to people with different backgrounds. Understanding how life is like in that city here, or that little island over there. Furthermore, learning their perspective on certain issues, as well as learning from them in general. In the real world, I learned that failing is a part of life. The amount of times I stood there, arguing with a cashier, in a language I am not that good at, taught me to learn from my mistakes. Learn how to order food or study the meaning of every single word. There is no finish line.

Living in Germany, I learned that everyone is the same: different.