Our first tournament match


If you’ve been following my blog you already know that my ultimate goal when I decided to volunteer with a local children’s charity was to get these kids healthy and in shape. After spending some time with the kids my goal evolved into training them for a football tournament, and I’m happy to say we are ready to try for the local championship title.

These kids come from tough backgrounds, and most have never had any positive support from their parents. By joining the football team I’m helping to train they are finally getting the positive role models and support they need to succeed in life. That is something I will always be proud of regardless of how we do in the tournament.

We did enter a tournament and the kids just played their first match. While I’m sorry to say that we lost this one, the good news is the tournament is just getting started. There are several more matches to go, and we are not even close to being eliminated. Even though the kids on the team know this they are still disappointed. This is natural and completely expected, I’m disappointed too but certainly not in them. They played their best and that is all I ask for during training.

I am reevaluating some of the techniques I use in training, and I think that it might be time to teach these kids a few more moves. Since most of my team has never played football before and the majority of them weren’t in great physical shape I have been taking it a little easy on them. I think now it is time to change and start training them like they are really in a football tournament. If they want to win the championship they are going to have to work a little harder both on and off the field.

These kids are ready to be pushed a little more and I also hope that it will be a good life lesson for them. I think that if they practice a little harder during training they will be able to win their next match, and this should show them that they can do anything as long as they are willing to work for it. Don’t worry I won’t push them too hard or forget that the kids are most importantly supposed to be having fun. Wish us luck at our next match.

Why I Like to Work with Kids from Broken Up Families

I love working with kids from different backgrounds and walks of life, but if it is a category I really feel like I was doing the right thing for was that of children who come from broken homes. Such a disruptive event in a kid’s life has such a tremendous impact that it is difficult to help these children, regardless of the position you are in as an adult, be it caregiver, psychologist, trainer, teacher and so on. I love how enthusiastic kids are when I am getting them involved in competitive events, but I honestly think that the ones that have something really important to gain from getting involved in a sport are those who had the misfortune of witnessing their parents divorcing.



They find a venue to channel their anger

Kids react in different ways when their parents are getting a divorce. It depends on their age, the way the divorce happened, if they had to face their parents arguing or worse, and on many other factors that psychologists and other specialists always have to take into account when they are counseling these kids. I have met quite a few children from broken homes in my life, and what I noticed in some of them is that they have a lot of unexpressed anger. Giving them an opportunity to vent off their anger helped them become calmer and more in touch with their inner selves. Also, practicing a sport offered them a frame in which they could express themselves while following a clear set of rules, and this really helped them.


It is a way for them to win back their power

Powerlessness is something often experienced by kids with separated or divorced parents. They feel like the situation is completely out of their area of control, and they do not know what to do. Practicing in order to achieve excellence in a sport of their choosing helps them regain this power. When they are on the field with me, training to become better, they take back their power, and they feel much better as a result. I have noticed some of the kids I trained feeling more confident and much more in control, as they continued to practice.


Overcoming shyness is a big thing

ju1While some tend to become violent and often get into fights, others become extremely shy. They are afraid their caregivers will leave them and fear of abandonment is the biggest fear for children. Even those who used to be outgoing and sure of themselves become overly shy, since they are afraid a single wrong move or word will cause the remaining parent to abandon them. I have trained with many kids who were really shy because they were too scared to step out of their cocoon of safety. I taught them how to hit the ball, how to develop a team spirit and talk to the other kids, and how to train and push themselves, and I received the great reward of seeing them opening up and shedding off some of their shyness.


A healthy routine is created

Practicing a sport offers these kids a great option. Sports have rules, training must be followed based on a clear schedule, and kids find it easy to get into this routine. The fact that they know what to expect gives them security and they feel safe. This way, a healthy routine is created and they reap real benefits from practicing a sport. That is why I love working with these kids, because seeing them becoming more confident in their own powers, smiling and feeling better is a true reward that nothing else can replace.

Joining a championship

Since I was eager to take the kids’ training to a whole new level, I decided to ask them whether or not they were willing to participate in a youth soccer tournament. Given that most of these children were very competitive, I have to say that I wasn’t really surprised with the answers that I got. Almost all of them wanted to join in and have their say on the matter. I explained to them that competing in a tournament takes a lots of commitment given that they would spend many hours on end practicing. On the one hand, I had to make sure that their parents agreed with my proposal. That’s why I asked them as well, and most of the answers I got were favorable.


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While the tournament is still several months away, I’ve already started training with the kids and I’m happy to say that I’ve already started seeing some of the results. Some of them have begun getting the physique they should have for their age whereas others are able to run faster and for a longer time without getting tired. For now, I haven’t invested a lot of time in explaining various strategies that I have already concocted for the tournament. I’m mostly focused on making them realize how important it is for them to have the best physique and be in the best possible shape.


justice 8I’ve noticed that the same interval training works with kids just as it did for me, when I wanted to lose the weight that I had put on over the years, while I was employed. Now that I’m feeling less stressed about my job and have plenty of spare time, I can finally tend to my goals and even achieve them, gradually. I start out with several simple exercises that should be done while standing up. Believe it or not, I found that Zumba was one of the most efficient types of training that I could take advantage of with the kids. Since not all boys like to dance around, I don’t exaggerate, and therefore, we train for just a quarter of an hour or so. Since I also want them to build a bit of muscle, I help them perform several simple exercises such as fifty to eighty crunches, abs, stretches, and of course running. Some are in better shape than others, but the main point in this case is to focus on the goal. Whether they win some soccer games or not, the bottom line is that they are winners because they were able to join the tournament and do the best they can. In the future, I’ll document as much as our training as possible.

How to make any kid happy

Teaching kids the right way to play football is something that can overpower most men. It is one teaching a kid an individual sport and a totally different matter to teach them a team sport. Kids have strong personalities, even though you may be inclined to believe that they are easy to steer into a certain direction once they’re on the field, they can put you through various “torture” sessions until they learn how to perform as a whole. If you have ever tried training boys ranging from 9 to 12 years, you know what I mean. It is a lot to take into and conflicts arise daily due to minor disagreements on the field or outside it. Luckily, my lawyer experience helps a bit with settling conflicts even in kids’ world.

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So, after a couple of weeks of constantly acting like a conflict mediator and many failed attempts to make them play like a team, I’ve decided I needed a collective action that would make all of them happy at the same time.  Though most kids in the team have good soccer equipment, I noticed that some of them don’t or have poor quality shoes, which means they might as well play barefoot like the Indians in 1948. So, knowing their size and with a clear idea of what kind of cleats they’d like, I’ve decided to buy the whole team new soccer gear or at least the basics: cleats, shin guards ( here is an useful article), shorts and shirts. It wasn’t an easy deal, but I managed to find it at an affordable price and good quality. It was a general joy when they saw them, the cleats on their favorite nuance, shirts that fit them well and were made with quality materials.

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I gave them their new football gear right before our practice that day. They didn’t wear them right away, but we finally had a good practice session. I still have to change some of the cleats because they didn’t fit 2 of the boys well, but, apart from that, everything went smoothly, even better than I expected.

I hope that from now on I’ll find other ways of bringing the boys together. For now, I’m planning to take them on a trip, so that they can connect and learn how to spend some time together outside the football field. I’ll let you know if the trip was a success.

For some awesome advice for coaching kids soccer, you can check out this site or this one.