Entries in General (119)
The youngest of my four children, my daughter, plays competitive soccer for a team that is ranked among the top 15U club teams in the nation. Recently, they played in a national tournament at Nike Headquarters in Oregon, the winner of which won an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden to play in a tournament there. We lost in the championship game by one goal. She loves being on this team, but sometimes, like in that championship game of the Oregon tournament, the pressure is immense.
The first few years on this team she was a forward and goal-scorer. Recently, she's been playing more defense. And while she prefers offense for the obvious glory reasons, she's also a great team player and is happy to help the team in any role they need her to play. However, on defense there's even more pressure. The forwards and midfielders can make a mistake, lose the ball, and know that the opponent still has a long way to go the other way to become a threat. Plus, the defenders are there as a back up. This allows the players up top to play much more freely, be more daring and aggressive. When you're on defense, you tend to get none of the glory, but you can get much of the blame if things go wrong. Lose the ball down in front of your goal and it can quickly lead to a score by the other team. And it is abundantly clear whose fault it is.
My daughter has always been a starter and a leader in minutes played. This season the team brought on the most girls they've carried on the roster, (20) and the competition for playing time has become the fiercest ever. There isn't one girl who cannot be easily replaced with a competent sub, and while that makes for a phenomenally tough unit, there's also the thought in the back of everyone's mind that one mistake and they may be coming out. Now, each game new girls are starting in various positions. It is not as clear as in seasons past who is at the top of the team's depth chart and who is at the bottom – and it sometimes seems to change from week to week.
All of this pressure and uncertainty seemed to catch up with my daughter a few weeks back. She had a tournament where she didn't play her best, appeared to lack confidence and was tentative. It looked apparent that she was not playing to win but instead was playing not to lose – not to make a mistake. The coach even commented on it.
John Ellsworth is a sports psychology expert and founder of ProtexSports LLC. He and I have been colleagues for some time through articles he's written for our CoachDeck newsletter. I asked him if he'd be willing to have a phone conversation with Madeline to see if he could help get her out of her funk.
John graciously and eagerly accepted. He set up a phone call with her and I listened in. The content of the discussion was substantive and right on track. As impressive was his delivery. Not once did he come across as patronizing or condescending. He has a true knack for talking to young people. He got my ordinarily shy and quiet daughter to open up without feeling pressured or badgered, just based on the conversational questions he asked. He didn't so much talk to her, but guided her and listened. He provided her with tangible tools to work with, such as explaining that if she improves her skills in practice that she'll be more self-assured in games. Since then, in addition to her regular team practices, I don't know if there's been a free day she hasn't practiced on her own.
She already knew that playing tentatively and in fear wasn't the correct approach. But John taught her to understand that if she's thinking to herself, “Don't let something bad happen,” such as letting a ball get by, it is more likely too happen. Instead, he advised, think a positive thought in the moment. I asked her, after her next game if she'd done that and she had. Now when a ball was in the air coming towards her, she'd tell herself, “I'm going to win this ball.” The big takeaway was that negative thoughts bring negative results and positive thoughts bring positive results.
The improvement in her play was remarkable. She played a freer style, like the old days, with much more aggressiveness and tenacity. It didn't seem like she lacked of confidence for one minute. And this was after one, forty-five minute phone conversation.
Most athletic children, from time-to-time go through crises in their confidence that we, as parents or coaches, can't always solve. It is nice to know that there is someplace to turn to give them the tools to get back up on their feet and get enjoyment out of the games they love. If your athlete is struggling, a conversation with John Ellsworth of ProtexSports may be just what the doctor ordered.
One of the biggest thrills I've had as a baseball player's dad was when my son played in an out-of-state collegiate league and all of his games were broadcast over the Internet. Not only was there usually a radio play-by-play, but also a real-time animated game cast that allowed me to follow the action a thousand miles away.
One of my biggest regrets is the games over the years I've missed. Working, late in the afternoon, in front of a computer, knowing my Little League-age baseball sons or soccer daughter were competing on the field and I had no idea what was going on. When texting became ubiquitous, only some of this frustration dissipated, because getting updates from my wife who was trying to watch the game, or from other parents was hit and miss at best. It's great getting a phone call from Junior when the game is over giving a full account of the game he just had. But it sure would be nice to be in the loop while it was happening.
If you're hoping to catch a pro or college game and you have a computer, you're pretty much in luck. But what about those thousands of games going on every day at lower levels? More folks watch and are interested in high school and youth sports, yet there's no way for them to know what's really going on unless they're lucky enough to be in attendance.
But ScoreStream is out to change all of that. They offer a free, fun and simple app that allows users to quickly share information about sporting events so that grandma and grandpa, or dad at work, can know every detail as it's happening. Bored on a Friday night and curious how your old high school's football team is doing? Eventually you'll be able to search your school and get updates in real time. Its kind of like the ESPN for the little guy.
Currently available for iPhone and soon for Android, this is an idea whose time has come. I'm still going to want to get that call after the game with the highlights. But this is one of those times it will be nice to already know the story ahead-of-time.
We've reviewed athletic shirts made from bamboo. So, staying in a tropical theme, it only seems natural that we'd try out a pair of socks make from coconuts. We received a couple pair of New Balance NBX to try, and if and socks could be described as “perfect” these are it. They fit like a glove, er, for your feet, and keep your toes cool if it is warm, and warm when it's cold.
Part of the secret is Cocona – a natural technology derived from coconut shells that provides exceptional evaporative cooling, odor resistance and UV protection. By weaving activated carbon from coconut shells into the threads, Cocona outperforms other fabrics and yarns. Fabrics made from Cocona yarns and fibers are lightweight, comfortable, and retain all of the conventional product features such as stretch and washability. Through the process of washing and drying Conona garments, the activated carbon is rejuvenated.
Cocona or not, we loved them. Some athletic socks are too loose. They're constantly moving around on the foot, which is simply uncomfortable when sitting at home, but can also cause blisters during activity. Other fitted socks might stay locked in place, but they're too constrictive. Take them off after a full day of wear and you've go creases on the ankle from their grip. Not the NBX. These are made to provide cushioning in only key areas of the foot for essential shock absorption, but feel like you're wearing nothing at all.
Its surprising the Professor from Gilligan's Island didn't figure out this whole coconut sock thing. But we're glad New Balance did.
Source: New Balance
All great athletes understand that there are people behind the scenes who are responsible for their success. Coaches, trainers, family all provide support and comfort so that the biggest stars can shine on the greatest stage.
adidas Sport Performance Underwear stays true to its athletic heritage, with best-in-class technical performance and durability, featuring lightweight, ultra-soft fabric for superior moisture management and optimal ventilation and breathability.
Odor resistant technology reduces odor-causing bacteria and keeps athletes clean and fresh. They'll be cool and comfortable while performing at your peak in even the hottest conditions. The fabric has specially-designed ventilation channels allowing cool air to ﬂow in and out. The result is a dry, cool performance-enhanced body.
They sent us a few pairs to try and they are not only comfortable the minute you put them on, but they stay that way through the most grueling of workouts. Just like that network of individuals behind every great player, you might not see the adidas briefs, but they're there offering support and comfort.
Looking to build or upgrade a school or park playground? Are you revamping your athletic fields? For over 60 years L.A. Steelcraft has been a major manufacturer of quality equipment for sports, playgrounds, schools and industry, servicing the entire nation.
What do they do? Well, what do you need? They provide tables and benches, equipment for physical fitness, traditional and arch style baseball backstops, basketball uprights, backboards and goal rims, tennis, volleyball and badminton court posts and nets, portable field bleachers, bike racks, flagpoles and site amenities – among many other things. And all of their products are made with the highest standards for safety.
It's time to take that old facility and create something new and better. For big company results with small company care, L.A. Steelcraft is your one-stop shop for all things park and recreation.
Source: L.A. Steelcraft