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"No lines, No laps, No Lectures" - Karl Dewazien

 Koach Karl's Suggested Reading

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Author:adminCreated:5/28/2007
Fundamental Soccer Coaching-Koach Karl Dewazien is a United States Soccer Federation “A” Licensed coach. He has dedicated his life to teaching coaches the most efficient way to teach our children. His techniques are both simple and effective and they get results.

At Moscone Center in San Francisco this week, 4,500 people are attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service to talk about ways that people dedicated to serving their communities can change lives. I am living proof. One changed my life. She's the reason I'm at UC Berkeley. She's not a tutor or a teacher or a legal advocate. She's a soccer coach.

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Exposure to potential injury is part and parcel of any strenuous physical activity and football is no different. All physical activities stress the body’s structure and tissues.  Although football is not primarily a contact sport, collisions do happen as players compete for control of the ball – collisions which can result in serious injury. Besides collisions, players are also susceptible to muscle strains and limb injuries as their body must sustain a lot of physical activity during matches and training. According to stats collected by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than 500,000 soccer-related injuries are treated by health care professionals each year. Injuries are most common in the 7 to 14 year-old age group as players are more susceptible to injury while they are still growing.

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I’ve been coaching for about 7 years now and over that time, I’ve changed my perspective on the whole youth sports idea. In the beginning, I was very competitive and was much more “vocal” with the refs. What I’ve come to conclude though is that for most of the kids playing out there (pre high school) this will be their sports experience. Few will play on varsity teams, fewer in college, very very few will get a scholarship and a miniscule amount will play professionally. If that’s the case, shouldn’t we concentrate on making this very limited experience a great one? I’m not going to say that it’s not about winning, because even my five year olds can count goals and know if they won or lost. The realization is, that they forget about it pretty quickly. Its the parents that remember records and keep track of goals.

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Five sentences. That's all I heard. That's all I needed. The girl hadn't even made it to the actual field, and she was done. Her head was still down, as was her posture. She no doubt was having some anxiety. And worse of all, she knew she didn't have the support of her father. The one person who was supposed to be on her side at that tryout ... the one person who was supposed to be her biggest fan ... was her biggest critic. I almost said something. Oh, man, it was on the tip of my tongue.

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Here's the thing about Life, it keeps coming at you with the same things. Every soccer game I go to, it’s the same old thing. For a long time I wondered how much of my life was going to be wasted sitting in a bleachers chasing my kids around, hollering at refs, and getting so worked up I could hardly sleep. But then one day it dawned on me. It’s just like anything else we spend our time doing: it’s a part of this great big test we’re all taking. Someone up there loves us enough to give us innumerable chances to figure things out and finally find the right answers. He wants us to pass, and so he gives us a world full of wonderful metaphors. He gives us mountains to teach us strength, oceans to teach us love, dogs to teach us loyalty and children to teach us humility. He gives us jobs to teach us responsibility, flowers to teach us that He wants us to smile, and teenagers to teach us not to take ourselves so seriously. He gives us money and hair to teach us that some things are both good and bad, rain to teach us that some things we don’t like are good for us, and for those of us who are really thick-headed, he gives us soccer to teach us about ourselves. The trick is to stop worrying who wins, and start watching the game.

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I'm a big believer that most coaches and parents involved in youth sports get it.  That, then, leaves a handful of coaches and parents who don't get it. Whether it's a coach who has to put on some sort of sideshow, or the parent who can't go a game without hollering at an official, or the parent who can't go a game with outward complaining on the sidelines ... it's nonsense.

There is a way to deal with this nonsense, although it isn't easy. The people who get it - the coaches and parents who make youth sports such a great experience for kids, filled with fond lifelong memories - have to show courage toward the people who don't get it.

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"(We need to help) coaches understand what is age appropriate when teaching a particular sport to kids," he said. "What should an 8-year-old basketball player be taught as compared to a 12-year-old? What can the kids handle?" Regardless of age, every kid can handle fun.

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Amid the thuds and slaps of a dozen soccer balls and the happy shrieks of 100 running, kicking, laughing children, one sound was absent at a recent soccer practice of the Burke Athletic Club in southwest Fairfax County: grown-ups. It's not that the children were unsupervised. But this was Soccer Festival Wednesday, a weekly gathering when coaches put down their whistles, parents rest their vocal cords and children play not for points, not for victory -- but purely for fun.

 

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The news of parents losing control at youth sporting events seems to never end. In Bethesda, Md., officials of a soccer league have banished all the parents from one team from the sidelines of the first two games. The reason? Some parents apparently harassed a referee over a call at a match between 13-year-old girls last season. The parents have to watch – some with binoculars — from no closer than 100 yards away.

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The glamour, prestige and friendships that come from being in team sports bring a valued avenue of accomplishment and acceptance for children. Our sports culture is robbing sports of many ways to have wholesome fun. What is wrong?  An overemphasis on winning!
  

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The trouble began when a parent from the Springfield Youth Club's Xplosion working as an assistant referee raised a flag in the air and called an offside violation on a Bethesda player, according to the minutes of the disciplinary hearing. After the game, a Bethesda parent approached the referee and accused him of making the wrong call, the report says. The parent "started to raise his voice," according to the report. More sniping occurred, and "the tone and behavior of the parents was aggressive." Then another Bethesda parent allegedly yelled at the referee's daughter, "Your father should be fired!"
The league's disciplinary committee ruled that the Bethesda parents had violated the league's code of conduct -- which asks parents to refrain from questioning referees' calls -- through "egregious" behavior that "has no place in youth sports." They ruled that the parents could not be on the sidelines for the first two games of this season.

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The presence of your coaching philosophy eliminates any surprises throughout the season. Explaining your soccer philosophy to the parents before the season commences eliminates any unnecessary headaches and provides answers to most questions that might arise during the season.

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When coaching young players the problem most new coach’s face is finding the best way to organize training sessions. How to incorporate and organize conditioning and the technical aspects of the game. Sound familiar?  Coaching youth soccer has a fine line which over the years has slowly faded and nearly disappeared. Does anyone know what this line is?  The line if drawn on the field would separate the coaching aspect of training and the other side would represent the education of the player. If you only take one lesson from this post it’s this: 

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