Over the next week the Play Better team will be celebrating and sharing stories from teams who have already accomplished so much playing better this season.
Furthermore, we want to personally thank all the teams playing better across our nation!
Team # 1 – North Vancouver U-12 Flames
The U12 Flames are playing better soccer in support of two charities this year: the SPCA and leukemia research and it is their coaches belief that their boys will get better at soccer while supporting the community with the Play Better program.
I first met Adam LaRusic during our North Vancouver Coaching clinic back in the summer. Adam, a colourful individual, immediately took a keen interest in the Play Better program and we quickly formed a fantastic relationship. From day one Adam understood that he could takes his own personal coaching philosophies and attach them to their teams causes. Below are a few fine examples of how Adam has rewarded his team this season:
Personally I really enjoy seeing the Flames being rewarded for demonstrating their ‘Moves of the Week’ in games.
We would like the give notice to team Flames thus far as one of the stand out teams in our program. The Flames have already earned $360 towards their local SPCA and leukemia research.
Well done Flames !
Team #2 – The North Shore Girls U-8 Sea Otters
When the Sea Otters, a special group of seven and eight year olds, were ask what cause was important to them they proudly proclaimed, “alone people.” Which in the mind of I child equates to homelessness. As a result, the Sea Otters are now playing better soccer to support child poverty in their community.
So how does a U-8 girls team earn rewards?
If anyone has been a coach before they will recognize that at this age kids are still trying to come to terms with the fact that there are other players with the same colour jerseys on the pitch. Therefore, passing metric are difficult to track. This is why the move of the week, and reward metrics for kicking the ball with the right part of your foot are so valuable at this age group.
The Sea Otters have earned over $250 primarily demonstrating the move of the week in games. On a typical Sunday you will see the members of the Sea Otters literally doing ‘step overs’ and ‘dragon tails’ during games and if I was a betting man they would be the only U-8 girls team doing step overs in games in our country.
For that we thank you 🙂 Scoring goals is not important at this age. Conversely, practicing the proper technique and having the fearlessness to try fun moves in games will result in long term player development.
Well done Sea otters
Team # 3 – Nova Scotia, Hantsport, U-8 Girls Pumas
The Hantsport Puma’s were one of the very first teams from the east coast to join the Play Better Program. Brad Webster, coach of the Puma’s, understands the difficulties when coaching at this age level.
“They get the ball, they put their head down and they just dribble for the other net and try to score a goal,” Braid explains.
This is precisely why the Play Better Program intrigued Brad. He wanted to show his team that there was more to the game than scoring goals. Brad also strongly believes in the power of sport and how building better people is more important the simply winning a game.
The Puma’s focused on making 25 passes per game in their first season and have so far raised over $100 playing better.
Well done to our east coast friends 🙂
The Sidewinders are another North Shore team that we wanted to give a shout out too. I first met Rob, the Sidewinders coach, during one of our coaching clinics. Since then we have linked up over coffee and at our coaches’ boot rooms to discuss all things soccer and Play Better related.
One thing I particularly like about the Sidewinders is how they rewarded their kids for proper developmental play during practices. Rob like many coaches, has struggled to bed in a team culture. As a result, getting parents to take stats during games has been challenging. So Rob now rewards his kids at both practice and during games.
Happy holidays to the Sidewinders for playing the beautiful game the right way !
The Kelowna Pirates are the quintessential Play Better team. Over the last soccer season, the Kelowna Pirates, a boys team in the Under 11 team, raised close to $400 for two BC charities.
In the fall, they earned $212 for the BC Childrens Hospital Foundation in honour of a local girl by the name of Myranda fighting the same cancer that afflicted Terry Fox.
What I truly love about the Pirates was that they picked a cause close to their hearts. The Play Better program is more powerful when the team is truly driven by the cause, and in the case of the Pirates this was very clear.
Robert Kleemaier is the head coach of the Pirates, who I have had countless conversions with throughout their season. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Robert during our Okanagan Coaches’ Boot Room and I’m proud to say he is now considered a good friend. This is another benefit of the Play Better program. We are organically forming a family across Canada that is becoming quite special indeed.
With that said, Robert understands how the Play Better program can empower a coach. During the Pirates first season, Robert layered Play Better metrics in many creative and ground breaking ways. When a coach, such as Robert, takes his own coaching philosophies and layers them with Play Better metrics, well that’s exactly what we are looking for.
For example: getting touch tight when defending, counting the number of times their team plays the ball around the back, coined “around the horn,” the move of the day, or “MotD.” These were all developmental metrics that were introduced for the first time ever in the Play Better programs short history.
The Play Better team wants to give a big thumbs up to the Kelowna Pirates and Robert for an amazing job this season.
Well done lads,