Monthly Archives: June 2011

Jun 26

The Athletic Stance: Key to success for soccer and youth sports

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Look at the kids in the background

Way back when,  I was about 7 years old and playing in a YMCA flag football game. I was very proud that my dad was there to watch.

I don’t remember how I did or what the score was.

I do remember my dad saying that I stood around with my hands in my pants. Even now, I can still see the living room where he said it.

I was pretty crushed. Especially, since I don’t think the shorts I was wearing had pockets.

However, now I know what he means. I was probably standing around with my legs straight, watching the game.

Like most kids, I never bent my knees, got ready to move and joined in the game.

At all the schools I go to I watch the PE and athletic programs. Typically, 90% of the kids stand around.

They look like they want to get involved, but they don’t have the skills to do so. Even when when the ball comes towards them by time they want to react it’s too late.

This has got to be frustrating and aggravating for them. Not to mention the coaches and parents.

So, teach your child how to stand in an Athletic Stance.

Here are five keys to a good stance:

  1. Head up high
  2. Eyes looking, curious like a cat
  3. Knees bent, legs wider than shoulders width apart.
  4. Elbows bent to help for quick movements
  5. Weight on the balls of the feet

Spend a few minutes of every practice working on a good athletic stance.

And reinforce it during the practice.

At home, have them brush their teeth in an athletic stance. Or do it after putting on their clothes.

A little practice goes a long ways.

This tip is one of many you get in my soccer fitness program. Perfect for parents who want to help their kids be better athletes and better soccer players. Perfect for coaches who want to improve their teams skills.

It’s also great for coaches who are too short of time and want to have the parents help develop kids skills.

Take action today. To help your child with their soccer fitness skills click the link.

Jun 25

Full Body Soccer Fitness Workout That Will Work for Kids

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

High knee drill with a ball

Typically, I don’t like the articles about how to develop fitness on the web. They are too short and make it sound like all you have to do is this series of exercises and you will get sculpted buttocks and arms in four days.

Obviously, that is complete scam material.

But Active.com recently posted a good one here on improving running speed.

Much of it can be done with just body weight exercises which I like. At the end they quote a study which claims that runners who improved core strength dropped 47 seconds in their 5K time which is pretty good.

I’m not surprised and neither should you be. Running well requires a lot of core strength to be effective.

Here is a summary of the exercises…

  • Carioca
  • High Knees
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Leg Scissors on back/side to side
  • Leg Scissors on back/up and down
  • Jump and land in an athletic stance
  • Cossack extension. (Hold on to a pole for balance. Go down into a squat position. Bring one leg forward, then back and switch legs.)
  • V-sits
  • Push-ups
  • Back bridge

The next exercises require a medicine ball, though for young kids it isn’t really necessary. Just going through the rotational movements will have a lot of benefits for them.

  • Rotation with knee lift. Hold medicine ball at the waist. Twist to the right and return. As you return bring the left knee up to the ball. Repeat to the opposite side.
  • Wood Choppers. Hold ball overhead above the right shoulder. Bend down and bring the ball to your left foot. Return. Switch to the other side.
  • Off the wall toss: Toss the ball from the side to a wall. Repeat with both sides.
  • Big circles: Hold ball overhead and circle clockwise and counter clock wise making as big a circle in front of you as possible.

There are no perfect programs or series of exercises. This is one which can be modified for all types of kids and will work for a short time. Even doing it without the medicine ball will be effective.

To learn how to apply this to your teams soccer fitness click the link. Sometimes knowing a little bit can be dangerous. Learn as much as you can!

Jun 25

Soccer Fitness Categories:

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Making changes in the website

I’ve been thinking about soccer fitness a lot.

My blog and website are in the process of changing. I want to make it easier for visitors to find practical advice on developing kids soccer fitness.

Right now, with the blog format it’s a little difficult, don’t you think?

I’m going to add a category in the header call Soccer Fitness. I’ve been thinking about what will be covered in there. So far I’ve got:

  • Strength: Core, Power, Lower body and Upper body
  • Metabolic Pathways: Anaerobic and Aerobic
  • Coordination:
  • Movement: Running, agility
  • Injury Prevention:
  • Best teaching/coaching Methods
  • Mental/Social Skills
  • Warm-ups
  • Skill Development

Are there any areas I’m missing? Or is there another subject that should be covered?

I’m working on a new website which will be www.CoachRonUsher.com. This site will have articles for coaches, parents and teachers with specific fitness issues. My next blog post will go into some detail on how I expect that will look.

However, on this athletic skills for soccer, I want to keep it focused more on the soccer fitness aspect of coaching.

At some point, I’ll be changing the program I’m selling as well. I will probably condense it down quite a bit. So if you are thinking about getting the entire program, you should do it now.

Also, remember if you have questions about how to use the program as a parent or if you’re a coach and you’d like to have all the parents on your team know how to work with their kids to build strength, speed and coordination be sure to recommend the book to them.

Send them to http://www.athleticskillsforsoccer.com to bring out the natural strength and soccer fitness of your team.

Jun 25

How Long Does It Take to Be Great?

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Hard work pays of

All youth coaches need to learn from each other and from other athletes. It doesn’t matter what the age-group is that you’re coaching or what the sport is.

We have a lot to learn from each other.

There’s also a lot we can learn from athletes. Take Jose Bautista, a right fielder playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.

There’s an interesting article chronicling the difficulties he’s had to become the top home run hitter in the major leagues.

There are a lot of points that the article makes about how difficult it can be. Your athletes can be inspired as well as us coaches. Here are some take away bullets…

  • It takes lots and lots of practice to master something. 10,000 hours.
  • When you make changes to a part of your game it can take a year before it becomes automatic.
  • Sometimes all you need is a tweak to what you’re doing to have big benefits.
  • It helps if someone believes and has faith in you.
  • Jose is a student of the game and video. He puts a lot of time in to learn how to hit pitchers.
  • He sets pitchers up by swinging at a bad pitch. This is scary psychological deep…I love it.

Not everyone is going to be this good or ever know if they will be. But it just goes to show what hard work and perseverance can do.

So encourage your athletes to keep trying, to keep learning and to keep having fun.

Being fit and having the fundamental athletic skills is an important part of every successful athlete. Does your kid or team need some help?

Then order my soccer fitness program. It works for soccer as well as any other youth sports program where kids need to develop strength, balance, speed and coordination.

Jun 24

Soccer Fitness: Hand/eye Coordination Drills for Kids

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Kids need more than just touches on the ball

Yup, soccer fitness requires good hand/eye coordination as well as foot/eye coordination. Coaches, teachers and parents make a mistake if they think it’s all about the feet only.

There are three reasons why kids need to work on using their hands for soccer:

  • Developmentally, it’s important for the brain. Our brains learn top to bottom.
  • It will work on core strength and improve their game skills and vision
  • It create better athletes…better athletes make better soccer players.

Here are two sets of progressions that can be done. They can be done as by team for warm-ups or even a break between hard sets.

They are also great for Moms and Dads to do with their kids. They are fun and challenging; two traits that the best soccer drills have.

The first set of progressions is for individuals to do. The second set can be done with a partner.

Using a soccer ball is ideal, though any type of ball can be used.

Individual Drills:

  1. Throw the ball up, let it bounce and catch it on the bounce.
  2. Throw ball up, catch it in the air.
  3. Throw ball up, 360 spin and catch
  4. Throw ball up, run around in a circle and catch
  5. Throw ball up, do a push-up, let ball bounce and catch.

Partner drills

  1. Bounce passes to partner
  2. Bounce pass to the side (for young kids let them know which side its going to). Be able to catch it without moving legs.
  3. Same as above, but soccer players have to take a step to move to the ball. Be sure to use the athletic stance which was covered in the previous post.
  4. Drop ball, let it bounce. Kick it to partner using; instep, laces, and knees.

There are countless more variations you can do. Use your creativity…and that of the kids…to come up with more.

Coaches, do you need better athletes on your team? Like to see them stronger and running faster?

Encourage parents to improve their kids soccer fitness and soccer skills by clicking the link.

Jun 24

Soccer Protegy Makes Good

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

It takes more than talent to be a great player

It was nice to see that Freddie Adu is still working hard and trying to play international caliber soccer.

You can read about it here.

When he came on to the scene he was considered to be the next Michael Jordan.

But like a lot of child prodigies he did not meet expectations.

There’s a lot of reasons for this in general. Specifically, for Freddie I do not know.

Some of the reasons why extremely talented youth stars bust when they get older are…

  • Everyone else catches up with them.
  • They tend to mature early and don’t continue to grow.
  • Parents were the driving force behind their success. When they got older they rebelled.
  • They didn’t develop the mental skills needed to deal with failure, frustration and teamwork; key emotional skills needed at high levels of team sports.

But it looks like Mr. Adu has been putting a lot of time in and not given up on his dream.

I love it.

Because to me, sport is more about Will and Effort and Drive. It is less about the actual winning.

Unless, you’re a team that I’m rooting for…like the USA. Then you better win at all costs.

Kidding.

There are lots of good programs about beginning soccer. But before kids can be good soccer players, they have to be athletes first.

How can you help your child be an athlete and be fit for soccer?

Order my Athletic Skills for Soccer program and learn how to work with your child to bring out the strength, speed, balance and coordination they need for soccer.

For soccer fitness for your child, click the link.

 

 

Jun 24

Soccer Fitness: Should You Push Kids to Failure

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Should you push kids to failure?

If you read the bodybuilding and muscle magazines there’s a lot of talk of “going to failure”. They make it sound macho and that if you don’t push yourself till you can’t do any more than you’re not training hard or right.

This is also reinforced by TV shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover; Weight Loss Edition.

It’s wrong and bad advice.

It’s even worse for kids.

First, what is failure in soccer fitness? It typically means pushing an athlete till they can’t do any more:

  • Push-ups…they drop to the ground.
  • Sit-ups…athletes don’t get their shoulders up.
  • Burpees…just quit.

There are other ways to measure failure. For instance, if they are doing push-ups and their form deteriorates till they look like a piece of spaghetti being held up on the ends by two toothpicks.

Here’s a story…I once observed a NCAA Division I women’s basketball team’s practice. They were doing lines and the coach demanded the girls be under a certain time.

50% of the girls failed to make the time and the coach was furious; screaming at them for not trying.

If you set a time for the team to make and they can’t make it…that’s failure too.

Pushing kids till their form breaks down is fine as long as you stop the exercise or drill and give them time to recover.

Their muscular, neurological and cardiovascular energy systems will benefit during the recovery time. If you keep pushing the kids they will just break down.

This doesn’t improve performance and increases the chances of injury.

So watch your kids performances. If you notice them looking tired and form fading then give them a break. Their bodies need it.

For more soccer fitness and soccer conditioning information order my program. It’s loaded with ton of practical and necessary tips that coaches and parents need for healthy, fit and strong kids. Click the link above.

Jun 23

Zen and Coaching Youth Sports, Part 3

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Zen and the art of youth sports coaching

I love the last four categories. They fit in perfectly with my philosophy as a coach and teacher.

The last four categories of Zen that youth sports coaches (or me, since I don’t like preaching) are:

  • Retreat time;
  • Relationship with a mentor;
  • Support from a group;
  • Commitment to study and practice.

Retreat time is something that we need…and our teams need it. If I was coaching an Olympic caliber or even professional team, I would make sure that they had some goof off and fun time during the practice time. It wouldn’t be daily, like it would be for kids but I would get them to laugh.

When we take time off to laugh and get away from stress, it’s when we grow and improve.

And for myself, I love to take time off. Right now, I’m planning my ski trips in the winter and figuring out a way to get to a tropical beach for the summer…

Relationship with a mentor. I’ve had a few coaches and teachers that greatly influenced me. I could write entire blog posts filled with stories about them and what I learned.

In my Internet business I have hired a mentor to help me take it to the next level and I’m always looking for teachers. One problem I’ve had is finding one where the relationship is as good as the ones I had with my head coaches.

I hope that this forum can be a form of mentor ship for coaches as well. If you have questions or want to discuss something, please feel free to contact me. I have been an adjunct professor for teachers and worked with many young coaches. I find it one of the most rewarding things I do.

Support from a group: If you can form or join a group of coaches to build relationships with and learn it is one of the most powerful things you can do. Mastermind groups will help you as well.

We are social creatures and work best when we’ve formed a tribe. Mentally and even physically, being in a group is rewarding and beneficial.

Committing to study and practice: We expect our athletes to commit and work hard to improve their skills; we need to do the same.

Since you’re here, you are probably searching for some ways to improve your coaching as well. There are many places you can go to learn. Here are some resources that I can put to practical use with my teams, and in other areas of my life as well.

  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Parenting
  • Other sports
  • Biographies

All of these subjects can be applied to your coaching and your life.

So there you have a basic understanding of how zen can be applied to youth sports. I wonder what the next chapter will be…?

 

Jun 23

Limited Practice Time? Let the Parents Help

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Most good soccer teams practice at least 4 days a week…sometimes 6. And elite level athletes will do more. They will do additional workouts for speed and strength.

Not sure what's up with the hat thing she's wearing

They may do them at a gym, they may hire their own trainer.

They definitely go to speed and sports camps to improve their athletic skills.

But if you’re coaching a recreational or younger team, this kind of training isn’t practical. It might not even be appropriate.

You’re probably limited to two days a week with one of the days being a game.

And your team needs more than that.

So, what can you do?

How about enlisting the help of the parents on your team?

My soccer fitness program teaches parents how to work with their kids to develop their child’s athletic skills. They learn safe, fun and effective exercises that will build their child’s (and your team’s)…

  • Strength;
  • Stamina;
  • Coordination;
  • Speed.

By spending as little as a few minutes a day with their kids it will have a big impact on the kids during practice and games.

It will also help them be better soccer parents. They will have better relationship with their kids from working out with them.

Also, when you do soccer drills and skills the kids will be better able to do them. It won’t take as much time explaining or demonstrating.

It’s a win-win for you.

So if you’re a coach who wants your team to improve their fitness, athletic and soccer skills then this program might be the perfect tool for you.

To learn more about how and why parents need to be concerned about soccer fitness, click the link.

Special team discounts and promotions are available. Contact me and we can work something out.

Jun 23

How to Use a Complex for Explosive Soccer Fitness

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Complexes build strong, powerful athletes for soccer

What the heck is a complex, anyway?

No, it’s not some deep mental issue that you got because your girlfriend dumped you at the prom to go out with some nerd with glasses who went on to become a CEO of a billion dollar Internet company (I digress…)

A complex is a series of exercises done quickly together. Usually, it’s groups of two to six exercises. You do them at one time then take a short rest.

Then repeat. Similar to circuit training.

There’s lots of types. This one develops explosive speed. It’s appropriate for kids ten and up. It can be done with younger kids but keep the numbers and sets low.

There are three exercises to this fitness complex. The first works on strength. The second power and the third, speed.

You can use this formula (strength, power, speed) for a whole bunch of muscles and uses. I recommend you experiment to see which ones work best for your team

Exercise 1) Prison squats. Hands behind your head. Stay upright, and drop down till the thighs are parallel with the ground.

Try to stay upright and not lean forward. The legs should be outside the hips and the feet pointed straight ahead.

Do ten of them. The speed is a two second count.

Exercise 2) 8 broad jumps. Jump as far as you can. Land then get set and repeat.

Exercise 3) Twenty yard sprint from the ground. Athletes lie on the ground. On the command they sprint as fast as possible. Do six of them with ten seconds rest.

After the sprints, let the athletes rest for two minutes then repeat. Do the complete complex four times through.

This fitness complex can be done once or twice a week for four weeks then it should be modified to prevent boredom and plateaus.

It will greatly improve your teams cardiovascular fitness, leg power and speed.

Try it and see.

This is an advanced soccer fitness exercise. My program does not have this because it’s for younger and beginner athletes. If that is the group you are coaching or have kids that need beginning athletic skills it’s the program for you.

You can order your soccer fitness program by clicking the link. It downloads instantly on your computer and has great bonuses as well for teaching jumping, athletic stance, running and vision drills.