Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oct 20

Is Youth Soccer Right for Every Child?

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Soccer attracts millions of kids each year. There are thousands of teams across the country and they are always getting new players.

And parents (is that you?) are looking for a great sport that can help their child develop self confidence, fitness and friends. Soccer fits that bill so they sign-up.

But not every kid is cut out for soccer. Some programs will be too competitive. And even the programs that have recreational or beginning levels might not be the right.

Here are my five reasons why youth soccer may not be the best sport for your child.

1. Your child is very tall for their age. These kids are going to typically be slow and maybe have some coordination issues. Success in soccer is a matter of speed, agility and eye/foot coordination. There is little benefit in being taller than everyone else.

2. Your child is overweight. This is a dilemma. You want your child to get more exercise so you put them in soccer. The problem is the weight will keep them from being successful on the soccer pitch. Also, the weight might make exercise and running painful to your child. And be aware that overweight children are more prone to injury.

3. Your child prefers individual sports more than team sports. There are three types of youth sports; team, individual and performance. Each type draws a different type of personality. Soccer requires teamwork, getting along and making group sacrifices. If this isn’t your child, then soccer probably isn’t going to work out.

4. You really want them to play…but they want to do something else. Forcing your child to do soccer if they don’t want to will cause problems down the road. If they don’t want to play soccer then give them a few choices. (Nothing is not a choice!)

5. Your child is uncoordinated and needs to be fitter and stronger. There are a lot of kids who fit into this category. Fortunately, as a parent there is a lot you can do to help them improve their athletic skills.

Spend time with them play soccer and kicking a ball around. Make fitness part of the families daily and weekly life. Do a variety of sports and activities to develop all their entire athletic skills.

There are many opportunities for kids to be fit, exercise, play sports and have fun. Youth soccer is a great sport and perfect for many children. However, be aware that not every child is going to be successful or even enjoy it.

About the author: Coach Ron Usher helps parents, coaches and kids improve their athletic skills. Does your child need to improve their strength, speed or coordination for soccer or other youth sports? Then go to to find out what simple things you can do to develop their natural athletic talent.

Oct 13

A Tip to Keeping Youth Sports Fun

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

My Frosh-Soph high school water polo team has been having a hard couple of weeks…

First, they got beat pretty badly over the weekend at a tournament.

Then they had a few bad days of practice. Actually, some good…but a lot of ugly.

Then on Wednesday, a close game where they lost by one point…and a blow out game on Thursday. Needless to say, they are looking a little down.

So what am I doing to keep them motivated and working as a team?

I figure a pizza party after practice on Friday. I gave them an assignment that they had to do (rating themselves and the team on various skills). If they all did it, pizza for the team.

The assignment had a three fold purpose:

  • Get them thinking about sports outside of just the practice.
  • Work together as a team to accomplish something.
  • Give them a chance to celebrate and bond together.

Well, they all got together and made sure they did the assignment. So it’s pizza party on Friday.

Working together as a team takes a lot of discipline, dedication and desire. That can stress anyone out…especially kids.

By taking a break, backing off, and just letting them be kids they can come back refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to work.

What can you do to help your team or your child renew their love for the team?

Do you agree? Do you have any other ideas for youth sports teams? Let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Coach Ron Usher teaches parents, coaches and kids how to be an athlete. Kids should be athletes for their entire life…whatever their skill level or sport.

To learn how you can help your team or child be an athlete and have fun, go to:

Oct 11

Help for the Beginning Youth Soccer Player

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Is your child starting to play soccer?

There are a lot of kids who try out every year. And most have fun for at least a few years.

  • Then the competitiveness of the sport (all youth sports for that matter) takes over.
  • They find it’s less and less fun.
  • They stop improving
  • They get less playing time.
  • Their best friends move to more competitive leagues.

Soccer does a great job of providing opportunities for kids at all levels. Where it falls down is making sure that those kids have the skills needed to keep playing, have fun and be successful.

Most kids today do not have the strength, stamina and skills needed to be successful on the soccer pitch. And just playing soccer a few times a week will not give them those skills. Those skills come from a strong athletic foundation and practice.

As a parent there is a lot you can do. Here are eight tips that will insure your child has fun and is successful.

And two more even more important benefits; you will bond closer to your child…and the fitness they gain will last them a lifetime.

Give them plenty of opportunities to move and run every day of the week.

Practice kicking a ball outside with them. A few minutes a day goes a long way.

Have the team come over or meet at a park for fun. They can play soccer…or other games and sports. Low key and no parental supervision.

Limit TV and video games to no more than one hour a day. (Tough but so important.) During breaks have them do exercises such as squats, push-ups, burpees, etc.

Start a family fitness program. Everyone works out at the same time.

Keep the exercising fun. Use frequent breaks and short rests. Play music and have silly challenges.

So follow these tips and keep your child active. To learn more exercises and details of setting up a program for and with your child, go to

Coach Ron Usher shows parents, teachers and coaches how to make sports fun and a way of life…for life.



Oct 07

How to make kids soccer games for soccer fitness

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Kids love games. We all love games. Games are play and we are built to love to play.

For some, working out and doing soccer drills is play. This type of child person has learned to associate play with work.

But most kids have not learned this yet. And if you as a parent or coach try to push them into too structured a routine, they will rebel. They might not do it at seven or eight…but they will by time they are fifteen.

The nice thing is there are lots of ways to make anything fun, game and play like.

Here are some rules to follow:

1. Keep it simple. Anything that has too many rules and too much instruction doesn’t work. It’s boring and wastes time.

2. Keep it short. Spend ten to fifteen minutes maximum on the game.

3. Mix it up. Three reasons why you want to mix the games up. First, it prevents boredom. Second, you will develop more overall athletic skills. And finally, kids learn better with mixed practice and repetition.

4. Give it a goofy name. It’s funny how just rephrasing something can make a huge difference in kids attitudes.

Here’s a true story…When I was a swim coach in my early twenties I used to do water push-ups as punishment. A water push-up is a dip done on the end of the pool. The kids hated them; they are hard and it gets cold staying out of the water.

Ten years down the road (older and wiser), I had a group of kids that needed to build strength. So rather than “punish” them with water push-ups, we did KERPLUNKS!

They would line up at the edge of the pool and lift themselves up. They stayed up until I yelled “Kerplunk” and then they would all drop down and sink to the bottom of the pool.

The kids loved it and always wanted to do more.

How could you do this in soccer? Try this instead of doing wind sprints…try SLIDERS.

A Slider is a sprint, but at the end of the run you slide on your stomach, back, side or knees as far and as whacky as possible.

The kids will love making up different ways to slide. They will also get the added benefit of learning to slide tackle and the strength developed from having to get up again.

Using this one idea, be creative and find more ways to make exercise, fitness and soccer more fun.

Your kids and team will improve faster and to greater heights. And best of all the only complaints and whining you’ll hear will be to do more of them!

Coach Ron Usher works with parents, coaches and kids to develop fitness and athletic skills. To discover how you can give your child the fundamental skills for soccer or other sports go to

Oct 06

How to improve soccer fitness at home for U8 soccer players

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

To be a good youth soccer player requires more than just ball skills. Youth soccer players need fitness as well. Soccer fitness comes in many different forms; strength, balance, speed, and endurance to name a few.

Yes, there are more categories as well. I would include mental fitness, coordination, agility, and flexibility as well.

Because there are so many types of fitness that boys and girls need, they have to be exposed to as much movement as possible. With kids spending a lot of time sitting at home or at school, they don’t really get enough time to move to fully develop their fitness and athletic skills.

As a parent there are lots of ways to address this. Here are some ideas…

1. Have the team over for soccer parties.

2. Provide lots of different sport and game opportunities and equipment at home.The more they play, the better athlete they will be.

3. Nerf tennis, football, and soccer can be played indoors and is a lot of fun.

4. Play does not have to take up a lot of time. Even ten to twenty minutes in a quick game will help develop the soccer and athletic fitness your child needs.

Typical wall ball

Recently, my six year old has been obsessed with Wall Ball. I think it’s because he wants to get better against his friends at school. So we found a covered brick wall (underneath football bleachers) that is perfect.

He gets lots and lots of practice tracking the ball, moving quickly, stopping/starting, and just having fun. The basic athletic skills for Wall Ball are the same for soccer.

By letting him play a different game than soccer or directly practicing his soccer skills, he is still working on being a better athlete.

When I see him sweating and tired after 30 minute game, I know I’ve done my part.

And the fact that he sleeps better after exercising is another added bonus.

And I get enough of a workout that it’s good exercise for me too. Plus, it’s fun enough to keep me challenged.

There are lots of ways to bring in fitness for soccer in your families lifestyle. And the more ways you do it, the more time you spend moving and exercising the better off your child will be…

…in soccer, at school, and in their health.

For more ways to bring fitness and exercise into your child’s and families life, click the link.