Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

Young athletes barely out of elementary school committing to college teams

By: Jim Morelli

Soccer players about to enter middle school might suddenly find themselves the objects of surprising attention — from college coaches.

“In women’s soccer right now in Division One, there are 333 teams,” said Alison Foley, former coach of the Boston College women’s soccer team. “Everybody’s out there. All the college coaches are out there every weekend… recruiting.”

Foley, who coached the Eagles for more than 20 years, says new NCAA recruiting rules for Division 1 and 2 schools restricting back-and-forth communication between players and collegiate coaches until after 10th grade will probably curb some of the middle school recruiting. But she doesn’t see it going away.

“In general do I think it’s a good practice? I don’t,” Foley said. “I just think there are so many more things to think about that you don’t know to think about or consider such a big decision in 7th and 8th grade.”

But Foley, who now works with a Boston-area club soccer team, says recruiting young adolescents sometimes makes sense. She recently found an 8th grader who was a good fit for Boston College and that player verbally committed to that school.

COMMITTING TOO SOON? 

Unfortunately, some verbal commitments made by young student-athletes come with a dangerous assumption, says Kim Penney, owner of One on One College Consulting of Wakefield, Massachusetts “It does not mean that the student-athlete is accepted to the school. It is actually just a handshake.”

Penney warns that if there’s a coaching change at the college or if the student’s grades aren’t good enough for the admissions office, that verbal commitment might not mean much in the end. “To have that sport… the ball so to speak… move that process.. in my opinion is the biggest mistake ever,” she said.

She suggests first finding a school that is an academic and social fit — so that if the sport part of it doesn’t work out, the student won’t be somewhere they don’t want to be.

And keep in mind, Penney said, once you announce a verbal commitment to a school — other coaches will usually respect that — which could prematurely cut off other options. “You are off the market… essentially,” Penney said.

That’s why Penney advises not committing to college until junior year of high school. And to maximize your athletic options — crack the books. “Do the very, very best you can academically,” she said. “The better you do academically the more offers you will have athletically.”

THE ROLE OF COSTLY CLUB TEAMS 

Along with good grades, one other thing is becoming increasingly important for athletic recruitment: playing on a club team. “I don’t remember the last time… it was probably 20 years ago that I got a player who only played high school and wasn’t involved in a club,” said Foley.

For some players, club teams are cost prohibitive. “You’re looking at, per season, usually around three thousand dollars,” Foley said. But that’s just the beginning of the expenses. Club team games often involve travel with sometimes overnight accommodations required. And then there are the tournaments.

“So there are normally three or four tournaments a year,” Foley said. “One may be local. The others might be in Florida, which is very common. Or California.”

Some parents feel the money is well spent. Often attending those tournaments, as well as events known as ‘showcases,’ are collegiate coaches looking for future talent.

Foley helped organize one such event earlier this month at Brandeis University. Some fifty college soccer coaches evaluated more than two hundred girls in grades 7-10.

Fifteen-year-old Grazzie Bhatia and her Mom, Michelle, came to the event all the way from Singapore.

“This is a great opportunity to meet some coaches and some other players and get a feel for what it might be to be a college player,” said Michelle Bhatia.

Tina Datta and daughter Sarah also traveled from Singapore. “This gives a wide opportunity for a multitude of coaches to take a look at your child, Datta said. “We’ve been talking to a number of Division 3 schools that have expressed a lot of interest in Sarah.”

Ryan O’Neill of West Bridgewater watched as his daughter Shea, an 8th grader, played a scrimmage with mostly older girls. “It could pay off,” he said — but added that it’s ultimately up to her. “If she wants to throw the towel in, call it a career at the high school level or advance to the collegiate level. You know it’s a big commitment.”

That’s the part about playing college sports some overlook, said Kim Penney, who played basketball at Tufts University, a Division 3 school. “If you can play a sport in college it’s wonderful,” she said. “You have an instant family… you have camaraderie… you have friends you go through a lot with.”

But, she adds, you also may have restrictions on your life if you’re playing on an athletic scholarship for a Division 1 or 2 school (Division 3 schools do not grant athletic scholarships). Certain majors are off limits because team travel will interfere with classes, she said. You might have to attend summer school for the same reason. And sleeping-in might not be an option if there are early morning practices.

One reason Penney chose to play at Tufts was because she wanted the option to study abroad — which would not have been possible playing for a Division 1 or 2 school.

She said always remember… you are in control of your destiny.

“Even if you’re great… you can play at the highest level… do you want that?” Penney said. “Sports is wonderful. But what else do you want? “

View the footage here.

Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

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We Need To Change Our Current Youth Sports Culture TedTalk

Dr. Heather Bergeson, Pediatrician, Hockey Mom, and Sports Medicine Physician talks about the dangers of our current youth sports culture.

Our current youth sports culture is putting the emotional and physical health of our children in danger. How did we get here? Why does the culture persist? What can we do to transform youth sports into the positive, inspiring, character-building experience it can be? Heather Bergeson is a Sports Medicine Physician and Pediatrician at TRIA Orthopedic Center, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Minnesota, and Team Physician for the Gopher Women’s Hockey Team. As a Positive Coaching Alliance – Minnesota Chapter Board Member and an Edina Hockey mom to two kids who also enjoy playing multiple sports, she is passionate about the benefits of youth sports, but also concerned and alarmed by the current trends and culture of youth sports.

 

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Coaches: Focus on What Went RIGHT!

Focus on What Went RIGHT instead of What Went WRONG!

NAYS.org has a great article on focusing on the positive:

Focus on What Went RIGHT instead of What Went WRONG!

Dr. Sheriece Sadberry, sports psychologist: “Instead of focusing on what went wrong during the game, parents should focus on all the things their young athlete did right and things that they can improve on.”

We agree! Ainslee Lamb, a contributing coach for HOW TO COACH GIRLS talks about asking the team what went right.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

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To invest in girls, get them into sports

To invest in girls, get them into sports

The Vancouver Sun has an article that spoke to us:

Ravi Kahlon: To invest in girls, get them into sports

To invest in girls, get them into sports

Image: GERRY KAHRMANN / PNG

“Research shows that although boys and girls have the same innate physical abilities and start out equally active, girls’ athletic skills start falling behind after the age of seven. This gap only increases with age.

Only eight percent of girls are getting enough physical activity, compared to 14 percent of boys.

If girls haven’t participated in sports by the time they are 10 years old, there is only a 10-per-cent chance they will do so later in life. Moreover, by the time girls turn 13, they start dropping out of sports and other regular physical activities at twice the rate of boys.

Besides building strength and endurance, physical activity improves thinking and learning, emotional regulation and self-control, stress management, self-esteem, self-worth, resilience, and the ability to cope with anxiety and depression. Kids who engage in regular physical activity are more socially connected, successful, and less likely to use drugs than their inactive peers.

Girls who don’t participate in regular sports activities don’t get these benefits — which can limit their ability to reach their full potential.

Lessons learned on the sports field — such as teamwork, goal-setting, time management — transfer well to the boardroom and other career pursuits. Women who stay involved in sports often thrive in all aspects of life.

The challenge is encouraging more girls to get involved in sports when they are young and stay active — particularly during the critical teen years.”

 

Ravi Kahlon, a two-time Olympian in field hockey, and was elected Delta North MLA in 2017. He is parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism.

 

How to Coach Girls is available through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Audrey Press.

If anyone wishes to buy books for their town team or club team, Audrey Press offers volume discounts.

Review by Carolyn Wilhelm:

Whether you are a parent or teacher coach, this book would be a welcome addition to your library as it has a wealth of information, wisdom, and experience that will enhance any coaching experience. If you wish someone could sit down with you and share what really works, doesn’t work, and why in coaching girls, read this book for such advice. The authors state that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, with girls quitting at six times the rate of boys? This is certainly true in my experience. Team sports help children develop friendships, learn cooperation skills, have increased fitness, and understand expectations. It is wonderful when coaches offer their time to help students develop in these ways.

Chapters include such topics as keeping it fun, promoting a growth mindset, and developing good people (not just good players). The focus is on the overall development of the person (girl) and not only athletic skill level. There are solutions to specific issues such as when coaching your own daughter and handling a losing streak. Body image is another important topic covered. There are specific “code of conduct” lists for players and parents. Having parents sign a contract is a proactive method of preventing specific issues that could arise. This book has it all!

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

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We’re in Soccer Girl Problems: GIRLS, CONFIDENCE AND GIVING FEEDBACK

Soccer Girls Problems and How To Coach Girls

Thanks for hosting us Soccer Girl Problems!

GIRLS, CONFIDENCE AND GIVING FEEDBACK

Is it surprising that girls and women regularly underestimate their abilities and intelligence? It’s the opposite for boys and men who often overestimate theirs.

Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, and her team asked 250 undergraduate biology students about their intelligence as compared to their peers.

“I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend,” Cooper said. “Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were ‘stupid.’ I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it.”

She found that men are 3.2 times more likely than women to believe they are smarter. On average, a man has a 61% chance of believing he is smarter than his colleagues, while a woman has only a 33% chance.

This confidence disparity by gender is not just true for biology students. Girls (and women) also underestimate their abilities across the board from academics to the workplace to sports. And, also notable, is that boys (and men) are the complete opposite, often believing that they are better than they actually are.

Read the rest here.

Continue reading “We’re in Soccer Girl Problems: GIRLS, CONFIDENCE AND GIVING FEEDBACK”

When Girls Keep Quitting a Team

Thank you for your tweets Jared Fritz! His daughter’s high school coach’s coaching style resulted in losing 10 teammates. He tweeted to us:

From my daughter “I feel that the coaches do not really care about making people feel wanted” As a dad, how do I encourage her to still play?

We wondered if the coach was overwhelmed? Perhaps the coach needed an assistant coach or a parent team manager? Also, we wondered if his daughter had friends on the team and that would motivate her to stay on the team.

Has friends on the team. Coach has an assistant. Likely needs help with relating and motivating to HS Girls. Has been explained his philosophy chasing kids away. Mine another in a long line

Unfortunately, the coach simply seems to have a philosophy of weeding out players. We responded that if the coach seems the attrition as an issue and is concerned, then our book might help. If not, our advice would be to go above to his boss to point out the problem.

His most recent tweet makes us so happy!

 

Women in Sports Today: Female Coaches Are The Final Frontier

The turning point for women in sports was Title IX, a federal civil rights law in the U.S., passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five.*

Similarly, there were almost no college athletic scholarships for women 40 years ago. Now, almost 200,000 women play college sports, and many of those athletes get scholarships. But there is still significant work to be done. The playing field is still not equal despite Title IX.

Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii, Title IX co-author, for whom the law was renamed in 2002.

Girls (and boys) of color still lack access sports.** This is an issue of poverty that also affects children who are not of color. The rise of club sports monetizes youth development in sports, shutting out those who can’t pay to play. And, the path to playing sports in college is often determined by the ability of parents to pay for development. Continue reading “Women in Sports Today: Female Coaches Are The Final Frontier”

We are in Soccer America!

Soccer America: Coaching Girls: How to deliver feedback effectively

COMMENTARY

Coaching Girls: How to deliver feedback effectively

by  ,  ,Feb 28, 2018

Mia: My daughter’s club volleyball coach is amazing; he thanks players for running for an out of bounds ball that they have no hope of getting. They would walk through fire for him. I asked him when we headed over to the team dinner one night if he had always coached this way. He told me that he used to be the kind of coach who was the hardest on the most promising player, but he learned that you can’t coach girls in that way.

Continue reading “We are in Soccer America!”