Friday Night Tykes

Okay, I’ll do my best to stay focused and stay on the topic at hand. I have an extreme passion for Football, specifically College Football to be exact. I’ve been contemplating for the past couple of weeks on doing a post for this specific topic, but my answer was solidified when I watched an episode of “Friday Night Tykes” on the Esquire Channel today.

ga1I understand in the Lone Star State, football is very important at ALL levels, but when is or better yet, what age is TOO early for children to play tackle football? Watching this show, I feel guilty, because I have a passion as some of the Coaches on this reality show, but are you willing to jeopardize the future of a young athlete just because you’re the Head Coach and you want to win? I, myself, personally don’t want to be labeled as “that” coach, who was the cause for a player being paralyzed or possibly dying on the Football field.

I also realize that kids can get hurt at school just as easy, but I feel you increase their chances by letting them play tackle football at 7, 8, 9 and 10 years of age; kids mature at different times, so who makes the final decision? Instilling discipline into a young player can be done without contact. Who should make the final decision on when children are allowed to play Tackle Football? The Parents? Recreation Directors? Parents will win the majority of the time, because if you don’t let them play “here”, they’ll go over “there” and play. Concussions are real and they exist, but most of the parents seem oblivious to this fact, because they say, it won’t happen to my kid. Until, it does. Diencephalon_small

509px-Concussion_mechanics.svgSome people say my answer would be different if I had a son of my own. No, I don’t think it would. Real quick, lets look at the definition of Concussion. A Concussion is (1) temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head. The term is also used loosely of the aftereffects such as confusion or temporary incapacity. (2) A Violent shock as from a heavy blow. Acceleration (G-Forces) can exert rotational forces in the brain, especially the midbrain and diencephalon (the caudal [posterior] part of the forebrain, containing the epithalamus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and ventral thalamus and the third ventricle).

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) exist because of blows to the head. It can happen on their 1st hit or 2,000th. Playing tackle football is an extreme risk, due to injuries other than concussions. This issue has also sparked a debate at the National Football League (NFL) level of play. It has caused family members and former players to sue the NFL due to the lingering affects of multiple concussions. I’m not trying to spark a debate, just asking the question of if this is how you want to instill “discipline” into young players? There are other ways to do this. I think it should be based on the maturity level of the child and the Parent & Recreation Director should talk it over before making the decision.

If the  parent decides to let their child play tackle, they should have to sign a waiver, stating that if the child receives a concussion, the Recreation Department will not be held responsible, and by signing the waiver, the Parent acknowledges that they understand the risks associated with playing tackle football. This also would protect the Recreation Department against law suits. Maybe the National Football League (NFL) and Collegiate Football should incorporate the waiver so in the end, when the player is done playing football, they can’t sue the University or the Professional Organization, whether it be the NFL/CFL, etc.

I truly believe that education is the key. Before having the Player/Parent/Recreation Director sign off, conduct training so they know the effects from a concussion, also show the Parent and Coaches what could happen ifTexas2-1 they don’t deal with concussions the correct way. Don’t overlook the signs, because you want to win. Hold the Parents, Coaches and Players responsible. I know that we can be hurt getting out of the bed, but that’s a risk that we have to make. Maybe I’m looking too deep into this issue. I don’t know.

After saying all that, I strongly feel that based on maturity, size and mental stability of the Parent/Recreation Director/Player, then should the decision be made. Parents don’t look at the present, they are focused on the future, what the player could possibly do at the next level. They forget about the maturity and all that other stuff. How do you feel about it?

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So as most of you already know that the soccer season for our county is done. Our All-Star Team played their hearts out. Though we lost, it was a win for our kids. The reason I say it was a win for our kids is because this is the first time that our county has EVER had a soccer All-Star Team. I told the kids that NO ONE can take that away from them. They were the 1st set of kids to do it, if you think about it, they made history. The team we played was against a neighboring county. The awkward thing about it is that the kids on that team, our All-Star Head Coach, coaches 7 of the 12 kids on a traveling team.

We were already at a disadvantage, but our kids didn’t care. The kids took every practice serious and learned a lot. I know I did. I’m going to take some his coaching points and add my own little touch to make it my own. He won’t be coaching next year, so if I get a good set of kids, we can do it big! Just kidding, I really believe that if you are playing any sport at the recreation level the focus needs to be on fundamentals. Once they have mastered the fundamentals, then that puts them a couple of steps ahead of other kids when and if they decide to play in middle school or even high school. Next year, I plan on coming up with my own version of  “The Process” something similar to what Coach Nick Saban has. You can hate him all you want, but he knows how to win. That’s what type of coach I want to be. I want to be able to take an inexperienced player and by the end of the of the season that player has made a 180 degree turn around, because he has mastered the fundamentals and has worked on the small things.

If I remember correctly, I think it was in maybe my 3rd or 4th posts I said that I was 33 and I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. The reason I said that is because I hadn’t found my niche or found anything that I was passionate about. Now that has changed. I want to Coach, not just Coach, but teach individuals how to be better. I hope that doesn’t sound weird to anyone. Whenever I am Coaching, I have no worries and I am not thinking about anything else but the kids that are in front of me. It makes me feel pretty good to have a kid come up to you after the season is over and say to you, Coach Thank You for taking the time to teach me, I know that you volunteered and didn’t have to do it. You took the time out to teach us. I’ve mentioned this once before, that having a parent say Thank You for Coaching their child who had never played a sport in their life and now they are passionate about that sport and they want to play next year, but they only want to play if you are Coaching. It is pretty rewarding.

Last week I ate lunch with my girls. On Monday I ate with one, Tuesday I ate with the other then on Friday I ate with them both. On those three days that I was at the school, I had kids I had never ever seen or talked to walking up to me saying Hi Coach Jared. It felt kind of weird, but of course I returned the greeting. I think it is crazy when my daughters come home from school and they tell me that their friends are asking when is your dad coming back? They get mad, because their friends aren’t supposed to like their dad. On several occasions I’ve been told by the faculty that I would be a great substitute, but I think they were trying to subliminally plant that seed in my head, because I went to the board of education and asked for an application. I don’t know what it is, I think I do pretty well with children, even though I don’t like watching or interacting with other people’s kids during my free time. When I’m coaching that’s different, but if those same kids asked if they could come to my house, I would say NO!

Also, the principal said it would be a “shock and awe” moment for the children to see a male sub, because they usually treat the women any kind of way. It feels good to finally have something that I am passionate about. Before anyone makes any crude or stupid remarks, I like to teach children, not touch them. I’m no pedophile. I have A VERY STRONG HATE for those individuals. I felt the need to say that because I know there is an immature individual out there that is either thinking it or is brave enough to post a stupid-ass remark of that sort. Its crazy that I even have to mention that, because of the immaturity of a lot of so-called adults in today’s society. Now that I have found my passion, I am going to continue to do it and seriously get into it; get all required certifications to coach on different levels. I don’t even care if I were paid or not. My goal is to set a good example and do my best to have a positive impact on a child’s life for the better. Who knows, maybe I’ll coach the next Michael Jordan or Abby Wambach.

 

#ROLLDAMNTIDE!

 

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八十四

Today was very busy. I can’t wait to win this tournament so we can go to state! We have been practicing our pants off. Tomorrow is our last day of practice, so it’s going to be a little intense, just to get the heart rate up, a lot of stretching and going over the very basic skills of the game. Some of the kids are so ready to play, that they making mistakes that they usually wouldn’t make.

So let me tell you how smart I was on Monday, Tuesday and today. The Head Coaches son is really good, he’s short, but quick, he can put his foot on the ball, it’s crazy how he makes it look too easy. On Monday, at the end of practice he says to me, “Coach Jared, can you help me with something?” I said, “Sure, what’s up?” He says, 1 v 1. I said What? He wanted to play a game of 1 on 1. Like the smart and intelligent man that I am I said lets do it. He scores on me, gives me the ball, takes it and scores a goal. That happened 3 times. After that, I said I’m done. At this point there are 3 kids in the wings waiting for their turn to go one on one with Coach Jared. I have had to schedule the Coach Jared 1 on 1’s  before and after practice. My own kids make fun of me when I fall or the ball gets taken away from me. I tell them everyday, that I’m old and broken, but they are kids, they don’t care, all they want to do is play soccer. So I fight through the pain and play. It feel good to actually be active again.

The first day we started practicing, the kids really didn’t know what I was doing on the field. A lot of them only knew me as being the Head Coach of The Tide. So I really didn’t say anything, I just helped set up drills, take pictures and grab jackets for the kids if the want them. Now that has all changed. The first day I didn’t take my cleats. Once they saw me with cleats and gear to play, I started to earn their trust. Now everybody always asks me if they are doing the correct drill or kicking it right. I know to you may say, “What’s so special about that?” If you ever get the chance to take a group of kids, that have the skill to play, and your job is to bring it out of them. That is a great feeling.

Overall, I think that we will do well, but if we don’t win, me and the Head Coach explained to the kids not to worry about it. He told them that they are making history, because Long County has never played in an All-Star Tournament. This is their first Soccer All-Star Team. They can say that they were the first to do it and they have some cool jerseys to wear. I’m proud of my girls for taking soccer serious. Now I have the Coaching bug. After we finish the tournament then we have to start basketball season. I will be coaching the 9-10 girls and my girls are going to play. From one busy sport to another.

Those that know me, know that I suck at basketball, but I can coach it. I know how to teach defense, offense, the proper way to shoot and all the other fundamentals of the game. If I have a  question, I will be asking you guys. A lot of you may not know it, but the girls appreciate the support and wish that all of you could see them play in person. I will be sure to take video and great pictures of the game so I can share with you guys.

#ROLLDAMNTIDE

*Note: I want to apologize for the quality of the pictures, I was using my iPhone. Next time I will my camera.

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Achtzig

Since I have taken the backseat to be the Assistant Coach for the Long County All-Star Soccer team, I have learned a lot from the Head Coach. If your team loses, it’s not their fault that they lost. They were only doing what they were taught to do and they played exactly how they practiced. At the end of the regular season, my team did not win 1 single game. I will be the one who takes all the responsibility for an unsuccessful season, if you want to look at it as Wins/Loses; my players were only doing what I taught them. I had certain players that would only show up for game time. They didn’t feel the need to practice. So if we had a specific plan on how we are going to play that day, those players are not on the same sheet as the rest of the team, but I can truthfully say is that I didn’t have a choice. The reason I say that I didn’t have a choice was because it was my players that had experience playing soccer that decided that they didn’t want to show up; but playing for the Recreation Department, you have to be fair and everyone has to be given the right to play. Now that we are going to start our All-Star team push, all that is thrown in the wind.

The fair participation rule doesn’t apply on the All-Star team. If you don’t show that you want to contribute to the team, you can easily be replaced by an Alternate. Before I recommended my girls for the All-Star team, I asked myself and also talked to my wife if I was being fair. She told me that I was the Head Coach and if I felt that they had a chance to compete and contribute to being apart of the All-Star team, then it shouldn’t be a problem, because at the end of the day, I was the Head Coach. Another reason that helped with my decision was the Head Coach for the All-Star team wanted my daughters to play, though it was their first year playing serious soccer. They played when they were 4 & 5 years of age, but at that age, they aren’t really playing for a winner. They want all the players to get a chance to play and have fun. That’s the approach I took as a Head Coach this year. All I cared about was that my players gave me 100% and they had fun. If the players felt they gave 100% and the game was fun for them, then I said I accomplished my goal.

Now looking back on it, I wish I would have taken it a little more serious. I was thinking that no one is getting paid for this so why not let the kids have fun, right? The 3 Coaches of the U12 teams came together and submitted who we thought were the best players on our teams. So again, I asked myself, do I think my girls were better than other players on the team? I can truthfully say yes, because they never gave up and gave 110% every time they stepped on the soccer field. With my 2 daughters on the All-Star team, they are at a disadvantage, because they are smaller and weigh a lot less than some of the players on the All-Star team and that will be the same as we prepare to play other counties. Now that they are on the All-Star team, they are around a group of kids that love playing soccer and they know how to play the game. Being the Assistant Coach, I am able to work specifically with both of my daughters and make sure they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it.

At the end of day, I’m glad that I recommended the girls for the All-Star team, because they are around other good players and they are being taught the right fundamentals of the game. Yes, you can say that I did show a little favoritism, but it’s for their own good, because the Head Coach is focusing on the fundamentals. I know that they might not get the chance to start, but the Head Coach has told me that he would rather have a player that needs help polishing their fundamentals, rather than a player that has it set in his/her mind that the way they were taught to play the game is the right way or are willing to let something else other than school, take second place. Once you are recommended, the player and the parent sign a contract saying that they are willing to adhere to whatever the Head Coach deems necessary. The girls have a lot of potential and they not only practice on the days they are set to practice, but they go out of there way to make sure whatever we went over that day or in a previous practice; to make sure they can do what is asked if them, of course this is done after all their homework is done or during the weekend.

What sucks about our first tournament, it is single elimination. I think we will do fine with the talented players we have. Whether we win our first game or lose it, the girls and the rest of the players on the team are making history. How, you ask? This is the first year that Long County has put a Soccer All-Star team together. There has always  been a spot for them, but since Long County didn’t have a strong soccer program, they never filled that slot. Now hopefully the players that live in this county will stop going to neighboring counties to play and will see that Long County is finally taking the soccer program serious and hopefully this will keep the good players playing in their own county. I always thought that there was a “recipe” to win, but there isn’t. There isn’t a special drill that will make your players winners overnight. It’s all about fundamentals and how the players are coached. One thing that I can say that I took from the Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban is “The Process.”

I know that I’ve already talked about The Process in one of my earlier posts, so I will briefly remind those who already know what it is and briefly explain it to those that don’t. In its most basic form, the Process is Nick Saban’s term for concentrating on the steps to success rather than worrying about the end result. Instead of thinking about the scoreboard, think about dominating the man on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. Instead of thinking about a conference title, think about finishing a ninth rep in the weight room. Instead of thinking about graduating, think about writing a great paper for Intro to Psych. Pretty much all he is saying is worry about the little things and not so much on the end result, because if you are making sure that you do your job and make sure you’ve done all the little things the end result will be what everyone as a team wants and that is success.

3 BCS Titles in 4 Years keep-calm-and-roll-damn-tide-2

 

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Okay, I’ve been holding this in since the start of Collegiate Football. A lot of you may not care, but Alabama is playing LSU on Saturday @ 8:00 EST (2000hrs for the military personnel). They have been a rival of Alabama since I could remember. There are two games, well actually three that the rest of College Football is looking forward to; Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas A&M (W), Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU (?) and the SEC Championship game. I predict that it will be Alabama vs. Missouri, that’s if they continue to be undefeated or South Carolina and Georgia start playing like they belong to the SEC.

I know, I got it, who cares? I do! A lot of my friends care also. I would much rather sit and watch a Collegiate Football game over the NFL. That’s a bold statement, right? Well the reason I feel that way is, because I honestly think that the players are doing whatever it takes to make it to the next level. They are giving 110% every time they get the chance. They also know that while some players are just gifted and don’t have to practice, there are those that still do whatever they can, legally of course, to maintain or get the edge over some of the gifted athletes.

I have already shared my thoughts on whether Collegiate Players should be paid or compensated in some way. I still think they should. Anyone that loves the game already knows that some players are getting extra benefits. Some of you may be asking yourself, how does he know that? Well, tell me how a Collegiate Athlete is able to afford a brand new truck and put rims on said truck? The players may not be getting it directly, but they are getting it through family members or close friends. It sucks, but it does happen. I know that a lot of Bama Nation is on pins and needles right now, because D.J. Fluker said that he was given extra benefits while he played at Alabama. Once the NCAA completes their investigation and it’s true, every game that he played in, would have to be vacated. That would take away our 14-0 Season in 2009 – 2010 and last years Championship.

If that does happen, yes I would be devastated, but as a TRUE Fan, I always hope for the best. Another issue is Nick Saban’s agent said that he was considering going to Texas. Well, if you know Nick Saban, you know that when he says he’s not going to this place or that place, in the end, he usually does. Money talks and to get him to leave the University of Alabama, you would have to pay him a lot more than he is getting now. The University is paying him like 5.3 million dollars a year and he gets a bonus for winning the SEC Championship (2009 he received a $250,000 bonus for winning the SEC and for a National Championship he gets a $500,000 bonus). If Texas wants him bad enough, I’m sure they won’t have a problem with paying him more than he gets now. He is the highest paid coach in College Football right now. For the Dolphin fans out there, you saw how he did you guys, so there could be some truth to that statement. He had a big press conference saying that he would NOT be leaving the Miami Dolphins organization to become the Head Coach at the University of Alabama.

Like I stated before, I really hope that his consideration is only a thought and he let it float away, just like a ballon in the wind. Another thing would be, I don’t think the University of Texas is ready to give up on Coach Mack Brown, YET, but they are looking for someone that could change their Football Team. He would then have to get the players to buy in and them teach the “Process” to a whole different team. I really hope that he isn’t considering leaving Alabama. Here’s the link if you want to check it out yourself: http://tracking.si.com/2013/11/05/alabama-nick-saban-facing-pressure/. Another note is that he updated his contract last season and agreed to Coach for another 4 Seasons.

I know I did a lot of rambling, but you can see that I am excited about this weekend’s game vs. LSU. I hope that we spank that ass at the crib! I hope that him considering coaching at another school doesn’t overshadow the team and become a distraction. The players have bought in and invested a lot just for him to up and leave. I hope that these are just rumors and he stays and retires at Alabama.  I can’t wait for this weekend. Of course, I’m nervous, why? I have no clue. I’m not even on the team, with this pressure to win against a rival at home.  Okay, I have bored you enough about college football and all that goes with it.

#ROLLDAMNTIDE, #RTR, #RMFT

 

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