Posts Tagged ‘ritual’

The De-Cursing Ritual is for Real

December 23, 2009

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my U11 son’s soccer team had started a de-cursing ritual in which the Team Dad would de-curse the boys’ shoes and the goalie’s gloves before or during each game. And it worked. The boys had not lost a game since the ritual began. In fact, they made it all the way to the NorCal championship game.

The championship game was held this weekend and (cue of the up the Twilight Zone music) the de-cursing ritual seems to be legitimate. Unfortunately, Team Dad, Gene, did not perform his ritual and after a hard-fought game, my son’s team lost 3-1. Congratulations boys on a great and memorable season.

In the meantime, buoyed by his newfound ability and backed by this latest scientific proof, Gene is now offering his de-cursing services and can be reached at 1-800-De-Curse.

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Improve Practice and Game Play: Get Flip-Flops

October 8, 2009

Shortly after a practice or game ends, all players should participate in the collective ritual that I simply call the ‘aaaaahhhh’. Typically, ‘aaaaahhhh’ is the sound that players make when they take off their cleats, socks, and shin guards and slip on a cool pair of flip-flops. In Northern California, we can usually get away with flip-flops. But in other parts of the country and depending on the time of year, other footwear may be more appropriate.

The ‘aaaaahhhh’ ritual benefits players as well as parents and coaches. For players:

  • After a long, hard practice in which you have given 100% effort, you want to wind down and put soccer behind you and reward yourself for a job well done. There is no better feeling than freeing your wet and smelly feet from your cleats, stretching your toes out, and then having them touch the nice, cool grass. There is only word that can describe this feeling … ‘aaaaahhhh’.
  • Conversely, when you put on your cleats before a game or practice, this is the players’ signal to start focusing on soccer and the job at hand. All goofing off and messing around should cease. You are now at work and ready to give 100% effort and attention. Putting on the cleats is the equivalent of a parent sitting in front of the computer at work, a fireman answering an alarm, or a teacher calling the class to order when the first-period bell rings. It is time to go to work to learn and improve.
  • The same is true of games. When those cleats are put on, it is time to focus on the game. When the game is done, reward yourself for your effort. Getting out of your cleats is extremely important when you have multiple games in one day. After the first game, slip on your flip-flops and relax. Soccer is done for a while. Take a break.

For parents:

  • Your kids will learn that there is a time and place for everything. At practice, they should be there to learn and improve–just like at school. When the cleats come off, soccer is done.
  • Flip-flops will save money. There is nothing that I hate worse than seeing my kids walking around the parking lot or mall in their cleats. Plus, it can’t be comfortable.

For coaches, try incorporating the collective ‘aaaaahhhh’ ritual. Make sure they have your undivided attention when their cleats are on. When they are off, that is their time. Your practice should run smoother and hopefully your players will be more focused and ready for the start of a game.