TeamSnap Customer Profile: Ravens Women’s Football

With summer winding down, the leaves starting to turn and the occasional chill in the air, many a mind in the TeamSnap Nation turns to football. However, in British Columbia, a group of women are out on the gridiron seeking flag football glory. They are the Ravens, and they are a TeamSnap customer.

Ravens on the fieldRavens team manager Kristen Vestby was an early TeamSnap customer, first starting to use TeamSnap seven years ago when she played football in Edmonton. Upon relocating to the Vancouver area, she joined the Ravens. “The team came together in the fall of 2012,” she said. “We were brought together by a bunch of players who had been in the league for many years, as well as some newcomers to the league.  We were also lucky enough to land one of the most experienced coaches in the league, Mark Lawson, who has been involved in the game of football for his entire life.” Within a year, Vestby found herself managing the Ravens.

Flag football is serious business in Vancouver.  “Our league has 15 women’s teams (in addition to the 60+ men’s teams) split into three divisions, A, B, and C,” she said. As for the draw of flag football to Vancouver-area women, Vestby notes “A lot of us love watching football, and that’s why we got into it, while some of us are here because we were brought to the game by friends. Some just wanted to try something new or get back into organized sports.”

Players on the Ravens come from all walks of life – on their roster, you can find a pharmacy tech, salmon biologist, kinesiologist, business owner, college instructor, corporate controller, lawyer, physiotherapist and mom of five kids, to name a few. Flag football is not their only passion, though – Ravens players can also be found playing rugby, dodgeball, volleyball, floor hockey, tennis, softball, paddle boarding, ultimate frisbee and basketball.

Ravens QuarterbackFor a young team, the Ravens have turned heads with their play on the field. They recently played in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Championship in Duncan, BC – their first time in the tournament. They did not let the big stage or a rookie quarterback stop them, however.

“We were scheduled for five round robin games on the Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m. – 12 hours of football!” Vestby noted. “We ended up going 3-2 in the round robin tournament, defeating two of our biggest Vancouver rival, including one who had defeated us in overtime in the regular season, and one that had knocked us out of playoffs the week before.”

“It was some of the best redemption our team has ever had. ”

Ravens in Duncan BCWith practices once a week and a full slate of games, the Ravens rely on TeamSnap to keep their team organized. For the features that keep their team moving, Vestby suggests “The availability. It’s the easiest and fastest way for everyone to see who is coming to a game, practice or event. TeamSnap allows everyone to know whats going on because people have access. If I can’t make it to practice, Coach can look at the availability and see who is going to make it without me having to tell anyone.”

“I also like the option to track payments, so I remember who has paid and who hasn’t,” she said. “Plus, it helps me organize jerseys, since you can put everyone’s number in the roster so if players join/leave we know which jerseys are available.”

As to why she would recommend TeamSnap to other teams, Vestby simply states, “Because it makes organizing a team so much easier!”

For more information about the Ravens, email the team at ravenswomensfootball@gmail.com, or check them out on Facebook at Ravens Women’s Football.

 

 

Confidence Is Overrated

I have worked with hundreds of athletes who come to me for “lack of confidence” or “low confidence” in their performances.

Well, what if I told you that the truth about confidence is … You don’t need it.

Not even a shred of it is necessary for brilliant performances in any sport or field. Yep, that’s right, you don’t need any confidence to compete to your potential greatness.

But first, why do I teach such sports heresy to athletes of all ages when they are looking to me to help them build confidence?

Because, Step 1 in building confidence is letting go of the need for it. You see, athletes (especially young athletes) hold themselves back from their best performances when they show up to competition and don’t feel confident. They then, incorrectly, judge themselves lacking and therefore start thinking about performing and trying to control their movements, which just doesn’t work.

In other words, it’s the thought that you need confidence when you don’t have it that creates tension, tightness and nervousness that actually hurts your ability to perform.

Athletes, and people in all endeavors for that matter, do amazing things every day with zero confidence.

I once asked a coach who had brought his team to the NCAA championships three times and had years of Division 1 success in his sport, “Coach, how do you help your athletes build confidence?” His answer was, “The only way I know how to build confidence is to have some success … and then you get the confidence.”

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Well, think about it for a second.  We don’t start out Day 1 with confidence, do we? We start achieving things from scratch. You’ve got to get your first win sometime, right? Let’s take this to its logical extreme and see if my theory holds up.

We were all babies once, right? And we wanted to walk because we saw adults around us walking. We end up walking because we possess two character traits, even as a baby:

  1. Drive/Desire: We want to walk, just like we want to achieve/win in our sport.
  2. Perseverance: As babies, we aren’t afraid to fall down and get back up again.

Those two things are all you need to achieve anything.

We had zero confidence about walking when we decided to walk. Babies don’t even have the ability to comprehend confidence. And yet, they teach themselves to walk.

Don’t get me wrong; confidence is helpful and good. I help athletes build confidence every day, and the way you do so is to continually revisit your past successes and what it is about you that made that success happen.

Remind yourself of your proven skills, abilities and talents at least as much as you review your errors for corrective action. Nobody can do this for you. Everybody has the ability to do it easily and everyone has many successes and talents to draw from.

Start with the idea that you do not need confidence to have an amazing performance, and you will actually be building confidence at hyper speed.

Craig Sigl’s work with youth athletes has been featured on NBC TV and ESPN. Get his free ebook: “The 10 Commandments For a Great Sports Parent” and also a free training and .mp3 guided visualization to help young athletes perform under pressure by visiting: MentalToughnessTrainer.com.

 

How Safe is Your Kid’s P.E. Class?

Growing up, you might have thought P.E. class was nothing more than a period to get out of the classroom and run around cutting up with your friends. But the fact is that physical education is more important than ever.

With childhood obesity rates more than doubling in the past 30 years, it’s critical that schools put an emphasis on creating a safe environment for kids to get out from behind their desks and get a little exercise. Unfortunately, some schools aren’t doing such a great job at this. In fact, several California school districts are being sued for allegedly not giving kids enough P.E. time. And even in the minority of schools that are giving their kids enough physical education, there are sometimes serious safety issues that need to be addressed.

As a parent, it’s important that you do your part to make sure your child is as safe as possible during P.E. class, both by providing him or her with the right equipment and by being vigilant to make certain the school is doing its part to provide a safe environment.

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Here are some steps you can take to help make certain your kid is getting safe, quality physical education:

  • Check out the school’s gym. Unfortunately, slashed budgets may mean some schools aren’t putting as much time and money into gym maintenance as they should. Proper gym maintenance is essential to providing a safe environment for P.E. class. At the beginning of the school year, make the time to do a walkthrough of the school’s gym. Check the condition of the flooring to make sure it’s clean and in good repair. Make sure the walls have proper safety padding, and pay attention to the equipment around the gym to verify it’s in good condition. If you notice anything that doesn’t seem safe, bring it up to the proper authority figures at the school so it can be addressed.
  • Outfit your kid with the right gear. Kids need the right shoes to participate safely in P.E. class. Tennis shoes that fit properly in the ankle and foot will give your child’s feet the support they need to run, jump and participate in physical activities as safely as possible. Note: skateboard shoes, Crocs, flip-flops, boots, sandals, etc. are not appropriate footwear for P.E. class. Do your part to get your kid the right shoes for P.E. and to make sure he or she brings them to school daily for class. In addition to footwear, make sure your child has comfortable clothing for physical activity, depending upon the weather (e.g. shorts and T-shirts for warm months, jogging suits for cold months).
  • Check regularly to make certain your child is getting enough P.E. As schools continue to feel the pressure of raising standardized test scores, they often cut time for P.E. in order to make time for other subjects. Many states have regulations that require schools to provide kids with a certain amount of P.E. time. Even in those states with such regulations, the fact is that healthy, active students perform better in school overall. It’s important to be an advocate for your child’s physical education, holding the school accountable if necessary to provide the recommended amount of P.E. time and getting involved in school communities and fundraising groups to support P.E. in your kid’s school.
  • Get your kids active at home. Which child do you think will be safer in P.E. class, the one who gets plenty of physical activity on a daily basis at home or the one who lives a completely sedentary lifestyle away from school? If you emphasize the importance of regular physical activity with your child at home, he or she will be better equipped to participate in P.E. at school in a safe manner. It’s recommended that children and teens get at least one hour of physical activity daily, and you can do your part by ensuring this happens at home.

As another school year begins, make an effort to ensure your child is getting safe, quality physical education this year.

Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director of CoverSports, an American manufacturer of gym floor covers and athletic equipment with roots tracing back to 1874. 

 

The First Soccer Tournament: Nobody Told Them It Would Be Like This!

This U8 team was formed a few months ago after a lengthy tryout process. A few practices were held during the summer to help the players get familiar with each other. Coaches even had a trainer work with them a couple times per week for the past three weeks in preparation for their first tournament. Coaches, parents and players were eager to participate in their first tournament as the “A” team from the club.

They lined up for their first game, and before you knew it they were down 3-0. Coaches were scrambling to change the formation, parents were screaming “boot it,” “run harder,” “get more aggressive,” and Soccer-Player_webplayers were terrified and wanted to stay on the bench. The team did not win a game the entire tournament, and everyone was wondering what exactly went wrong.

I can tell you from experience, especially at the younger ages, tournaments are for the team bonding experience and nothing more.

There are so many variables that affect results in tournament games that you will drive yourself crazy if you treat it as something anything more than a social event. But Coach, “We played them in the regular season last spring and only lost by a goal. They just beat us 5-0”.

Here are just a few of the factors that may have had an impact on the game:

  • The opponent was short players so they added a few “guest players” for the tournament. These are players that are not on their team but they borrowed from another team to fill in for their missing players.
  • This was your team’s second game of the day and your opponent’s first.
  • Your team played at 5 p.m. the night before and this game’s start time was 8 a.m.
  • Your players enjoyed the hotel pool last night.

I could go on and on about the outside factors that could make a real difference in the outcome on the field. As a coach of a U8 team, if you set the expectations of having a fun getaway with your team without caring whether you win or lose the games, it will go a long way in creating a positive experience for the player, parents and coaches.

There will be plenty of time as your players get older, to compete for the gold medal but for the younger ages make it fun, make it special and make it a great memory!

Tyler Isaacson is a club president, travel coach, recreation coach, youth player, college player and dad. He has 30 years of playing and coaching experience. He is the founder of youthsoccer101.com a leader in on-line coaching education used by 50K coaches.

 

How to Adjust to a Loud Coach

By Erica Salmon, TeamSnap user, team mom, writer and guest author

With three children playing multiple sports each year, we have had many different coaches with many different styles. Initially, my kids all started out with my husband coaching them, and my husband has a very gentle and calm demeanor. So as my children transitioned to other coaches, they would often describe those other coaches as “loud.”

After thoughtful consideration on the topic of coaches being loud, I have decided that there is “good loud” and “bad loud.”

The “good loud” is a coach who demands the kids’ attention. He or she expects the kids to hustle, to behave and to listen to instruction in order to learn, develop as a player and, quite simply, not get hurt, especially in the early years! That coach is giving instruction as well as praise, not just firing off demands of what to do and what not to do. A good loud coach takes command on the field or court and wins the players’ trust and respect.

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For kids who are not used to “loud” adults in their lives, this can be an adjustment. My son, Luke, has a soccer coach who is often giving him instructions from the sideline during a game. He is looking to Luke to help make adjustments on the field very quickly. Some games, Coach might yell to Luke 10 or 20 times.

When Luke first started playing for this coach, his impression was that he was always getting “yelled at.” My husband and I explained that Coach is looking to him to be a strong player and make quick adjustments on the field. We explained that Coach sees that Luke has the ability to make adjustments. We impressed upon Luke that when Coach stops giving you instructions, you should worry; he must not think you can handle it.

There is a difference between a coach “yelling to” a player and a coach “yelling at” a player.

Explaining the difference to Luke has helped him adjust significantly. Luke needs to listen to what is being said, not simply focus on the fact that Coach is yelling to him from the sideline.

There are other situations where a coach can be “good loud.” They might be overtly enthusiastic, a generally vocal person or trying to compensate for loud spectators. In context, this is “good loud” in my book.

As far as the “bad loud” … well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you have a coach that is negative and sincerely “yelling at” the kids, I believe that coach is going to be ineffective in the long run; that type of coaching style does not build a child’s confidence. And let’s face it, talent without confidence doesn’t get a child very far! If you have a coach that curses, is derogatory or uses inappropriate “humor,” it is probably time to move on (High school and college coaches might have different tactics; I am talking about youth sports here.).

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Not all adults are meant to coach children at certain ages. Would you put up with a classroom teacher that speaks to your child the same way some coaches do? I wouldn’t.

If you are a parent who thinks your child needs to be yelled at to be motivated, make sure the intention of the loud instruction is still positive in nature. Even if you think your child needs a little volume to respond, make sure it is a “good loud” and not a “bad loud.”

Erica Salmon is a TeamSnap Mom, often seen on the sidelines of youth soccer, baseball, field hockey and basketball games as well as at dance recitals, concerts and art shows. Erica is a book author, former fashion analyst for NBC10 (Philadelphia) and the founder of several Websites and blogs including Fantasy Fashion League and Red Carpet Mom. Erica lives in Mullica Hill, NJ, with her husband, three children and their enormous dog Elvis.