There are many pitfalls in youth soccer in our country. Over-invested parents; the pressure to win at too young an age; high-pressure coaches who focus on winning instead of on development; and increased dropout rates because of these and other factors are just some of story lines that we see repeated over and over. Much of this negativity comes because of our collective mindset that the only way for us to measure our childrens progress in soccer is through the scores of their games. How many points their team gets and how many goals our children score have, for too many years, been the metrics by which we gauge their progress. But what if there was a different way to develop soccer players in Canada? What if we could simply teach kids to play better? That is the goal of Willie Cromack, founder of Play Better, an innovative plan to improve sport culture in Canada. The program attempts to shift the mindset of players and parents alike, away from scoreboard success and towards empowering children to discover their potential - both as soccer players and as human beings. Play Better is a grassroots soccer program designed to provide clubs, coaches, parents and players with a clear and accountable pathway through soccer. This includes an LTPD-compliant curriculum, lesson plans complete with desired outcomes, video training sessions, as well as tools for gathering metrics beyond simply the number of goals scored. The reason behind the gathering of those metrics is where the genius lies. Play Better aims to marry a holistic charitable program with the training and development of young soccer players. The program does through by asking teams to do the following: • Choose a cause or charity. For example; the SPCA, the Canadian Cancer Society or your local childrens hospital. • Choose a baseline metric. For example; a recreational team can choose 100 completed passes per game. A more competitive team can choose a larger number, such as 200 completed passes. This is called the team goal or team win. • Have a pre-season meeting with parents to explain your objective; for every game in which your team achieves its team win, ask parents (or friends, family members or sponsors) to donate a pre-determined dollar amount to the team cause/charity. The monetary amount is not important - it can be as little as a loonie per parent/family. • Create a team website, where the kids can tell their story. It gives them a chance to explain, in their own words, how achieving their objective every game will not only help them become better soccer players, but also make a difference in the world. It also allows them to track and promote how much money they have raised for their chosen cause/charity. Team Falcons is a U11 boys gold soccer team in North Vancouver. Click here to see how they have committed to Play Better. I am often asked how we can shift away from the win-at-all-costs mentality that has infected youth soccer in our country. As I have written many times before, it is one of the biggest hurdles we must overcome if we are to create an effective youth development system in Canada. It isnt the players that we need to convince; it is the parents. A program like Play Better might just be the bridge we need to achieve this. As the members of Team Falcons can attest, players participating in Play Better quickly realize that their sporting endeavours have a bigger meaning. It isnt just about winning and losing anymore - it is about helping others. This teaches players to work on their fundamental skills (to complete 100 or 200 passes per games, players have to focus on what they learn in training), but more importantly, it teaches them about helping others, about community investment and about personal growth. What parent doesnt want their child to learn those lessons? If these lessons can be tied into the technical development of young soccer players, then Canadian soccer could be onto something big. *If you or your team is interested in Play Better, you can read more about the program here, or contact Willie Cromack at email@example.com Trevor Van Riemsdyk Jersey .com) - Mike Miller scored a season-high 21 points in a rare start and the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from their worst loss of the season with a 95-91 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Marcus Kruger Jersey . The Flames announced Monday that Treliving, a former assistant general manager with the Coyotes, will take over the vacant GM spot in Calgary. "Im ready for this,"Treliving said. http://www.hurricanesauthority.com/authe...ricanes-jersey/. Under the deal, the Vikings will donate an undisclosed sum of money to five gay rights-related charities over the next five years. Kluwe said he wont receive any money as part of the settlement. "This will help a lot of people that really do need that help," Kluwe said. Justin Faulk Jersey . With just under five seconds remaining - the Raptors having clawed back from a 19-point deficit and pulled within one - DeRozan took the handoff from Chuck Hayes. Rod Brind Amour Jersey . Rodriguez, who has steadfastly denied using banned substances while with the New York Yankees, made the decision nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz largely upheld the discipline issued last summer by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. "I think its a good move for him," former Commissioner Fay Vincent said.Paul Nicholls is not concerned about the Crabbies Grand National trip for Silviniaco Conti at Aintree on Saturday. The 10-year-old is 10-1 second-favourite with Sky Bet for the race over the extended four-mile-two-furlong course in Liverpool, fully a mile further than the Dom Alco gelding has ever raced.However, the seven-time Grade One winner certainly has the class and hes well-handicapped too, officially 6lb well-in following his latest top-level win at Ascot that was achieved after the National weights were released. With the ground set to be perfectly acceptable for him whatever the weather does over the next five days, the major question mark hanging over him is the trip - but his trainer is confident hell stay.From the day I had him in the young days hes always been a stayer, Nicholls told At The Races.Hes by Dom Alco, like Neptune Collonges and theyre all stayers.Throughout his career in the Betfred Bowls, the King Georges weve always wanted to make plenty of use of him and make every post a winning post as staminas his forte, always has been.With the distance not a concern to Nicholls, what about the fences? Silviniaco Conti has never run over the Aintree spruce, but his handler has tried to prepare him for the experience the best he can.Nicholls continued: We put some spruce on our fences here and he jumped them with Unioniste the other morning when Noel [Fehily] was very happy with him.You need an awful lot of luck in the National but of course were excited by his chance.Silviniaco Conti isnt Nicholls only chance in this years National, with Unioniste, Just A Par, Wonderful Charm and Rocky Creek also set to run from the Ditcheaat yard.ddddddddddddUnioniste appears to be heading that list for owner John Hales, who won the race in 2012 with Neptune Collonges, another grey son of Dom Alco also trained by Nicholls.Last year Unioniste fell in the National, but hes come down the handicap since and ran well behind Many Clouds at Kelso last time.Nicholls said: Last year he probably wasnt quite right, he lost his confidence jumping but hes got that back and he ran very well at Kelso behind Many Clouds where he stayed on.He is in the mould of Neptune Collonges and if he is anywhere near them jumping the third last hell gallop all the way to the line, hes got a chance.As for the rest of his team, Nicholls was upbeat about the chances of Just A Par, but less so Rocky Creek who has been well beaten on his last three starts.He ran his best race first time up behind Don Cossack but he has been disappointing since, said Nicholls of Rocky Creek.Id be more sweet on the chances of Just A Par and even Wonderful Charm.I havent run Just A Par all winter because of the ground and that last run at Exeter was just what he needed.Last year before he won the bet365 Gold Cup he had the same prep at Chepstow three weeks beforehand and hes in good shape.Hes got the right profile and he stays. 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