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 Buy Salomon Shoes Outlet . The cause of his death is as of yet undetermined, but police said foul play is not suspected. Sale Salomon Shoes Outlet . Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Allen Craig on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion on Sunday. http://www.salomonoutletstore.com/ . With a win tonight, Buehrle will match Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka for the most wins in the majors with 11. Buehrle is 10-4 with a 2.32 earned run average, but has lost his last three starts, including a 7-3 setback at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday. Wholesale Salomon Shoes . In the days leading up to the draft, TSN.ca and TSN Radio basketball analyst Duane Watson looks at some of the names that will be headlining the event. Watch the 2014 NBA Draft on TSN, Thursday at 7pm et/4pm pt. Cheap Salomon Shoes Outlet . -- The Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Brandon Lyon that includes an invitation to their big league camp for spring training.LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Russ Smith really didnt care about being top scorer in his home finale with Louisville because passing to open teammates was the better choice. The star guard is showing he can be pass-first when needed. Just ask Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell, who scored 20 points while Smith recorded a career-high 13 assists as No. 11 Louisville routed No. 19 Connecticut 81-48 on Saturday to claim a share of the American Athletic Conference championship. The Cardinals (26-5, 15-3) finished tied with No. 15 Cincinnati atop the league. A postgame coin flip went to Cincinnati and left Louisville with the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Cardinals still got to hoist a trophy thanks to Smiths generosity. "Russ does so much for our team," said Harrell, who added 11 rebounds and several thunderous dunks. "He doesnt just worry about scoring. He had like (three) points tonight and 13 assists, so how does he not make us better? ... Right now, hes just worried about us winning, and thats what we need." Smiths performance was appreciated by a sellout crowd that gave him a standing ovation as he went to the bench with 4:22 left in the game. The reception capped a joyous day as he and fellow seniors Luke Hancock, Tim Henderson and Stephan Van Treese were honoured as the programs winningest class. Their achievements included winning last years NCAA championship. All played key roles in Saturdays 116th win together. Smith made just one of two shots but topped his previous assist high by two. Hancock added 16 points while Henderson added an early basket on feeds from Smith. Van Treese grabbed 13 rebounds. "It was just getting the ball to my teammates to get the ball movement going," said Smith, whose audience included nine NBA scouts. "When I looked at the film after the first UConn game, I was very sloppy with the rock. I wasnt handling the ball as well as I should have. I negated any discrepancy about turning the ball over. I just kicked it out to other teammates." Louisvilles defence, meanwhile, frustrated the Huskiies (24-7, 12-6) into season lows in scoring and shooting (29.dddddddddddd4 per cent) in completing the sweep. Their previous shooting low was 29.6 per cent in a loss to SMU. "I didnt see anything like this coming," said UConn coach Kevin Ollie, whose team still earned the No. 4 seed. "And Im glad it came because now we know how tough we have to be to be a champion. "We werent tough enough. We werent together enough. Louisville took every opportunity to take advantage of it. ... Thats what champions do." Wayne Blackshear added 11 points and Chris Jones 10 as Louisville won this matchup between two of the past three NCAA champions. While the defending champion Cardinals werent always smooth in beating the Huskies, they shot 45 per cent (26 of 58) from the field and mounted a couple of second-half runs to put the game out of reach. DeAndre Daniels 17 points led UConn, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 0-4 at the KFC Yum! Center. Senior guard Shabazz Napier managed nine points on 2-of-13 shooting just days after scoring 26 points including a career-best seven 3-pointers in a win over Rutgers, Emotion preceded the game as Louisville honoured the seniors who helped earn the schools third national championship last spring. Smith as expected drew the loudest cheers from a red-clad sellout crowd as a montage of his and teammates shining moments was played on the video screen, which included a shout-out from rapper Pit Bull. Louisvilles 30-18 lead at the break eventually grew to 34 with 91 seconds left to put fitting end to a fond farewell to the seniors -- especially Smith. "Its a special class because for four years they totally did things for all the right reasons," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. Of Smith, he added, "how would you ever imagine Russ Smith knowing on Senior Night he would pass up all opportunities to score and get 13 assists? That shows you how much hes grown. If any pro scouts wondered tonight whether he could be a point guard, I think the thing is all closed." 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