5 articles Tag Football

Soccer for Children: A Guide to Getting Started at Different Ages

One of the very best things about soccer for kids is that they really can start at any age. It’s a very inclusive sport and is suitable for anyone regardless of height, strength or speed. Soccer is a relatively easy sport to learn when you’re just starting out, and it involves a lot of continuous action and running, which means it’s a great way for kids to exercise. Communication and cooperation are key skills on the field, which makes it a really nice way for kids to learn about teamwork (for more resources on teamwork and becoming a great footballer, take a look at Soccer Gap)

In fact, soccer is officially the most played sport in Australia, so they’ll always have friends to play with. According to a survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commission, 1,104,815 Australians participated in soccer in 2016. That’s over 400,000 more participants than AFL, and four times that of Rugby League.

There’s no ‘right’ age to start soccer, but here you’ll find some of the basics in terms of what you can expect in each age bracket, from 5 years old to 12 years old. Take a look…

5 – 7 Year-Olds

It’s really all about getting out and having fun at this age. Teams will be smaller, with usually only four players on the field, and each half of a game will only go for around 15 minutes. They also probably won’t have a goalkeeper. While they’ll start to learn the rules, they probably won’t be very strictly enforced – it’s more about getting familiar with the basics and giving them a chance to develop a love of playing.

Starting at this age can set up a great foundation for building skills and understanding the fun that can come from exercise. It also gives them an opportunity to develop strong friendships across their years of playing.

8 – 9 year-olds

By this age, there’ll be more players on the field, and there’ll be a goalkeeper too. The length of each half will probably be more like 20-25 minutes. Of course, it’s still mainly about having fun, but with more of an emphasis on preparing them for higher levels of the sport. Additional rules will be introduced, and some of that earlier leniency with enforcing them will start to reduce, giving them a chance to fully understand the details of the game. Some experts believe that 8 years old is the ideal age for kids to start playing soccer in a competitive team environment.

10-12 Year-Olds

This is when coaches will really start to focus on skills in order to provide them with a solid foundation of technical competence. At this age, children are ready for a more structured approach to training too. The number of players allowed on the field increases to 9 a side (at 10 years old) and then to 11 a side (at 12 years old). The length of the game also increases, with 12-year-olds playing full 30 minute halves.

While things are more focussed at this stage, the emphasis will still be on having fun and building positive experiences.

All children are different and it’s hard to say whether there is an ideal age to start soccer. But, whatever their age, there are many benefits of choosing soccer. It is a contact sport, but it’s not a collision sport, which means its relatively safe compared to a lot of other team sports (especially other forms of football).

Beyond that, it’s well known that there are a lot of benefits for kids who play sport – it contributes positively to their physical health, can give them a great range of social experiences and can give them a great sense of achievement as they build their skills. If your child is interested in sports, soccer may well be a great place to start. You could also get involved and help out the team once you’ve got some basic disclosure from CRB Direct.

A sports camp can be a great entry point and there are many soccer school holiday programs in Sydney or your local surrounding area that your kids can get involved with.

6 Gifts For Sporty Men

sporty menChoosing gifts for men can become increasingly difficult for us women. We finally choose the perfect present and then, before we know it, another gift-giving event comes around and we need to try and find another present that we think they will love.

Before you let the situation stress you out and spend countless hours running around the shops, take a few minutes to think about what the man you are buying for really loves – because then you can’t go far wrong. Is he sporty, for example? There are a wide variety of gift ideas for men with a sporting passion. Here are six ideas that they are guaranteed to love almost as much as they love their team.

1. A subscription to a sporty magazine

Whether the man in your life is a fan of golf, a lover of football or he is more in to cycling – there are magazines to cover them all. Plus, keeping on top of their game is important so a subscription means that they can catch up of the news and events surrounding their sport each month, when it lands on their doorstep.

2. A stadium tour

Your sporty man has probably been to see his team play a number of times but, has he ever been behind the scenes of the stadium? Whether he is cheering for Chelsea, mad for Man Utd or loving Liverpool, a tour will enable him to walk in the footsteps of his idols as he see the stadium from a different view.

3. Sporting essentials

Sports teams update their kit all the time. If the shirt he is wearing is ‘so last season’ then make his day with his team’s most up-to-date shirt! Likewise, he might spend much of his free time playing his sport, but does he have all the items that he needs to do so? Perhaps a new bag for his football boots, wet weather gear for a rainy day on the golf course, or a slogan t-shirt that expresses his love for the sport?

4. Personalised memorabilia

A personalised present is always thoughtful and unique, couple this with memorabilia from their favourite sport and you are on to a winner. How about a personalised dressing room mug, an image that puts them in the frame alongside their favourite players, or the ball of their sport with their name engraved on it.

5. A sporty day out

A day out is the perfect way to spend quality time with the man in your life…plan this around a sporty event – and you have the ideal present. This could be anything from a day playing Zorb Football, a round of golf or something a bit out of the ordinary – such as surfing, archery or coasteering.

6. A novelty sports gift

If you are just looking for a token gift for an acquaintance then you might want to consider a novelty sports gift. There are plenty of quirky presents for sports fans, which blend their love of sport with everyday gifts – chocolate footballs, sport cufflinks, or a sporty print for the home, perhaps.

You definitely won’t receive a red card for these gifts!

Domestic Violence and The World Cup

world cup domestic violenceI read a really disturbing report in The Guardian the other day which said that police forces are expecting the World Cup to have a negative impact on the levels of domestic violence across the UK. According to figures, “violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won”. What’s even more worrying, is that that figure has incresed with every tournament since 2002, with rates of domestic violence during tournaments at an all-time high. The combination of increased alcohol consumption, disappointment of losing or excitement at winning is being blamed for the spike in figures. 

The interesting (and I mean that in the gravest sense, obviously) thing is that the violence is not just ‘men hitting women’, but female on male as well as within gays couples. Husband was recently teaching Sausage about self-defence and he told her that boys should never hit girls, a sentiment with which I agree but I think there’s more to add to that statement:

1. Yes, boys should never hit girls, but girls shouldn’t be hitting boys, either.

2. If you hit a boy, don’t just expect that he won’t hit you back because you’re a girl.

3. If you hit anyone, you’re opening yourself up for retaliation.

As a mother to girls, it’s really easy to feel indignant about male-on-female violence, but I think it’s important that we also remember that violence works both ways. Yes, sexual dimorphism in humans means that men are generally bigger than women and have greater strength, but be honest – if you have sons, wouldn’t you be just as indignant about one of them being abused by a wife or girlfriend?

The other day, Husband and I were in the supermarket and we were mucking around, having a joke and a bit of banter with each other, when I jokingly said to him “I’m going to thump you when we get home!”. It was clearly said in jest and no-one batted an eyelid, but what if it had been said the other way around? If you heard a man, even jokingliy, say to his female spouse “I’m going to hit you later”, would you be able to take it with a pinch of salt, or would you secretly be wondering if he was a wife-beater? We’re hypocrites when it comes to domestic abuse, as the video below illustrates brilliantly:

What’s even more scary is that the experts now think that children who see domestic violence happening are perpetuating the behaviour as adults and continuing the negative cycle. A quote from an article in The Guardian said:

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “These trends are well established and the worrying thing is there is an increase from tournament to tournament. We have to ask – are perpetrators becoming increasingly confident? Are we seeing intergenerational abusers?

“One of the things that we are looking at is around learned behaviour and this is causing us concern. Are there now people who have seen their parent behave in this way during tournaments who now think it is acceptable for them to do the same?

Its got to the point now where concern over the rise in domestic violence during the World Cup (over 25% in Lancashire in 2010) is so significant that local authorities are running poster campaigns on bus stops and billboards, urging people not to be violent to their partners during this tournament.

I’ll just stop and let you absorb that for a moment.

We’re putting posters up to REMIND people not to abuse their significant other.

I’m sorry, but that scares the shit out of me. Has society really degraded to that point? Do we need to get the ladies in Waitrose to remind us; “Here’s your change, receipt and little green token, sir. Enjoy the match tonight and DO remember not to beat the living daylights out of your wife!”

I’m not making light of domestic violence or being glib about such a horrible situation but there’s no denying that the figures speak for themselves. What makes this even worse is that the increase is still only representative of the incidents which are actually reported…it’s estimated that 70% of domestic violence actually goes unreported, which means that the figures are nauseatingly higher than we really think they are. People are reluctant to report things because they think they won’t be taken seriously, or put themselves or their families in further danger. I have a good friend who used to be a constable in the Metropolitan Police and they’ve confided in us on more that one occasion that it’s unbearably disheartening to charge someone for a horrible, violent offence only for judges to hand out piffling, insultingly short sentences – is it any wonder people are too scared to report things when they know their abuser will be a free person within a matter of days?

I don’t know what the solution is here – I truly wish I did. All I know is, any kind of violence is wrong and we need to be doing more to teach our children this.

If you’re suffering any form of domestic abuse, be you male or female, straight, gay or anything else, you MUST get help. Refuge are an amazing charity which helps victims of domestic abuse and there are also lots of other charities working in specific areas who can help with emergency housing needs and much else besides. 

Our Liverpool Experience and Little Livers/Mighty Red Giveaway

It’s been a while since I posted the first part of our Liverpool Football Club experience but needless to say it’s all still fresh in our minds. I won’t follow up with a full-on match report, but suffice to say seeing Luis Suarez score his first home hat-trick was an unbelievable experience! The atmosphere during the match was like nothing I’ve ever encountered before – you can genuinely feel the excitement crackle in the air like a firework and watching the stadium erupt into cheering and song when someone scores is one of the most exhilarating moments of my life.

Liverpool vs. West Brom - facing the Kop

If you’re a Liverpool fan, or even just a football fan in general, you’ll know that the song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is really important to the club. It’s originally from the film ‘Carousel’, written in 1945 by Rodgers and Hammerstein, but was recorded by Liverpool legends Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963 and was adopted as a club song by the fans. I’ve heard it sung by the Kop end of the stadium on TV and in audio recordings hundreds of times, but standing in front of the Kop, singing along with 12,400 die-hard Liverpool fans and watching my daughter sing along was something I’ll never, ever forget.

We all left after that game feeling utterly elated. I’m so pleased that we got to have this experience as a family and I’ll be making more effort in the future to get us all there again (providing we can get our hands on tickets!). Now that Sausage has been to Anfield, it’s only right that her sister gets to go too!

Now, the good news is that I have 4 kids Liverpool FC membership packages available for you to win! Here’s the blurb:

Liverpool FC also offer special memberships for little ones, with Little Livers (0-3 years) or Mighty Reds (4–11 years) packages available. Tailored to suit each age range, both welcome packs are worth over £25 and come with great benefits such as an LFC birthday card, priority access to Barclays Premier League home games and the chance to become an LFC Mascot. The ideal birthday or Christmas gift for little ones.

All you have to do to win is leave me a comment below telling me who your little one’s favourite Liverpool player is and why. 

(winner will be chosen at random, giveaway closes at midnight on 11th December, no cash alternative will be offered. Prizes to be provided by LFC, Mum’s the Word accepts no liability for the provision of prizes)

The Ultimate Betrayal

I never thought that it would end the way it did, with me finding out that you’d been cheating behind my back. I honestly never thought you’d do it to me, I thought you were honest and true, a real family man. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. You’d been flirting and courting the Russian for some time, or so it seems. I think that’s the bit that hurt the most, the fact that you were saying all the right things to my face, making an effort and going out of your way to pledge your devotion to me, and then playing away. I feel so stupid.

And more than feeling stupid, I feel so bitter. You made me believe in you and then took it all away with an ease that I never expected from you, an ease which almost took my breath away. I HATE feeling this way, I’m almost as angry with you for turning me into this cynical, untrusting person as I am for the betrayal that you found so easy

So now I know what it is you’re really after, you want more than I can offer, more money, more glamour, a trophy. And I just cannot make those promises. Honesty, hard work and integrity. That’s what I have.

But it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, is it? Far from being the prize you thought you were, you’re langushing. Oh yes, I’ve heard about your performance problems, your inability to fulfill needs. And I can’t say I’m surprised. I was willing to love you in spite of all of that. But you threw it in my face.

Sure, you were good for me at the beginning, but at the end of our time together your heart clearly wasn’t in it, you were no longer interested, your eye already wandering. I should have known. I should have known.

Does it kill you to see me doing so well without you? I’ve had my ups and downs, but I think I’m on the right track now, headed towards happiness and success. And I did it without you. Better off without you. It’s taken me a while to realise it, I still catch my breath when I see the odd glimpse of you, here and there, and although you’ve put on a good front, I can see you aren’t entirely comfortable, being touted about town like a cheap trinket.

So fuck you, Fernando Torres. I hope you’re happy. But just know, you’ll never find another club like Liverpool Football Club or fans like ours. And I reckon you’re still kicking yourself, even now.

I’ve been wantng to write this for a while, but in the deafening cacophony that was the aftermath, I had trouble finding my voice. So here it is, dedicated to each and every Liverpool fan. YNWA.

EDIT

I’d love it if you could sign this petition, demanding full disclosure of all documents relatng to the Hillsborough Disaster, which will hopefully lead to justice for the 96 people who were tragically killed on that fateful day. You don’t need to be a Liverpool fan to sign, just a human being with a heart and a desire for the truth. We need 100,000 signatures in total and we’re just under 10,000 shy of that, so every name counts. Thanks.