Formula helps coaches reach kids

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We all love to hear compliments from others. It typically inspires and motivates us to elevate ourselves with the tasks at hand.

Recently, a parent friend of mine named Scott volunteered to coach youth sports. Scott was asking my advice for a method to get kids to listen and be encouraged to learn the skills he was teaching.

Each year, there are a lot of new parent volunteer coaches and maybe this article might be of help. Also, parents just know I use this same technique on my own kids to get them to complete chores and other responsibilities.

The formula I’ve put together is as follows: compliment — explain problem or skill needed — solution — encouragement.

Let’s take youth soccer for our example. Little Bobby keeps kicking the ball with the front tip of his cleats, which is very common among beginners. I’ve been trying to teach him, but he’s not correcting the mistake.

I start off telling Bobby how impressed I am with his speed and how he is one of the fastest players on the team. But, if you would start kicking the ball on the proper placement of your cleats, then I could move you into a position to score points.

As long as you keep kicking with the front part of cleats, I’ll have to keep you in a defensive position. Bobby, you’re an amazing player and we are lucky to have you on our team. I know you can do this. Now, give me a high-five and show me what you’ve got.

I guarantee Bobby feels great about himself and starts doing his best to kick properly.

For all you youth soccer coaches, here’s a little trick that helps kids to kick properly.

I would put white medicine tape on the contact areas of cleats, so when they get dirty, the kids know the kicks were correct.

Now, when it comes to disciplining our kids, I’m sure most of us learned old-school methods from our parents, if you know what I mean. But, try my formula. It has worked very well for me to which my kids have learned to stay responsible.

Take action and change your life

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Typically we all have areas in our lives that need improving. We can make a choice to take action or no action. Whatever the results become, it’s from your decision.

I often hear from people complaining about being overweight, being in bad relationships and disliking their jobs. My first question is, “what steps have you taken to change it?

Sometimes we have to create a new chapter in our lives. This can be scary because it takes us out of our comfort zone and requires time and perseverance.

A few years back, there was a young man named Clay who had built his body into an impressive specimen. Clay was not happy with his current occupation and wanted to break into the fitness environment to become a personal trainer.

I introduced Clay to a gym owner who gave him an opportunity to chase his dreams. Clay started out very inspiring and was building a strong cliental. But once Clay became comfortable with his new lifestyle and income, he started slacking and taking time off. I even paid him to train my kids, but each week we didn’t know if Clay would show up or not.

Clay came to me depressed because he was losing business, and most of his clients started using other trainers.

I explained to Clay that when you’re chasing dreams, starting a business or improving areas of life, that it requires full focus and dedication. People are investing their hard-earned money and time in you. You have to be accountable at their request, not on your time.

Clay experienced that taking action changed his life, but his non-action led to failure and depression.

So, what area in your life needs improvements? Are you whining and complaining or taking action?

Trust your instincts and gut feelings. Put a plan in place and step out of your comfort zone. Taking the first step builds confidence to take another. Before you know it, you’ll be running to the end zone to score a touchdown on life.

I’m doing it. You can do it. We can all take action and create an amazing journey together.

Encourage kids to dream big

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Remember when we were kids with dreams of becoming movie stars, rock stars and professional athletes? But as we became older, the real world came crumbling down and our dreams faded away.

Why does that have to happen? Why can’t we live out the biggest dreams imaginable? Someone is doing it. Why not us?

When my son Dylan was 10 years old, he played Little League Baseball. After one of his amazing performances, the coach gave him the game ball. My dad, his grandpa, had Dylan autograph the ball and told him to practice signing baseballs because one day he’ll be a famous player.

That moment actually impacted me. I thought it was a great idea because Dylan dreamed of one day becoming a professional athlete. His biggest desire is to play in the NBA, for basketball is his passion.

When Dylan was in seventh grade and a star player for his school’s basketball team, he had a teacher who was the biggest LSU fan. Dylan happened to win an LSU basketball at the amusement park in Kemah. I had him autograph the ball, put the date on it and give to his teacher. I told him that one day you’ll be famous and that ball will be her treasure.

Dylan is now 17 years old and still has dreams of being involved in the NBA. I explained to him to keep those dreams because it will happen if you put in the work.

I let him know, LeBron James is a historian of the game. He knows the history and stats of all past players who paved the way to present day NBA.

Larry Bird was known to be at the basketball arena three hours before each game to practice all his shots.

Erik Spoelstra, the Miami Heat’s head coach, started out as a nobody breaking down the opponent’s film before Pat Riley gave him the break of a lifetime. As we all know, Spoelstra went on to coach in four NBA championships and won two of them.

Now it’s your turn to be a parent, and your children are having those same big dreams. Are you encouraging and supporting them? All kids want to make their parents proud, so embrace these special moments. Even if they don’t become NBA players, they’ll succeed in the game of life.

Our children are the future and a product from our parenting.

Determination can knock down barriers

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In 1995, I was the boys head soccer coach at La Marque High School. At that time, there had never been any girls teams.

Well, there was this one pesky little freshman girl named Mandi Tapia who kept bugging me to be in my boys soccer class. She even refused to go to her assigned P.E. class and argued with the counselors.

Eventually I sat Mandi down and explained that she could be in my class and join in all the training, but she would not be able to play this year. Instead she could be a manager and a ball chaser.

At first I tried to modify the workouts to be easier for a female. Mandi rejected the modifications and worked at the same pace as the boys. To my surprise, she applied more effort and determination with impressive skills than some of the other guys.

The following season, Mandi recruited two other young ladies named Kelly O’Dell and Selene Valdez to join the soccer class.

I was also a football coach during the 1990s state championship run under Alan Weddell. My soccer offseason program mimicked the same intensity we put those football players through.

If these young ladies want to compete against young men, they would need to prove their physical and mental toughness. Yet again, they stood the test with Mandi becoming one of the leaders.

Well, that season all three girls made the boys JV team and were the only females to play boys soccer in the entire district. Sometimes it was quite humorous to see opponents’ boys getting frustrated with girls scoring and slide tackling them.

These ladies taught me and their male counterparts that when you hit the field, there’s no boys and girls, just a bunch of determined athletes.

Because of their efforts and through Mandi’s leadership, these girls and I petitioned the school and added the first-ever La Marque girls soccer team in 1997.

Recently Mandi and I had an opportunity to talk and reflect back on those special years. Mandi told me her experience in my soccer program was influential in her becoming the successful woman she is.

But what I want Mandi Tapia to know is that once pesky little freshman girl influenced the way I’m raising my daughter.