Monthly Archives

September 2012

Finishing: The Driven Shot

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Although scoring isn’t everything, you can’t win games without it.

Over the past few years I’ve worked really hard at trying to become dangerous with my dribbling, passing, touch, moves etc. One of my goals for this year is to “up” my scoring percentage. When the game requires me to pass, I’ll pass, but when the game requires me to shoot, I must score. The past couple weeks, I’ve put in some extra time working on the technical side of my “driven shot” – the one that is direct, low to the ground, has pace and destroys the back of the net.

Here are some things I’m thinking about when working on this particular shot…

1. Confidence & Composure
If I believe I’m going to score, chances are more likely that I will.

2. Hips Square to the Goal
Imagine a triangle belt around your hips (kind of like an arrow that points forward). The direction I point the arrow has a lot to do with it with where the ball will go. If my hips aren’t square to the net, I could slice the ball and miss the shot.

3. Run Onto the Ball with Pace
This helps generate momentum when I kick the ball.

4. Plant “Non-Kicking” Foot Next to the Ball
My non-kicking foot also helps me with my aim. For a driven shot, my planted foot needs to point in the direction I want the ball to go. If my planted foot is too far forward, I’ll drive the ball into the ground. If my foot is too far back, I’ll loft the ball into the air.

5. Toe Down, Heel Up
Imagine using a hotdog to pound a nail into a board. It doesn’t work. It’s the same way with kicking the ball. I’ve got to point my kicking foot and lock my ankle.

6. Chest Over the Ball
If my chest is over the ball when I kick it, the ball will stay closer to the ground. If my chest is back, the ball will typically lift.

7. Strike with Laces, Follow Through
I need to strike with the heart of my foot and keep my kicking foot going in the direction I want the ball to go.

New Soccer League: Kenya

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Last year I sent some soccer balls to Jason Hovingh in Kenya. He used them to launch a cool soccer league that is now growing and really making a big difference.

Ethan: What inspired you to start the new program?
Jason: We asked ourselves, “what could we start that would encourage young people?” We came up with the idea of a soccer league. I knew we had enough soccer balls, thanks to Charity Ball!

Ethan: Tell us about the kids who are involved.
Jason: There are over 130 youth who are participating in the league so far. They all come from the nearby communities that are very poor. Most play barefoot, but dream of one day having their own cleats. Each team was given a ball from Charity Ball.

Ethan: How does the league work?
Jason: We have 12 teams and a lead committee that governs the league. Games are played on the weekends and teams play each other twice. 3 points are awarded for a win and 1 point for a tie. We have volunteer refs and linesmen. There are vendors who sell snacks and sodas, so the spectators have been numerous.

Ethan: What are you hoping to accomplish with the program?
Jason: We hope to point the players to God and encourage lifestyles that are responsible.

Ethan: What has the experience been like for you?
Jason: I have been surprised how many teams sprung up to join the league. I am also surprised how many spectators come to watch. I recently injured my ACL in a soccer match, and later had surgery. I was surprised how compassionate the people in the league were to me. They would run and get me a chair to sit on while I arrived on crutches to watch the matches and hang out with the youth. The assistant chief commented on Monday that the crime rate has gone down since the league started.

Jason shared with me that he would love for all 130 kids to have their own soccer balls. Jason, we’re going to help you make that happen. Keep up the great work!

Canton Celtic: Sharing the Beautiful Game

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After Michigan ODP tryouts last summer (2011), I stopped by a cool soccer shop in Canton MI. called Soccer World. I met up with owner, Dillon Sana, and we talked a little bit about Charity Ball. He seemed to be pretty jazzed about the project and said they would help us spread the word. Charity Ball has grown quite a bit since then.

A few weeks ago, I was on the other side of the state and thought it would be good to stop in and give him an update. Dillon and I talked for a little while. He mentioned that Soccer World supplies kits to Canton Celtic, a local youth premier and MRL club.

At the time, Soccer World was working on donating some backpacks to one of the Canton teams. On our way out the door, he made a phone call to Dan McEvily, (club manager for Canton Celtic) and pitched the idea of having the club get involved with Charity Ball on some level. At some point, Canton Celtic decided to make a contest out of Soccer World’s contribution. They decided to host a can/bottle drive for the boys & girls U13 and U14 teams. All the money raised from the drive would be donated to a charity of choice, and the team who raised the most money would receive the backpacks from Soccer World. Smart thinking!

In just one week, the girls U13 Black team raised $2,253.26 and won the contest! Altogether the U14 and U13 soccer teams raised $7,028.97. Do the math. That’s 702,897 cans. Amazing!

I talked to the U13 team manager, Lisa Melnick and she said, “As a mom, it was a rewarding experience to see my daughter working so hard to help other kids.” Lisa’s daughter Hailey  (who plays on the girls U13 team) helped make it happen. “It was fun and a great bonding experience. The best part was knowing that the money we were raising would go to help kids in Africa,” she said. The girls were so glad they could help kids in disadvantaged situations by doing something as simple as collecting bottles for change.

I just so happened that both of our teams were playing in the same West Michigan tournament last weekend. It was the perfect place to meet up. The girls presented Charity Ball with a check and I presented them with some CB T-shirts, patches and decals.

Big thanks to: Soccer World, Dan McEvily, Bill Joker, Lisa Melnick, The Canton Celtic Youth Soccer Slub – especially the U14/U13 teams. Because of your efforts, several hundred kids in Africa will receive brand new soccer balls. The best part is yet to come. Stay tuned.

Soccer World LogoCanton Celtics, Charity Ball