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Steve Long

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Steve Long is CEO of InterSoccer, which offers football courses and holiday camps for two to 13-year-olds in Geneva, Vaud, Basel, Zug and Zurich. Steve first came to Switzerland in 2001 as an event and grassroots manager for UEFA, before co-founding InterSoccer in 2007. He loves all sports, especially football, snowboarding, tennis, golf and mountain biking. Originally from Nottingham, UK, he still supports The Mighty Reds - Nottingham Forest.

Link: www.intersoccer.ch


By Steve Long, InterSoccer, and Olivia Higgs, Intern

Covid-19 has made life a little hectic for all families the past few months, to say the least. Sports and Leisure Camps have finally been given the green light to go forward and InterSoccer Fun Football Camps are now up and running for the summer as well as many quality camps in the area. Our excitement for outdoor sports remained, we have never been happier to be back!

Being a parent is difficult as it is, but all camp organizers have ensured that health and safety measures are meeting the community guidelines. Following directives from the Swiss government, your children’s safety will be paramount this summer as everyone looks to get back to normal life.

Lockdown pushed families to the limits. Nonetheless, times are changing and slowly progressing to get everyone back to our normal routines. It’s important for this summer to make sure that your children are staying fit, healthy and most importantly of all, happy and having fun.

For children, after such a long period of time without social interaction and seeing their best friends, a perfect way is to pass some of the holiday is to join some of the fantastic summer camps on offer in the region.

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Photo: www.luisfaustino.com

By Steve Long, InterSoccer

Can you put your hand on your heart and say that your child does a whole hour of sport or physical activity, every single day of the week?

If he or she attends school in Switzerland, whether public or private, it is likely that he or she takes part in gym, swimming, walking and other activities on most weekdays during term time. However, on weekends and in the school holidays, the responsibility falls to us parents to make sure that our children are active enough. Suddenly we have to factor entertaining our children into our daily lives, alongside other responsibilities such as work, shopping, cooking and housework. Is it always possible to provide them with the time and circumstances to do this amount of exercise?

Last week the government in my home country of England announced plans to give all children greater opportunities to be active in school, after school, and during weekends and holidays. Research has shown that less than one in five children in England do the recommended daily amount of 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and one third do less than 30 minutes a day.

There are, as yet, no such national figures for children under the age of 10 in Switzerland. But the 2007 Swiss Health Survey revealed that 35% of the population over the age of 15 are insufficiently active, and 16% are entirely inactive. If trends in Switzerland are following those in other European countries, those figures have probably risen in the past 12 years.

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A good coach will know how to put shy children at ease, photo by Alexia Linn

By Steve Long, InterSoccer

“I never wanted to be one of those dads who drags his son to football,” said a friend to me the other day. “Yet here I am.”

He watched frustrated as his five-year-old son ran around the outskirts of the pitch, played with a ball on his own, trailed after the sister of a classmate who was on rollerskates, and basically did anything possible to avoid taking part in the local club lesson.

“I used to be a football coach,” went on my friend. “I hated those dads who forced their kids to take part. What do you think I should do?”

I took a moment to think. While I’ve experienced pushy parents trying to force their child to do a sport he or she is not comfortable with, my friend didn’t seem like one of them.
Many children are reluctant or shy the first time they try football. No matter how much they enjoy the lesson once it starts, for the first few times it is likely to take some careful persuasion for them to get ready and raring to go.

But at what point is it okay to have to employ negotiating skills to encourage their participation, and when should you call it a day and let them give up?

A key point to consider is your own reasons for wanting them to play. Is it because you think that once they get over their initial nerves they will enjoy and develop through the lessons, or is it because you like the idea of having a child who plays in a football team?

David Beckham famously has allowed his three sons to stop playing football, though he said it was “heartbreaking” to accept that they did not share his passion for the sport. Happily, his daughter is keen to continue.

good coach buddy

Buddy, a veteran InterSoccer coach

By Steve Long, InterSoccer

What does it take to make a good children’s football coach? 
Gone are the days when trainers used to think it was a good idea to focus only on the children with an obvious talent, and ignore the less natural or confident players. 

Now it is accepted that a coach’s job is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow their skills in a supportive and encouraging environment, thereby developing into confident and well-rounded young adults, whether or not they choose to play sports beyond grassroots level.

So what does it mean to coach Generation Z?
And how can you make sure you succeed as an outstanding coach? For many people their first experience of coaching is during adolescence, helping out at their local football club or grassroots organisation where they learned to play themselves.

However, just because you know how to play football, doesn’t mean you already have the soft skills needed to teach it.

If you are just starting out, whether as a teenager or perhaps as a parent helping at your child’s school, follow these principles of coaching and you can’t go wrong.

1. Know your football. Almost as soon as they start learning to play – and sometimes beforehand– many children love to watch live matches on television with their families. Help them to learn the rules of the game by discussing what they saw next time you meet them.

2. It goes without saying that to teach football, you have to play well. If you are no longer in a team, sharpen up any rusty skills by joining a friendly five-a-side and try to remember what it felt like to believe that one day you could end up playing for your country.

3. Have the patience to teach techniques from scratch. Good teaching is being able to explain something you have done thousands of times, at the right pace for someone who has completely fresh eyes and probably needs several attempts to understand the concept.