Thursday, 29 January 2015

Frozen



If you have anybody under waist height, and by that, I of course mean a child! Then you would have undoubtably had the lyrics of Frozen blasted out at full volume at some stage over the winter period. I only know that too well myself, sadly, my sister is 30 years old. 

However, I bet you don't know the original lyrics, do you? Oh yes. 'Let it go?' No, thank you very much. Learn the true words to this masterpiece…

The balls are red and white on our ship tonight, 
Not a pirate to be seen.
A kingdom of fun and football, 
The best place I've ever been.
The wind is howling out there, 
Thankfully we're inside.
My team all around me, 
My coaches by my side.
Come on join in, come in and see.
We have fun and it's pressure free
Relax, enjoy, we'll let you know!
Well, now you know!

Score a goal, score a goal!
Celebrate and score some more.
Score a goal, Score a goal!
Their learning is at our core.
We have fun, that's what people say 
Let it all begin.
The coaches are ready anyway!

All together now...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Focus on fun


We have been very busy this week creating new games for your little superstars. Our Little Kickers elves have had their creative hats on and built some great new games.

All our games focus on a certain element of the game. That could include weight of pass, awareness of space and even dribbling. To the untrained eye it can be a little difficult to work out the skills involved in each session. Rest assured that is very deliberate! We work hard to create imaginative and engaging sessions that focus on fun. If all the children need to focus on is having fun, there the learning comes naturally.

So when they are really learning a 'drag back' or how to turn into space, all they are thinking is that they need to avoid the naughty pirate and his ball stealing dragons.

Children learn best when they are having fun. We have a LOT of fun!


www.LittleKickers.co.uk


Monday, 26 January 2015

#GameFace


We absolutely LOVE seeing your photo's that you send us.

Not that we need reminding, but it demonstrates how important Little Kickers has become to the children. As many of you tell us, it's the highlight of their week. Our coaches understand that responsibility and work very hard to ensure each session is fun and engaging, which then gives them the perfect platform to continually develop, challenge and progress the children's learning.

Look at this little superstar who was ready for LK at the weekend!




Remember, you can send in your #GameFace photos to us on Facebook (Facebook.com/LittleKickers) or on Twitter (@LittleKickers). We can't wait to see them.

That's all for now
db



Sunday, 25 January 2015

The FA Cup


Well, it's fair to say the FA Cup is alive and well!

Although not upsets today, I think we had enough of them on Saturday to ensure the magic of the cup lives on for another year! Unquestionably, one of the best competitions in the world of football.

Bradford winning is one thing, but beating a Chelsea side who are so dominant at home from 2-0 down is incredible. I was lucky enough to have Phil Parkinson (Bradford manager) at a young age with his time at Reading. A proper football man and above all else, an incredibly nice guy. Again, sorry for sounding like I am dropping another name, unashamedly I am, so just deal with it….!

Arsenal and Man United appear to be favourites now. With the inconsistent seasons they've had, for them to be favourites just shows how many big teams have gone out already. Although, I wouldn't put it past 'Big Sam' at West Ham to cause an upset. He has embedded a resialiance and relentlessness about the 'ions' play.

A cup that I have loved from a very young age. I am so pleased to see it alive and kicking.


Friday, 23 January 2015

An Ode To Football


By Daniel Brownlie
Having just returned from watching Cambridge Vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, it's fair to say my love of the competition is still burning bright. OK - it may not have been the most entertaining of matches, but realistically it was never going to be. Unless Cambridge had sneaked a last minute winner, or United had scored an early goal, it was never going to be a classic. It started as a bit of a tennis match and ended up like bowling! With United camping in their half and despite poking at their back line, to their credit, the cambridge defence did not break. I love the FA Cup. For anyone that thinks the 'magic of the cup' has died, you only have too look at the Cambridge fans at the end of the game. It was as if they'd won the thing! 
I love Football. 
Here is, an ode to football...
This is football:
Yes, jumpers for goalposts in your local park,
With the lamp-posts as your floodlights,
And no-one watching but the stars.
This is football:
Where the groundstaff cut grass with a barber's care,
Where the terraces forever sing hymns to their favourite players.
This is football:
Hot coffee in the stands on midweek nights,
This is players squaring up,
But never actually starting fights.
This is football:
Each battle lasts an hour-and-a-half,
It's that war of rival scarves,
You can fight fair, or plunge to grass.
This is football:
Imitating that voice that reads Final Score,
This is transfer-window shopping,
It's Deadline Day on Sky Sports.
This is football:
Last in that half-time queue for the loo then food,
This is Sir Geoff Hurst on Wembley's turf in destiny's pursuit.
This is football:
Humming Match of the Day's theme tune as it starts,
Keeping your head down from thirty yards, and shivering crossbars.
This is football
This is panic,
Your defenders scrambling back,
When they realised the other team sitting deep,
Was just a trap.
This is football, this is football:
Cracked shin pads and all,
It's the innocent protest,
It's the "I barely touched him, ref!"
This is football:
This is not just 4-4-2 or 4-3-3,
This is what you do when you go one player down, and then concede.
This is football:
This is that banter you get at away grounds,
Which when you score that last-minute winning goal,
Is not so loud.
This is football:
Cup tie,
You've gone to penalties to sever the knot,
But your guts are all you've got,
And sudden death now marks the spot.
This is football:
Not prawn sandwiches,
You can find it in all languages,
It's your spilled pint in the pub,
When your team goes one-nil up.
This is football:
This is that fanzine which calls it harsh but fair,
This is catching coaches, planes and trains since your club needs you there.
This is football:
Practised against the wall, and in the hall,
It's those concrete playground moves,
That have ruined all your shoes.
This is football:
Lugging your team's laundry home from Sunday league,
This is playing online tournaments until sleep intervenes.
This is football:
It's a very big deal,
You can ask Bill Shankly,
It's that click-clack of the turnstile,
It's that Gazza-needs-a-hanky.
This is football:
Brought to you by The Football Association,
Formed in the Tavern of Freemasons,
One-fifty years in the making.
This is football:
Of all the sports, this is our nation's favourite,
And we speak to celebrate it,
So if you have a drink, please raise it.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Martin Odegaard



By Daniel Brownlie

On a day that 16 year old Martin Odegaard signs a contract for Real Madrid, I wondered what I was doing at the same stage of my life! I can say with absolutely clarity that whatever I was doing, I was not earning $80,000 a week for the pleasure of it. As much as my boss values my work (I can only hope this to be true) I don't think anything I could do would be valued at that kind of money. 

Odegaard came to prominence last year when he became the youngest player to appear and score in the Norwegian Premier League. He scored five goals and contributed seven assists in 23 appearances for Stromsgodset. Not a bad return for any midfielder, especially such a young guy!
His achievement has been produced from a magnificent work ethic in combination with natural talent that has been nurtured and honed with skill, care and attention. He appears to be a mature young man who has his feet on the ground, whether this will remain the case when the introduction of such large amounts of money and being poured into your lap!
It's an interesting thought, that now Little Kickers has been in existence for over 10 years now, the older children that started with us will now be approaching the same age. While many 16 year olds struggle lifting their head up from their iPhones (say's me writing on one!) this lad is training with the worlds elite and living his dream! Let's hope our children find their passion and talents and continue to progress. 
Lastly, if you do sign for Real Madrid, don't forget about us!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Day 3: #YourTurnChallenge When I grow up...



By Daniel Brownlie

@LittleKickers

'When I grow up I want to be a footballer' 

Now, you're not to know this but when I originally wrote the above line my auto-correct changed that to 'When I grow up I want to be a foot taller' which was also true. In fact, its partly the reason I never succeeded as a footballer. At least, that was the polite excuse that my then manager, Brendan Rogers, gave me.

Hang on, let me just pick up the name that I just dropped.

Realistically, I just wasn't good enough. There was a stage in my life when I was expected to make it, but for whatever reason, I didn't progress at the same rate I did in my earlier years. I would practice for hours and hours, every day, although I never regarded it as practice, I just enjoyed kicking a ball. It has almost formed my identity. Football has taught me everything, discipline, organisation, work ethic, team work, how to deal with lows, how to deal with highs. The list is, honestly, endless. 

There were a few reasons for my obsession. My Dad for one, he was as equally obsessed with the sport, although that has been somewhat diluted now, as he likes to put it, 'they spend more time on their ass then they do playing!' The other was that Football was my route to friendship. I was never blessed with natural confidence, my sister was, she was very 'jazz hands' and although I am still haunted by the video when she convinced me to wear her tutu and help her perform her show for the family, I never had confidence. The other reason was that I lived (and still live) in a very rural village. My next door neighbour is a cow. I mean, an actual cow, not a horrible person! So whilst others were going to the cinema at the weekend, I was kicking my football against a wall. Although, I must admit when it was raining despite my Mum saying 'don't play football in the house' I still managed to sneak it in. Inevitably, I broke a lot. A LOT! My dog, Scooby, took a lot of the blame for that, poor lad.  

Confidence found me through football. I realised if I was good at that, then it would open up doors for lines of communication and have a huge social impact. I am a firm believer that Football is a universal language. You could sit a group of people in a room, switch the football on, and despite not one of them understanding the lexicon of any other, they would be able to talk 'Football'. I remember when on holiday parking up my bike and standing a good 20 yards from the nearest football pitch when a make shift game was going on. I waited in hope that the ball would bounce it's way towards me, to which I could then pelt the ball back with pin point precision in hope that they would invite me to play! 
Although I have had other passions, photography as an example, my career in that though was a bit a of a blur, (not too dissimilar to the photos I was taking!) it was very short lived. 

If you haven't guessed already, I kinda fell in love with football. I appreciate most sports, more recently Basketball. I love everything about it, it's power to bring people together, it's power to separate, it's power to drive conversation. One decision by a referee could cause four of five different opinions yet all are seemingly valid. 

I was very lucky to have found a job where we inspire the next generation of footballers. Little Kickers has established a unique and unrivalled way of teaching children the wonderful world of Football. Learning the FUNdamental skills that can be utilised both on and off the pitch in an imaginative and engaging way. Built in a manner, that we hope, will establish a life long love of football, and sport more generally. More than creating footballers, I hope our young superstars develop the same confidence that I found through football.  

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Mind The (generation) Gap


By Daniel Brownlie

Well it's finally happened. I'm old. 

For the first time in my life I witnessed a generation gap that didn't involve me being the youngest. 
Picture the scene… I am sat on the train in the 6 seater area, with a parent and toddler and a teenager listening to noise (it wasn't music that's for sure!). As I pop open the lid of my lunchbox, that's when the interest started, I have their undesired attention. I lift out my very basic ham sandwich, place it on the bottom of the lid (that is now acting as a tray) and open my rectangular sandwiches.

...I may have lost half my audience here, I know some people can be quite precious about the shape of their sandwiches. I have never really understood the appeal of the triangular approach. 

This ladies and gentleman is where the magic began…

Aha! I remember that I have a packet of cheese and onion crisps in my bag. I quickly shuffle around my bag to find them, open them up and begin to lace the inside of the ham sandwich with my crisps in a Tetris styled frenzy to ensure full coverage. 

I look up to see the toddler looking at me as if I was his new guru, 'teach me oh great one', he could already appreciate the magic of the crisp filled sandwich. His life was never to be the same again. 

I then look across to the teenager, who has even taken an ear piece out to pause for thought. Utter disgust. This poor creature was unaware of the simplistic beauty of a crisp filled sandwich. He looked at me with eyes that can only be described as the eyes you give a man who farted in the lift who then tries to look around for blame. 

Farting in lifts, is wrong on every level (find the joke in there, its a beauty!) 

It's fair to say, he wasn't impressed.

And then the parent, who was of a similar age to myself, looked at me and closed her eyes and began slowly nodding with the utmost appreciation. I could see she wanted to stand up and create a standing ovation. It's ok, kind woman, I know your love. You and your child can bathe in my glory! Go forth and create plentiful crisp sandwiches and spread the word. 

*Disclaimer*

Please eat responsibly. I accept no responsibility for your future addiction or obesity levels. Crisp sandwiches are to be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Monday, 19 January 2015

#YourTurnChallenge



By Daniel Brownlie
www.LittleKickers.co.uk

I am a human. Although my particular genetic make-up some would doubt my first utterance, but I fear I just about qualify. I fully expect you, the reader, to be a human as well. Forgive me for assuming, however unless the monkey and the typewriter theory also applies to pre-written language, I think it's a pretty safe assumption. 

I always feel it's important to relate to your reader, to gain a connection, an understanding. As we already have an established link, that we are both human, we can continue with my miserable meandering witterings. I warn you in advance, there are no facts within this 'blog', in fact around 87% of all my stats will be made up. 

As a human, we have a lot in common, apparently. We will all have fears, highs and lows, and especially for the British amongst you lovely lot, when asked the question is the cup half full or half empty? You would rather know what is in the cup before responding. Above all else, we are driven by two main instincts: desire and the need to avoid loss. Take any moment in your life that bares any importance, I would guarantee that it could be catagorised within one of the two. Both elements are so deeply engrained within our tired little minds, that areas outside of those realms seem a little pointless. We all want, we all desire. It's the burning ambition to be better, discover and progress. Although, away from the dramatic cinematic approach, it could be that you just fancy a donut. Either way, desire will always prevalent in whatever circles we move in. 

The need to avoid loss can sometimes be more important than winning. Unless by avoiding losing, you are in fact winning. Relationships as an example. When you have something you desire, you can love it that much that your fear of losing it can be a more common feeling. 

Now if you are expecting a clever, inception styled twist during these next few words, you are very much mistaken. The reason for this blog is the second element of my very basic human instinct. A colleague and friend has challenged us to take part in the 'Your Turn' challenge. A challenge that I accepted, not through desire, but because I refuse to lose. As Sir Alex Ferguson once said, 

'I never lose, I simply occasionally run out of time'

So the challenge awaits. 7 days of blogging commences today. Truth be told, I genuinely enjoy writing. I find it quite cathartic, which apparently is a similar feeling that many well known serial killers experience...

I am hoping that this blog does not start me off on a killing spree. 

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