How Can you Lead Even When They are Not in Charge

Life teaches us that the authority to lead and the chance to lead go hand-in-hand. Your kids may feel that when they’re given the authority—as team captain or co-captain—then they can truly be a leader on the team.

But that belief about leadership is not true. Leadership expert John Maxwell explains that “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

So, what does being a leader look like for your child—with or without the title or given authority—as they play sports?

Leaders feel empathy.
Maxwell also says this: Empathy is a core trait of an effective leader. This is the ability to show awareness of and compassion for the situation or needs of another.

Teammates are often drawn to an athlete who is an effective listener and an empathic confidant. When teammates feel that your child cares about them, they are more apt to follow your child’s example or at least listen to them.

Leaders are good communicators.
If your child really wants to be a leader, encourage their communication skills. Teach and model for them how to listen, how to ask questions, and how to calmly talk with coaches and teammates when problems arise.

I’ve been around a lot of kids who have no clue how to talk to adults. We purposely exposed our kids to plenty of adults when they were younger so they would learn how to relate to them. Does your child know how to confidently approach a coach and talk about a problem or issue?

Leaders look for opportunities to solve problems.
Athletes who blame others for mistakes and problems are not going to be seen as leaders. If your child refuses to play the blame game and instead looks for resolutions to problems, they will be seen more and more as a leader.

Leaders serve.
Given authority has nothing to do with being a true leader. Our society is full of examples of people who use their position as an opportunity to exert control over others. But leaders who are truly influential have learned the power of serving others. In serving others, they earn respect.

Ultimately, your child will be a leader because they influence teammates, and that influence comes through serving, solving problems, showing empathy, and communicating well. As your child helps the team to work together towards a shared goal, they will emerge as a leader. Leadership is more about influence and relationships than it is about control and giving orders.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions. You can find out more at

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5 Uncomfortable Truths That Parents Need to Accept About Their Teens

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/1/2021
For many parents, raising teens is the hardest season of parenting. It’s uncomfortable, messy, chaotic, and can make you question every parenting decision you make. Add to that the drama and trauma of youth sports and life can become very complicated. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising teens, there are some uncomfortable truths that every parent of a teen needs to acknowledge if they want to have any hope of coming out of the teen years with a good parent/child relationship.

Truth #1: Teens Still Need to Be Hugged – A Lot.

They may roll their eyes, hug you back with the enthusiasm of a wet rag, or may not hug back at all. Don’t let that deter you. Your teens need the physical touch of your love, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

Truth #2: Listen to Them on Their Terms.

If there’s one thing I learned in trying to communicate with my three kids as teens, it was that they weren’t always in the mood to talk. But when they were, if it was at all possible, the best thing for me to do was drop everything and listen. Even if it was late at night, while I was working, or busy in another conversation, I would do the best that I could to take advantage of their willingness to talk and excuse myself from other things just so that my ears were available.

When you’re in the middle of something and your child interrupts because they want to talk, it’s okay to say, “Hey, my child needs me right now, can I get back to you?” Most adults will understand. Kids, not so much.

Listening to our kids is not always convenient, but it is crucial to their perception of our love for them.

Truth #3: Teens Need to Have Hard Conversations with Parents

There are many hard conversations that you must have with your teen. They need to hear the truth from their parents about sex, drugs, drinking, online safety, bullying, cheating, depression, and much more. These conversations may not be easy and will most likely be awkward. But they are part of a parent’s job. Don’t turn that job over to peers, or even expect other adults to do your work. Others can confirm it and support it but be sure they are hearing it from you too.

Truth #4 Teens Need to Hear No.

Even while it’s important to hear your teens out, to understand their perspective, and to listen to their emotions in an effort to resolve issues together, there will be times when the one word your teen needs to hear after you’ve explained your perspective is NO.

I’ve known parents that try too hard to be liked by their teens, parents who have already given up and just let their kids do whatever they want, and parents who are just trying to keep peace in the house–and NO is a word they try to avoid using for fear of their teen’s reaction.

Be choosy about your NOs, yes, but if you know in your gut that NO is exactly what your child needs to hear in a certain situation, then say it! Be sure it’s accompanied with why you’re saying no, and reassurances of your love. Sure, they may be angry and hate you in the moment, but at some point, they will know deep down that a NO was your way of saying “I love you.”

Truth #5: Teens Will Rebel or Push Back and Parents Need to Be Okay with That.

Even the best-behaved teens will have their moments of rebellion or pushing back against Mom and Dad. As much as we’d like to raise trouble-free kids, the honest truth is that this contrariness is really okay.

There’s actually a reason for all their ornery behavior. During the teenage years, the area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is developing. This part of the brain is the thinking and judgment center. Whereas younger children may not see parental flaws, adolescents suddenly start to see the world differently.

Dr. David Elkind, a clinical psychologist and author of All Grown Up and No Place to Go, explains that all the arguing by teens is a result of the prefrontal cortex at work, and as a child becomes a teen, their brains are better able to turn information into ideas.

Teens want to exercise their new skill — and they tend to practice on their parents. It may seem that they argue for the sake of arguing. But really, they’re practicing their new abilities.

So the bottom line is this: your kids are growing into their ability to think and sometimes that results in pushing back or rebelling. Your job, then, is not to override their thinking, but to help them sort through their thinking and learn how to use that thinking in a positive and smart way.

I laugh when I read this quote: Raising teens is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.

The life of a parent raising teens is slippery, constantly changing shape, and near impossible to get a solid grasp on because as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, some new crisis arises. Start with these 5 uncomfortable truths and you will at least have the nail and hammer in hand. Good luck with the Jell-O.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions.

From Flirting With Relegation To Flirting With Europe

It’s the most exciting period at Aston Villa for a decade. Results are good, the league position is healthy, the owners continue to splash the cash and there is a genuine chance of a European adventure next season. Aston Villa moved within six points of the top four after an impressive victory over Leeds United on Saturday evening at Elland Road. It was a performance that epitomized Villa’s season showing great heart, clever tactics and a real shift in effort.

It’s been an incredible transition for Aston Villa since they survived on the last day of the season last Summer. Despite a good pre-season there were concerns going into this campaign they would have a similar experience but they were clever in the market bringing in players such as Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traore and Ross Barkley. There has also been improvement across the board with the likes of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa developing a solid partnership at the back. I also believe Dean Smith has evolved himself with tactical decisions and formation. He’s getting the best out of these players and it’s evident that him and John Terry have been working really hard on the training pitch with this defence, as that was an area I did think they would struggle with before the season started.

One of the keys to success for Villa this season has been keeping a very consistent lineup and set of players. Ten of their players have played in nineteen or more matches and nine of those players have played the bulk of the minutes. Most of us football fans tend to analyse the spine of the team when making assessment and that is something Villa do have and it’s been so effective no matter who they play. When I see Martinez, Mings, McGinn, Grealish and Watkins I see intensity and chances. Their variety of methods for scoring goals has been a key feature highlight, as they can utilize counter attacking, set-pieces, possession or pressing as a method of scoring. Their defensive stability as mentioned has been a good watch, led by two banks of four in a mid-block and their fantastic aerial ability at the back. What’s perhaps most encouraging of all for Villa is that they may very well keep hold of all of their players for another season, when in a normal non-COVID year, they might have secured a place in Europe only to lose some of the key men that helped them achieve the feat. For now, we can all enjoy watching Aston Villa, knowing that the coaching staff are doing a phenomenal job leading the club to better times.

A lot of these players finished 17th with this team last season but they’ve really shown tenacity especially in the early stages of the season. Results like the Liverpool game and the Leicester game really made a statement and showed what Dean Smith’s intentions will be this season, and that is to try and get this club playing European football again which they haven’t done since 2009.

History of the origins of football sport

Modern football originated in Britain in the 19th century. Since before medieval times, “folk football” games had been played in towns and villages according to local customs and with a minimum of rules. Industrialization and urbanization, which reduced the amount of leisure time and space available to the working class, combined with a history of legal prohibitions against particularly violent and destructive forms of folk football to undermine the game’s status from the early 19th century onward. However, football was taken up as a winter game between residence houses at public (independent) schools such as Winchester, Charterhouse, and Eton. Each school had its own rules; some allowed limited handling of the ball and others did not. The variance in rules made it difficult for public schoolboys entering university to continue playing except with former schoolmates. As early as 1843 an attempt to standardize and codify the rules of play was made at the University of Cambridge, whose students joined most public schools in 1848 in adopting these “Cambridge rules,” which were further spread by Cambridge graduates who formed football clubs. In 1863 a series of meetings involving clubs from metropolitan London and surrounding counties produced the printed rules of football, which prohibited the carrying of the ball. Thus, the “handling” game of rugby remained outside the newly formed Football Association (FA). Indeed, by 1870 all handling of the ball except by the goalkeeper was prohibited by the FA.

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The new rules were not universally accepted in Britain, however; many clubs retained their own rules, especially in and around Sheffield. Although this northern English city was the home of the first provincial club to join the FA, in 1867 it also gave birth to the Sheffield Football Association, the forerunner of later county associations. Sheffield and London clubs played two matches against each other in 1866, and a year later a match pitting a club from Middlesex against one from Kent and Surrey was played under the revised rules. In 1871 15 FA clubs accepted an invitation to enter a cup competition and to contribute to the purchase of a trophy. By 1877 the associations of Great Britain had agreed upon a uniform code, 43 clubs were in competition, and the London clubs’ initial dominance had diminished.

The development of modern football was closely tied to processes of industrialization and urbanization in Victorian Britain. Most of the new working-class inhabitants of Britain’s industrial towns and cities gradually lost their old bucolic pastimes, such as badger-baiting, and sought fresh forms of collective leisure. From the 1850s onward, industrial workers were increasingly likely to have Saturday afternoons off work, and so many turned to the new game of football to watch or to play. Key urban institutions such as churches, trade unions, and schools organized working-class boys and men into recreational football teams. Rising adult literacy spurred press coverage of organized sports, while transport systems such as the railways or urban trams enabled players and spectators to travel to football games. Average attendance in England rose from 4,600 in 1888 to 7,900 in 1895, rising to 13,200 in 1905 and reaching 23,100 at the outbreak of World War I. Football’s popularity eroded public interest in other sports, notably cricket.

Leading clubs, notably those in Lancashire, started charging admission to spectators as early as the 1870s and so, despite the FA’s amateurism rule, were in a position to pay illicit wages to attract highly skilled working-class players, many of them hailing from Scotland. Working-class players and northern English clubs sought a professional system that would provide, in part, some financial reward to cover their “broken time” (time lost from their other work) and the risk of injury. The FA remained staunchly elitist in sustaining a policy of amateurism that protected upper and upper-middle class influence over the game.

The issue of professionalism reached a crisis in England in 1884, when the FA expelled two clubs for using professional players. However, the payment of players had become so commonplace by then that the FA had little option but to sanction the practice a year later, despite initial attempts to restrict professionalism to reimbursements for broken time. The consequence was that northern clubs, with their large supporter bases and capacity to attract better players, came to prominence. As the influence of working-class players rose in football, the upper classes took refuge in other sports, notably cricket and rugby union. Professionalism also sparked further modernization of the game through the establishment of the Football League, which allowed the leading dozen teams from the North and Midlands to compete systematically against each other from 1888 onward. A lower, second division was introduced in 1893, and the total number of teams increased to 28. The Irish and Scots formed leagues in 1890. The Southern League began in 1894 but was absorbed by the Football League in 1920. Yet football did not become a major profit-making business during this period. Professional clubs became limited liability companies primarily to secure land for gradual development of stadium facilities. Most clubs in England were owned and controlled by businessmen but shareholders received very low, if any, dividends; their main reward was an enhanced public status through running the local club.