Soccer- Is Your Child Ready For Competitive Soccer?

Many soccer parents contemplate and wonder when is the right age for their children to start playing competitive soccer. To be honest, this question cannot be answered and is too generic. When will you as the parent be ready for your kids to play competitive soccer is a better question.

A bigger and stronger player has just injured your son on the field. How do you react? Do you run on the field protesting or do you start to yell abuse at the player. The question is this; your child will be ready to play soccer when you are ready to cope with all the ups and downs. Can it be simpler than this?

Young kids play soccer because it’s fun. They have no intentions of hurting another player or injuring them. Unfortunately that’s the nature of the sport and injuries are bound to happen. Can you handle this?

I’ve seen children as young as 5 participate in soccer and love every minute. The parents are very supporting and expect at times that their kids might get hurt. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed 10 year olds that cannot cope with the pressures of the game. Pressure from the over demanding coaches and parents make the sport unbearable even on the best of days.

The right age to play competitive soccer can be any age as long as you understand the variables that usually effect the enjoyment of the game. For starters, parents must accept that their children are going to get hurt and must learn to deal with it in a civilized manner. They must understand that soccer is a team sport and that their children are not going to be the center of attention.

If you as the parent can get this right, your child is free to play at any age, no problems. But make sure you’re ready to stand in the stands when your child needs you the most. Otherwise your child could be 20 years old and still not be ready for competitive soccer.

Think about it; are you ready for your child to play competitive soccer? I’m guessing your child was born ready to have fun, what’s the hold up.

Croquet – The Traditional Backyard Game – History and Rules of Croquet

Although many people think croquet is a gentle game for backyard picnics, it can be a fiercely competitive game of skill and strategy. Croquet is based on simple concepts that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Croquet is believed to have originated in France in the 1300’s. The name “croquet” appears to have come from a French physician who recommended the game to his patients as a form of rehabilitative exercise. He gave the game its name after the crooked stick used to hit the balls through the wickets. Croquet gained tremendous popularity throughout the British Empire and rules were formalized in 1868 in Wimbledon. Croquet became a popular, and sometimes fiercely competitive, game. However, the emergence of tennis cut short the popularity of croquet and most croquet fields throughout England became tennis courts. Despite this, croquet remains popular at back yard gatherings because of its roots, simple manner of play, and because people of all ages and skill levels enjoy the game.

Croquet is a very simple game. The field is made of nine wickets, or upside-down “u” shaped stakes and two end stakes set up as pictured. The object is for a player to start at one stake and work his or her way through the wickets as pictured, hit the stake at the opposite end, and work his or her way back until he or she hits the original stake. Whichever player achieves this goal first, wins. Each wicket passed through or stake hit scores 1 point. The winner will total 16 with each other player scoring somewhere under that.

The colors on the stakes and mallets determine playing order. Players can agree on an order or, more often, use a coin toss to determine order. Each hit is called a stroke; bonus strokes can be won by going through the proper wicket, hitting a stake, or hitting another ball. Hitting another ball is called roqueting. Single bonus strokes for the first two are played from where the ball lies. For roqueting, a player is awarded two bonus strokes and has several options on how to use them.

The player may choose to take his or her two bonus strokes from where the ball lies. He or she may choose to place his or her own ball a mallet head’s length away from the ball roqueted and take two strokes from there. The third and fourth options have the player place his or her ball and the ball roqueted side by side. From here the player may strike his or her own ball causing both to move or he or she may place the foot on his or her ball and hit it causing only the roqueted ball to move. In either case, he or she still has the second bonus stroke to take as he or she chooses.

There are many other options and variations to croquet, but no matter how you choose to play, the game is competitive, addictive, and fun for people of all ages.

Croquet: Adapting the Game for Your Back Garden

The problem that most of us have is that our back gardens do not exactly conform to the size and shape required for the traditional set-up required for the prescribed croquet game rules! Well, why not create your own version!

A croquet set will normally consist of the following: mallets, six hoops, different coloured balls, a peg with various different coloured rings on it and some clips. The better sets will have boundary pegs and corner flags included. All very well when you have the 25 by 38 yards rectangular, manicured piece of lawn as required in competition croquet; not so perfect if you have a long and thin, round, odd-shaped or garden full of other garden game equipment cluttering the lawn area. To complete the setting, grandpa insisted on planting your birthday rose right in the centre! Fear not, croquet game rules can be adapted to suit whoever is in control.

Instead of using yard lines and chalk lines forming the perfect rectangular croquet court, why not use the flower beds as the out-of-bounds lines? Instead of following the normal set pattern for the hoops and peg, why not set out your own obstacle course, where participants can get snookered behind the sandpit, or the supports of the climbing frame? We have created very interesting courses that are in all sort of shapes and lines, causing frustration and hilarity at the same time, entertaining players and spectators alike, for extended periods of time. Whether the circuit is completed once or more than once, who cares!

As long as the rules are laid down before the start of the game, everyone is in the same boat. Providing the croquet equipment used is the same for all participants, all you need is a sense of fun, a will to win and a mean streak, ensuring your opponent’s ball is in an uncompromising position after croquet was taken. An uneven piece of lawn will ensure that every shot has more than the usual dimensions to it and make planning shots ahead even more challenging. Just visualise how the contours and the lay of the land, influence the game of golf in shot selection and putting! We would not suggest that bunkers come into play in the game of croquet, but obstacles like trees, flower beds, garden furniture and other play equipment, bring challenges to the game that a flat, beautifully manicured lawn could not even dream to provide.

Croquet as a garden game can be enjoyed whether you are a nobleman with the appropriate lawns to enjoy, or the person with a postage stamp for a back garden. Croquet sets come in various sizes and prices; imagination we all have built-in at no cost already. Go outside, have a look at the croquet equipment and type of space you have to your disposal, grab a pen and paper and design the ideal course for you and your family and friends. Be mean but fair and set up your own set of croquet game rules and get stuck in for a fun time for all involved.