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Briarcliff Soccer Coach Motivates With Fun Games

For Briarcliff youth soccer coach Sarah Dwyer-Shick, the most rewarding moments are when a child succeeds at a new sports skill.

"They can't do something yet and then they succeed at it. That little 'ah ha' moment is great to see," she said.

Dwyer-Shick has been coaching soccer for 15 years. She started while in college coaching summer soccer camps. Then after graduating, she coached at various colleges for 10 years until 2010 when she decided it was time to get back to basic levels by coaching children.

Dwyer-Shick was hired by Club Fit to coach in their youth soccer program, and through sports manager Tom Franbach, she gained connections to the Briarcliff Youth Soccer Club. The BYSC hired her to coach over 100 kids in U8 – U12, or under-eight through under-12, teams.

"It's been fun and refreshing to be with kids who just want to play," she said. "In college, they worry about other things."

Dwyer-Shick strives to teach skills in a fun way so that players learn without even being aware of what they are doing and trying.

"It's called guided discovery," she said. "For example dribbling games, players use a lot of foot skills but in a fun way so they don't necessarily realize what they're doing."

Other games that Dwyer-Shick uses with youth include Red Light Green Light where players move when the coach yells "Green Light" and freeze when the coach yells "Red Light," and Clean Your Room where players try to kick all balls into their opponent's side of the field.

"The games allow players to play as a team and also on an individual level," Dwyer-Shick explained. "They allow them to develop on their own at their own speed."

Playing soccer not only develops foot skills, but also gross motor skills and social skills, Dwyer-Shick said. She feels that playing sports at a young age is important for developing fitness and friends, especially these days when kids don't get as much free play time and time outdoors.

"We used to play in the street and yell 'car!' when a car came along so everyone would get out of the way," Dwyer-Shick said. "Kids don't do that anymore."

Aside from coaching in Briarcliff, Dwyer-Shick also trains goal keepers for the New York Patriots Nike Rush team in East Chester, a competitive girl's soccer team that has more than 20 players in the state Olympic Development program. And during summers, Dwyer-Shick teaches camps in Austria and in Brazil.

"Kids are kids no matter where you are," she said. "Physical activity and social interaction are huge for younger ages, as well as learning how to work together."

Dwyer-Shick played soccer competitively until she graduated from college. Her favorite soccer player is Julie Foudy, a retired former player for the Women's United Soccer Association who is a leader in ensuring that women get as much athletic education as men.

"I'm like jealous of the kids today. I wish I had had the kind of opportunities they have, especially for girls," she said. "Our uniforms were the boys' cast-offs."

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For Briarcliff youth soccer coach Sarah Dwyer-Shick, the most rewarding moments are when a child succeeds at a new sports skill.

“They can’t do something yet and then they succeed at it. That little ‘ah ha’ moment is great to see,” she said.

Dwyer-Shick has been coaching soccer for 15 years. She started while in college coaching summer soccer camps. Then after graduating, she coached at various colleges for 10 years until 2010 when she decided it was time to get back to basic levels by coaching children.

Dwyer-Shick was hired by Club Fit to coach in their youth soccer program, and through sports manager Tom Franbach, she gained connections to the Briarcliff Youth Soccer Club. The BYSC hired her to coach over 100 kids in U8 – U12, or under-eight through under-12, teams.

“It’s been fun and refreshing to be with kids who just want to play,” she said. “In college, they worry about other things.”

Dwyer-Shick strives to teach skills in a fun way so that players learn without even being aware of what they are doing and trying.

“It’s called guided discovery,” she said. “For example dribbling games, players use a lot of foot skills but in a fun way so they don’t necessarily realize what they’re doing.”

Other games that Dwyer-Shick uses with youth include Red Light Green Light where players move when the coach yells “Green Light” and freeze when the coach yells “Red Light,” and Clean Your Room where players try to kick all balls into their opponent’s side of the field.

“The games allow players to play as a team and also on an individual level,” Dwyer-Shick explained. “They allow them to develop on their own at their own speed.”

Playing soccer not only develops foot skills, but also gross motor skills and social skills, Dwyer-Shick said. She feels that playing sports at a young age is important for developing fitness and friends, especially these days when kids don’t get as much free play time and time outdoors.

“We used to play in the street and yell ‘car!’ when a car came along so everyone would get out of the way,” Dwyer-Shick said. “Kids don’t do that anymore.”

Aside from coaching in Briarcliff, Dwyer-Shick also trains goal keepers for the New York Patriots Nike Rush team in East Chester, a competitive girl’s soccer team that has more than 20 players in the state Olympic Development program. And during summers, Dwyer-Shick teaches camps in Austria and in Brazil.

“Kids are kids no matter where you are,” she said. “Physical activity and social interaction are huge for younger ages, as well as learning how to work together.”

Dwyer-Shick played soccer competitively until she graduated from college. Her favorite soccer player is Julie Foudy, a retired former player for the Women’s United Soccer Association who is a leader in ensuring that women get as much athletic education as men.

“I’m like jealous of the kids today. I wish I had had the kind of opportunities they have, especially for girls,” she said. “Our uniforms were the boys’ cast-offs.”

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