Pure Game https://thepuregame.org Life Played At Full Potential Fri, 19 Jul 2019 17:28:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://thepuregame.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/purelogo-coach-150x94.png Pure Game https://thepuregame.org 32 32 A very different kind of Spring Break https://thepuregame.org/a-very-different-kind-of-spring-break/ https://thepuregame.org/a-very-different-kind-of-spring-break/#respond Fri, 05 Apr 2019 21:31:58 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2696 Spring Break camps are in full swing. Pure Game partners with the District Attorney’s office and the local police departments. The Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP) partners with local schools to engage kids in healthy, life improving activities.

We may not think there is anything wrong with Spring Break. But if you live in areas where gangs and criminal activities are outside your front door, then being off school for a year can be a challenge.

It’s not just about keeping kids off the streets and busy, but also about giving them tools to make positive life choices.

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What if you have the perfect snippet of advice? https://thepuregame.org/what-if-you-have-the-perfect-snippet-of-advice/ https://thepuregame.org/what-if-you-have-the-perfect-snippet-of-advice/#respond Fri, 05 Apr 2019 16:56:20 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2688 Did you listen to your parent’s advice when you were a kid? Did you do everything they recommended you do? Was the help they gave you worth following? Or did you want to experience the world for yourself?

I get it, there is a scale through which we operate. Some of the advice we listened to and some we ignored. Sometimes we felt the rush of risk-taking was worth it and so jumped in, and other times we heard that voice inside our head and chose to follow the sensible advice of our parents. Some of us went all in with our parent’s, while others went our own way.

Is it so wrong for children to experience life on their own with no input from adults? There is a belief in some African nations that we have no control over the youth, they will turn out as they turn out. The idea is based on the thought of a young tree sapling that is blown by the elements as it grows. Some will grow to be healthy and robust, while others grow wild and crazy. Either way, it is up to the child to figure out his path in life. Maybe this is taking it too far, but it does have a certain poetic ring.

Maybe our job as coaches, teachers and parents is to be the stake that holds a young tree up as it establishes itself in the soil. We stand strong helping it grow straight up. We hold our ground in the storms of life and guide it through those early and often turbulent years. We give it room to grow while working to be flexible enough to move with the growth.

So, a question to ask might be, what do we want in our children’s future? Do we want them all to be earning millions, living in big houses, driving nice cars at the cost of some common human decency? Or would we rather children grow up with a little less material possessions but have a good sense of positive values, live lives that matter, and be good honest, respectful human beings?

Not that both wealth and a good human existence can’t be gained. But, there does exist an emphasis on achievement over contentment with life.

A recent research project surveyed parents and asked what they want for their children. A large number of those surveyed wanted their children to be good, decent human beings and weren’t that concerned with grades. The researchers then asked the children about what they thought their parents wanted from them. The results were the complete opposite, they thought the main focus was on getting high grades, going to a decent college, and getting a well-paid job.

Are we creating a clear message for our children to understand what we want for them? Do our children have a clear sense of purpose and meaning in this fast, busy, noisy world?

I don’t believe they do. I think they are confused and lost. I know many children have issues with not believing they are good enough. This is certainly true for the children Pure Game work with.

To combat this, Pure Game works hard to think about advice that will help children succeed in life. We work hard to put this into a curriculum, to help them navigate the challenges of life. But what if they don’t want to hear it, what then?

That is a question that has me staring up at the ceiling in the wee hours of the night. My thoughts often become self-defeating and hopeless. But then I realize we are at least doing something. All we can do sometimes is put stuff out there and hope it sticks.

This is where YOU can help!

The Pure Game staff has a limited amount of advice, life lessons, and experiences to pull from. We need more.

Take a moment to answer one or all of the following questions:

  1. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give to your childhood self?
  2. What is the biggest lesson you have learned this year?
  3. What did your parents teach you?
  4. What is one thing you want to teach your kids?

Either leave a comment below or email me your advice. You will become an Impact Champion because your answers will be passed on to the kids of Pure Game. You will create an impact in a child’s life and all from the comfort of your own laptop.

Thank you

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Stay Connected https://thepuregame.org/stay-connected/ Fri, 29 Mar 2019 15:24:15 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2685 [ctct form=”2684″]

The Monsters Inc. Effect https://thepuregame.org/the-monsters-inc-effect/ https://thepuregame.org/the-monsters-inc-effect/#respond Tue, 19 Mar 2019 15:25:27 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2676 My most significant learning since starting to work with youth is the importance of positivity. Having an intentional attitude around creating a positive environment is something we can all work toward. When working with kids, it is the most significant factor in making great connections and helping kids learn.

What would youth sport look like if we set a goal of developing good human beings as opposed to creating elite athletes? By deliberately switching the approach we can engage more kids and create more of an impact.

Youth sports organizations spend a great deal of time focusing on skills, drills, teams, and leagues. It is this all too familiar system that creates the adverse effects of power alliances and the win at all cost mentality. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for this, but I believe it belongs later in age and at the elite end of the sporting experience.

Kids play a sport for fun, friends, and exercise, they do not need to be treated like pro athletes.

At Pure Game, we base everything we do in the power of positive behavior reinforcement and encouragement. I like to call this the Pure Game “Monsters Inc.” effect (Yes, Disney’s movie). In this movie, the monster used fear and intimidation to create power for the world in which they live. However, when Sully met Boo, the protagonists, they discovered that giggles and laughter produced more power. The establishment fought against this new finding but ultimately lost.

I wonder how much the establishment fights against this very same idea in the world of youth sport?

It is the fun engaging environment that gives Pure Game all its power.

More kids will pick up a sport, become active, and stay engaged when we focus on fun, inclusion, and the pure joy of playing.

What is preventing this from happening?

Youth sport is now a $15.3 billion market, according to WinterGreen Research, a private firm that tracks the industry. People are making a great deal of money from the current model, so why would they want to see change! We cannot expect change to come from above, we need to take this into our own hands and make it happen. Who’ up for a rebellion?

Let us be courageous enough to make change happen. Start a pickup game for kids at your local park. Walk down there with some sweaters for goals, a couple of balls, and don’t forget your kids. Invite a couple of other families to join you, and you have a pickup game. Kick the ball around for an hour and see what happens. Who knows you might create a movement in your neighborhood.

Be courageous, find your “Monsters Inc” effect and make change happen.

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How much fun are you having? https://thepuregame.org/how-much-fun-are-you-having/ https://thepuregame.org/how-much-fun-are-you-having/#respond Tue, 05 Mar 2019 01:26:47 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2608 Brazil is playing Costa Rica in the 2018 World Cup. The commentator starts talking about fun. He continues to make the point that the idea of fun is a crucial part of playing well.

He wasn’t talking about kids playing, he was talking about men playing at the highest level, and it is about fun.

To create some context; the conversation was about Neymar and his ability to be a key player within the Brazilian team. The commentator said, “the game is supposed to be fun, and when he is having fun, the entire team plays better.” I think this highlights the importance of this underrated word FUN.

Why do I think this to be a post-worthy topic?

There are too many kids playing sport today under the pressure of winning and losing. The weight of their future college career hanging in the balance. Heaven forbid if they actually played to have fun.

The commentator also said that when Neymar is not having fun, it prevents his teammates from relaxing into the game, and so no one enjoys the game.

There is a lesson here. If the term fun is being used when talking about the best players in the world, playing at the highest level possible, and it being something that will help them perform better… shouldn’t we take fun into account for our youth?

So, what does it mean for youth to have fun?

To answer that I would ask you to think back to your childhood. What did fun mean to you? I am guessing, if you are anything like me, most of it was centered around activities that had limited adult involvement.

Kids playing without adult interaction creates that exciting, carefree, creative making experience that makes any kind of play fun. Whether it be Neymar at the World Cup or your children at the park.  

Structured play is important at a certain level, I don’t disagree with coaching. But I do think there is a more significant need for free-play in any sport. What’s wrong with setting up a field, standing back, and letting kids play. The activity doesn’t matter, what is important is giving kids the chance to experience the fun of running around with their peers without an adult correcting them and telling them what to do.

When the uniforms are on, fun is about letting kids go do all the things they have practiced without fear of reprimand for making mistakes. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the fun yourself. When we give kids the opportunity to play, try new skills, fail, and have fun on the field, we get to enjoy the game more.

One of the best ways to create this environment is to cheer kids on for the things they have done, as opposed to continually telling them what to do. When we give a cheer for a kid doing a stepover turn, or a double scissor while running at a defender, whether it works or not, that child is filled with pride and will want to do it again and again and again.

Kids want and need attention, and they will get it any way they can. If it is you shouting at them because they are playing up, it’s still attention. When we praise and encourage a kid for executing a learned skill, that is attention, and they will continue to do that same action to gain the same attention.

Whatever your thoughts are on the purpose of sport, at the root of it all is fun. The more fun we have when we are playing, the more we will want to play. The reverse is also true, if I am not having fun, I will stop whatever it is I am doing.

Please, let us commit to helping our kids have fun, especially when it comes to sport. Who knows, they might become as creative as Neymar is with a soccer ball at his feet, or as fiesta-like as the Brazilian fans are when he is playing at his fun-filled best.

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Do you need a confidence boost? https://thepuregame.org/do-you-need-a-confidence-boost/ https://thepuregame.org/do-you-need-a-confidence-boost/#respond Mon, 25 Feb 2019 04:11:54 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2580 Encouragement boosts confidence.

The confidence that comes from encouragement can help individuals put forth more effort. When individuals receive encouragement, it helps them work harder and make efforts to complete a job to their best ability.

Encouragement leads to greater success. The reason for this is simple; if I feel better about myself, my positive traits rise to the surface, and I can then perform at my very best.

I can’t believe I started Pure Game ten years ago. I don’t think I really knew what I was getting my self into or what things would look like back then. I just knew there was something I felt called to do.

Looking back I can now recall the moment of clarity about what Pure Game was going to be.

I landed a connection with KidWorks in Santa Ana. It was here I discovered the power of encouragement and the emphasis of the Pure Game program.

One of the kids was doing amazing things with the soccer ball, dribbling around everyone, scoring goals, making passes, and helping his teammates all over the parking lot (A great place to start programming). After one incredible play, I looked in his direction and said, “hey buddy, well done, that was awesome.” He stopped, stared at me for a second and then looked over his shoulder in a way that said, “what, me?” This reaction blew my socks off. I immediately realized he had rarely if ever received any encouragement and had no clue how to accept it. I reinforced my positive words with his name and an intentional walk in his direction with a high five.

His smile could not have been any bigger. The Cheshire Cat had nothing on him at that moment.

Every week from that moment, we’ll call him Jack, greeted me with that same huge smile and engaged in any game I asked him to participate in. It was a fantastic reaction to see play out over the months and years we worked at KidWorks.

Encouragement plays a vital role in the life of children. These benefits are far reaching and long lasting. As I discovered that fateful day at KidWorks.

Being encouraging can and does change lives. I know I make kids feel better about themselves when I encourage them. But it doesn’t stop there. I feel better about myself for doing the encouraging.

My final comment is in the form of a question. If I feel better when I encourage others, and those on the receiving end feel better about themselves, why don’t I do it more often?

Even more importantly, why don’t we all work harder to use the power of encouragement to make the world a better place?

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Insanity – is it that bad? https://thepuregame.org/insanity-is-it-that-bad/ https://thepuregame.org/insanity-is-it-that-bad/#respond Tue, 19 Feb 2019 16:24:49 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2565 I recently created an imaginary character called Ivan.

Does this make me insane?

I took this idea on because of something I had read dealing with the negative self-talk we all suffer from. The premise being if we can separate this talk from ourselves, then we can look at what is being said with much more objectivity.

He is very similar to the Ivan from the Rocky movie, big and brutish, but dumb as an ox. I chose this character because I knew I could outsmart, outfox, out talk him. I may not be able to beat him in a boxing ring, but I wasn’t about to take him on in a battle of strength, but instead a battle of the minds.

When I call myself stupid, and I find myself doing this often, then I take on that persona. But when I say that was a stupid thing to do I can separate myself from the action and in essence forgive myself for whatever I did.

When I hear that whisper in my ear that I am not good enough, then I create a toxic message that has me believe the idea I am not good enough. This negative naysayer gets in the way of me becoming my best self. Without awareness of this happening, I consistently prevent myself from being my best

Now I have Ivan, I can identify him as the person whispering this negativity into my ear and decide whether or not I want to listen to him. Being able to close my eyes and tell Ivan to go away and be quiet is helping me step into those situations that create my best self, even when they are scary. But on the other hand, when I hear Ivan talk about something not being a good idea because he wants to protect me, I can listen and make my decision accordingly.

We each have multiple personalities but are mostly not aware of them. Just think about yourself at work, I will bet that is not the same person that shows up on a date or hangs with your friends.

A cautionary note. I spoke with kids in my juvenile hall program about this idea, and they were all over it. They had a ton of great characters who they identified as their negative naysayer. But as I was talking to them about my negative naysayer, I forgot to mention this was a made up character in my mind who I could use as separation from the negativity. During the early part of my presentation, they all looked at me as if I was insane. Just because I had it clear in my mind, it didn’t mean I was making the initial message clear for them. I will also caution you against having a conversation with your Ivan in a public space, or in the presence of family and friends. You may end up wearing a white jacket in a padded cell.

Don’t get me wrong, my Ivan is not all that bad. He is after all just trying to look out for me with the limited knowledge he has. My Ivan came from my experiences as a child and early adolescent. Back then I was probably not worthy of some of the things I am now, and so he is acting from that place. Back then he saved me from a great deal of embarrassment and hurt. But because I have now grown, have new skill sets, and am more equipped to take on the world, I have to check Ivan is not making decisions from my past self.

Ivan lives in the much more powerful subconscious part of the brain where storylines were formed many years ago. Some of the decisions I wish to make now live in the far more recent frontal cortex part of the brain. When we look at these two in perspective, it is like a mouse charging at an elephant. So instead of taking it head-on, let’s be smart and call on our naysayer as an ally who can help win the battles as opposed to not having us take part in the war.

So, who is it for you that turns up and tells you that you don’t have great ideas? Who is it that whispers “don’t share,” or “you haven’t got what it takes to do that,” or “you are not worthy enough to receive that position?”

As you figure this out, you can give this character a name and even a description. Paint as vivid a picture as you can about this character. You can start talking to your naysayer, in the privacy of your own mind of course. Let this character know you are now aware of its presence and will only give it voice when it is appropriate. As you develop this relationship with your negative naysayer, you can hire them as a contractor when you need some critical advice or a reality check.

To finish, I recently heard a Science of Successpodcast with Todd Herman, the author of The Alter Ego Effect. What I got from the podcast is using this same principle to don a character to help you move into a more positive space. I liked what I heard and purchased the book. As I read through the book, I will work on another article on how my new positive alter ego takes shape.

As I always do, I will also take these ideas and teach the kids of Pure Game. Who knows, this could be the message they need to become their best self.

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Why you should deliberately make connections https://thepuregame.org/connections/ https://thepuregame.org/connections/#respond Mon, 11 Feb 2019 18:16:23 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2512 Being connected is one of our most basic human needs. In the days when we were roaming the savanna, we knew that being connected to a tribe was more than just a pleasurable experience. We needed that tribe and those connections for survival. Leaving a tribe, or worse, being kicked out of the tribe would almost certainly mean death.

As a child, the primary need is love and emotional connection. Receiving these we learn we are worthy and lovable. When we grow up without these basic needs being met, we can struggle with physical and psychological issues.

What is it that affords a family the ability to shower their children with the love and connection needed to flourish?

Having sufficient resources will provide parents with the opportunity to be home, present, and available for their kids. But families with limited resources are giving plenty of loving support and connection for their kids, while families with plenty of financial stability are struggling to connect with their children.

So, is there more?

Living in a society that places such a premium on being the best, having the biggest house or driving the fastest car can create disconnection. Working all hours to deliver this type of lifestyle and look good takes away from quality family time. Working hard just to put food on the table or a roof over your head creates the same problem but at the other end of the economic spectrum.

Both are problematic and create disconnected symptoms in children. These symptoms can include joining a gang or hanging out in local parks abusing drugs if you live in a community where this type of behavior is prevalent. Throwing a wild party at a friends house who’s parents are on vacation is the symptom we observe when living in that type of community.

Are issues such as these because of “bad” kids? Or are they instead signs of a disconnected society.

What can be done to remedy this issue?

One of the strengths of the Pure Game program is the theme of connection. Because our trained staff or Field Champions focus on the power of positive reinforcement, encouragement, and the teaching of positive character our program lends itself to creating a sense of belonging. Most sports programs are competitively driven by adults, and this only exasperates the disconnection issue. Pitching kids against each other in an adult driven competition means kids once again are trying to win the approval of adults and are working hard to fit in, there is no connection there.

Pure Game is able to provide kids with a place to belong and experience connection. When we feel connected, appreciated, loved for who we are, and a part of something special we are more likely to engage. This engagement in Pure Game is around the personal growth that brings out the best kids have. Life played at full potential is not just a one-liner we put under our logo, it really is a culture we embrace and live out as an organization.

Creating connections with kids is the single most positive feedback we receive from our partner schools. This simple, yet very effective focus of our staff is changing lives.

How can you start making connections in your family?

Start by noticing and commenting on the behavior you would like to see more of within your child. If they demonstrate a moment of being polite, call it out and thank them for it. If they clean up after themselves, again thank them and notice it. After watching your kid perform, play a sport, or partake in their favorite hobby merely say “I love watching you…”

That’s it, keep it simple, but consistent and you will start to see the positive signs of connection in your family.

We will continue to do what brings us pleasure. Getting noticed and appreciated brings us that pleasure and creates the connection we all desire.

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Pure Game Founder Tony Everett Honored by Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce as Small Non-Profit Person of the Year https://thepuregame.org/pure-game-founder-tony-everett-honored-by-santa-ana-chamber-of-commerce-as-small-non-profit-person-of-the-year/ https://thepuregame.org/pure-game-founder-tony-everett-honored-by-santa-ana-chamber-of-commerce-as-small-non-profit-person-of-the-year/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:57:12 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2346 Congratulations to Pure Game founder Tony Everett for winning the Santa Ana Small Not-for-Profit Person of the Year award.


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Pure Game Volunteers Have Become Role Models in Their Community https://thepuregame.org/pure-game-volunteers-have-become-role-models-in-their-community/ https://thepuregame.org/pure-game-volunteers-have-become-role-models-in-their-community/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 01:20:56 +0000 https://thepuregame.org/?p=2340 Field Champion Octavio Valente has highlighted the big contribution to Pure Game made by some unsung heroes – alumni volunteers who come back to help at every opportunity.
These boys have been in our program since elementary school and also went through the leadership program when they attended Alamitos middle school. Now they are all in high school and even though we don’t have a program at their school, they still find a way to come back and volunteer at Pure Game events, summer programs and spring break camps.
Perhaps even more importantly, they have become role models in their communities.
So thank you guys, for all that you do:-
Nathan Rodriguez
 Carlos Guillén
Cesar patlan
Gabriel Gomez
Francisco Garcia
Jesse Gonzales
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