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"Soccer: Kickin' Butts!"
Discussion Guide

Estimated Time of Completion: One class period or meeting session

I. Summary
II. Objectives
III. Materials Needed
IV. Procedure
V. Classroom Assessment
VII. Online Resources
VIII. Relevant National Standards

I. Summary:

For youth ages 9 - 18. In this video, youth learn from male and female soccer teams about the health benefits of soccer, as well as the health effects of tobacco smoking on athletic performance, and some 'truths' about smoking. They'll discover why soccer is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., and how bringing soccer to the inner city will help youth. They also share what qualities make a 'good' coach. This guide gives the facilitator a variety of learning activities to use in the session, including brain-storming, discussion, small-group work, writing and poster-making. Youth learn that soccer can be an exciting, fun and healthful sport for youth of all ages.

II. Objectives:

III. Materials Needed:

IV. Procedure:

  1. Introduce the video "Soccer: Kickin' Butts!" by asking youth to tell why soccer is the fastest growing team sport in the United States. The list of ideas may include:

    • because anyone and everyone can play
    • there are good, young role models, both male and female who play soccer
    • soccer is physical and competitive
    • soccer give you an opportunity to run
    • soccer lets you learn by your mistakes
    • soccer offers the edge of competition
    • you learn teamwork
    • you can get and stay in shape
    • how you look is not important on the field
    • you can be with people and socialize
    • you can develop aspirations to be a professional player
    • soccer is a "world" game
    • soccer is fun!

  2. Then ask the youth why they think soccer might be particularly beneficial for girls? Their answers might include:

    • They learn that it is okay to be rough with one another when they play
    • It is a good influence on girls - soccer allows girls to do things they have been told not to do
    • You get to play the game you love
    • You can be a different person on the field
    • You can be very physical
    • It allows you to be yourself; soccer is non-judgmental about appearance
    • You don't need to be self-conscientious or shy
    • It offers the edge of competition
    • You work with teammates and learn under adversity
    • You learn by making mistakes
    • You socialize
    • You develop aspirations/goals

  3. Then ask the youth to think about how smoking tobacco would affect ones' ability to play soccer. Ask them now to brainstorm a list of health effects of smoking on physical performance. The facilitator or a youth should write the list on the chalk The facilitator should listen for the following health effects of smoking that will be discussed in the video:

    • shortness of breath
    • yellow or stained teeth
    • bad breath
    • smelly clothing
    • stings your eyes and the eyes of those around you
    • takes up time
    • it decreases the rate that the lungs grow
    • it decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood
    • it increases the heart rate by 2 to 3 beats per minute, which makes the heart work harder and puts the body under stress
    • it slows reaction time
    • it causes addiction to nicotine
    • it causes a person to have more colds, allergies, throat irritation
    • it can cause lung cancer
    • it can cause death

  4. Show the PBS In the Mix video "Soccer: Kickin' Butts!"

  5. Following the video, ask the youths if there were any health effects of smoking on physical performance mentioned in the video that are not found on the list on the chalkboard/message board. Add any additional ones not previously noted.

  6. Then pass out one 3" x 5" blank card to each youth.

    1. Ask each youth to write one "truth" (a fact) about tobacco smoking on the card. [*note that several 'truths' were shared during the video]
    2. After each youth has completed writing the 'truth', have the youth pass the card to the person on his/her right. Ask that youth now to read that 'truth' statement and determine if it is accurate. If the statement is not accurate, the youth should correct it.
    3. Then when all youth have read (and corrected, if necessary) the cards, have the youth read the 'truths' aloud.
    4. The facilitator should correct any misconceptions or fallacies that are stated by the youth.

    "Truths" stated in the video:

    • Most high school students do NOT smoke.
    • You do not have to smoke to fit in with others.
    • People can become addicted to nicotine in a month.
    • Nicotine changes the brain in long-lasting ways.
    • According to the Women's Soccer Team, 99% of soccer players don't smoke.
    • If you smoke you can't reach your highest level of performance.
    • Soccer players should never smoke.
    • Smoking is not cool.
    • 90% of people who try to quit smoking in any one year - Fail!
    • By smoking 'lite' cigarettes with less nicotine a person may need to smoke more cigarettes to obtain amount of nicotine to which he/she is addicted.
    • If someone is smoking on the sidelines while soccer is being played, the soccer players can smell the smoke.
    • California banned smoking from all public places.

  7. Ask youth how bringing soccer to the inner city may help youth? Their answers may include:

    • youth can learn that everyone can play soccer
    • youth will have the equipment to play soccer
    • they will play soccer and be active, this will keep them busy and out of trouble (away from tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc.)

  8. Now ask youth to form small groups of 3-4 people. Pass out one piece of paper and a pencil to each group. Ask each group to complete the following statement: "What qualities make a good coach." Ask them to think about the different coaches, teachers, or counselors they have had and what characteristics or traits made them effective. Have each small group make a list of at least 5 'qualities of a good coach.' Then have one member from each group share the list verbally with the larger group. The facilitator should also share and personal ideas about coaching that would enhance the discussion. Have each small group post the lists when completed. Examples of (good) coach's qualities might include:

    • helpfulness
    • guidance
    • player mentality
    • works with the youth
    • talks with the youth
    • is friendly
    • develops the player on and off the field
    • helps the youth to play above and beyond him/herself
    • can identify what the player needs to work on

  9. The culminating activity for this session is "Letter to the Coach -- Keeping Smoke Out of Soccer!"

    Tell youth that now they have seen the video and discussed how soccer is a great sport for all youth and learned how it promotes health and helps youth to socialize. They learned that working with their coaches is important too. A smoke-free environment to play soccer was a theme of the video, and was mentioned by the members of the women's soccer team, the professional men's soccer team and the certified athletic trainer!

    Ask each student to write a letter to a youth athletic program coach -- for soccer, football, baseball (little league), softball, ice skating, or other team sport, and tell them WHY the playing area and the surrounding perimeter should be smoke-free. This should be a professional letter in format and language. The Sample Letter format should be followed as a guide. After all of the students have completed their letters, have them submit a copy for the teacher to evaluate.

  10. Optional activity for this session:
    Have individuals prepare a poster depicting either (1) how playing soccer affects the individual's health (mentally, socially and/or physically); or (2) how smoking affects the individual's ability to play soccer.

V. Classroom Assessment:

Score student performance for "Letter To The Coach: Keeping The Smoke Out of Sports" assignment according to the following criteria:

Score individual youth's poster (optional activity) according to the following criteria:

  1. Poster depicted (1) how playing soccer affects the individual's health (mentally, socially and/or physically) OR (2) how smoking affects the individual's ability to play soccer.

    • 2 points = Completed the poster
    • 1 point = Partially completed the poster
    • 0 points = Did not complete the poster/did not participate

  2. Youth identified either (1) how playing soccer affects the individual's health (mentally, socially and/or physically) OR (2) how smoking affects the individual's ability to play soccer.

    • 5 points = (1) identified at least one example of how playing soccer affects the individual's health OR (2) identified at least one example of how smoking affects the individual's ability to play soccer.

      Possible correct answers include:

      1. How playing soccer affects the individual's health by: helping the youth become physically fit; keeping them active and not in front of the television or computer; being a social opportunity; having good role models (mental health), among others.

      2. How smoking affects the individual's ability to play soccer by: slowing reaction time; decreasing lung growth; decreasing oxygen in blood; increasing resting heart rate; putting self at risk for injury; shortness of breath -- can't stay in game as long, etc.

VI. Online Resources:

Sports and youth, coaching sports, youth sports pages

Physical fitness and health

VII. Relevant National Standards:

The following are established by the National Health Education Standards at http://www.cancer.org/cshe/cshestud.html:


The following are established by McREL at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/docs/contents.html:

Physical Education

Behavioral Studies

Life Skills Language Arts - Listening and speaking

This special and guide was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health. For more information and resources on tobacco prevention:

CDC Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway, NE
Mailstop K-50
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
Tel: (770) 488-5705
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Website: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco
Automated voice/fax: (800) CDC-1311
For more information about SmokeFree Soccer, visit http://www.smokefree.gov

About the Author:
Susan Giarratano-Russell
, MSPH, EdD, CHES is a consultant for Health Education and Media. She is a writer and has been a middle school and high school teacher, as well as a university professor of health education.

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