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How To Use Drills In Practice To Develop Character In Youth Athletes

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Danielle Slaton (@DanielleVSlaton) is a Positive Coaching Alliance Trainer (workshop leader), who played soccer for the U.S. Women's National Team from 2000-2005, earning a silver medal in the Olympics and a bronze in the Women's World Cup. She played professionally in the WUSA, where she won a championship and was the league defender of the year in 2002. She also played professionally in France, and earlier captained her Santa Clara University team to the 2001 NCAA title. There, she was a three-time All-America and she was named the 2001 NCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year.

After her playing career, Danielle coached at Northwestern University and earned her Master's Degree in Sports Administration. She now serves as a soccer analyst for the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports, as well as director of Santa Clara University's Jerry Smith's Coaching For Life Academy.

Danielle explains how to tie a character-education theme for youth together with specific drills in a practice. For example, if one day's character-education theme is working to improve yourself as an individual, then Danielle would emphasize one-on-one drills in practice. That way, the activities that contribute to enhancing player skills also echo in their minds to reinforce messages about what it takes to improve as a person.