What is the best kind of support a parent can give their children in sports? How about some tips for women looking to start a new fitness endeavor later in life? Keelin Winters has some thoughts!
Coming from a sports family (her dad played and coached professional basketball) and playing soccer since she was 4, Keelin knows all about what it takes to stay driven and the influence a parent has on a child’s early sporting “career”.
Now, on the field as professional soccer player and captain of Seattle Reign FC, she is leading her team through what is shaping up to be a championship season. Off the field, she coaches both kids and adult women through her Pro-Skills Soccer training clinics, inspiring both groups to improve their skills and build confidence in their play.
Kick It Like Mom had the chance to chat with the approachable and insightful soccer star! Keelin shares her influences growing up, how best to support your sporty kids (Sneak Preview: It doesn’t involve any yelling from the sidelines), her hopes for the future of women’s professional sports and why she thinks active moms are so darn cool!
Kick It Like Mom: What influence did your parents have on you throughout your youth sports years?
Keelin: My parents had a tremendous influence on me throughout my youth sports years. My dad played professional basketball and coached professionally while I was growing up so we were constantly surrounded by sport. I’m one of six kids so to get us out of the house my mom signed us up for nearly every sport camp imaginable. We were all multi-sport athletes and that was definitely in large part due to my parents support. Sport can be a great teacher.
K.I.L.M: What did they do that was most supportive or motivational?
KW: I can’t think of anything more supportive than paying all of the club dues or camp fees and shuttling all 6 kids to practices or games! I think what I found most comforting as a kid was the fact that my parents were not hyper-critical of our play. They wanted us to try our best and have fun. Simple as that.
K.I.L.M: Who were your role models growing up?
KW: My role models growing up were my older siblings. I saw how hard they worked at their sport and I always wanted to be as good as them.
K.I.L.M: As a professional player today, what type of example do you try to set for the young players watching you?
KW: I hope that when young players watch me that they notice my work rate. I pride myself on being a hard worker because that is one of the things that I can control.
K.I.L.M: You coach lots of young players through your Pro-Skills Soccer training clinics. What are the characteristics you see in the ones who end up being most successful in their sport?
KW: Great question. Besides the athletic and technical ability, the players who have the right mentality will be the most successful. The players who aren’t scared of making mistakes and who want to learn from their mistakes are the most coachable. Through my training I hope to give each player a level of confidence they’ve never felt before. Because having the confidence is half the battle.
K.I.L.M: What type of support do you see their parents giving them?
KW: Quiet support… if there is such a thing. It’s support without orders or conditions. Support regardless of how their athlete is playing. Confident players are confident in their parents support.
K.I.L.M: What is your hope for the state of women’s professional sports in the future for today’s young athletes?
KW: My hope is that people will stop comparing women’s sports to men’s sports in such a negative way. Men’s and women’s sports are just different. Once people accept that fact then I think women’s professional sports will get the attention and support they deserve.
K.I.L.M: You also put on a training clinic specifically for adult women. What prompted you to offer training just for women?
KW: My girlfriend’s mom started playing soccer as a 30-year-old and she told me that I should start offering soccer clinics for adult women. I decided to do one back in January to see what kind of response I’d get and it was amazing. I’ve totally fallen in love with the adult women’s clinics I’ve been holding. The women really want to learn and they want to get better and they want to have fun and socialize–which I totally get because that’s what I want in a training session!
K.I.L.M: What additional benefits do you think women get from participating in all -female clinics?
KW: I think there is a huge benefit to being around other women like yourself! All of these women are active, competitive in some way, and really just love the game of soccer. It’s fun to meet other women with similar interests!
K.I.L.M: Many of the women who attend are moms. What do you admire about these women who continue to play? We are pretty cool after all!
KW: I find all mom’s pretty inspirational but especially the ones that continue to play! It’s just amazing to me that they are able to juggle all of the responsibilities of having a family and continue to play. It just goes to show you how much these women truly have a passion for the game. It’s pretty cool to see.
K.I.L.M: What advice would you give to women who are just starting out in a sport or fitness activity later in life?
KW: Drink more water! And find something that you enjoy. Because working out shouldn’t be a chore. If you don’t enjoy it then it’ll never stick.
(Kick It Like Mom fills up her water bottle with a guilty look on her face…)
K.I.L.M: Favorite healthy snack?
KW: Lately it’s been the Lara Bars Blueberry Muffin flavor for when I’m on the go. Other than that I try to eat “real” food so either fruit or veggies.
K.I.L.M: Favorite not as healthy snack?
KW: I have quite the sweet tooth. I’ve been known to treat myself to a Dairy Queen Blizzard a little more often than I’d care to admit…
K.I.L.M: It’s been a good day for Keelin Winters if:
KW: My morning starts with a coffee and my usual oatmeal breakfast, followed by a Seattle Reign practice, a good lunch, and time to play out in the sun! Because both of my jobs are soccer related (soccer player and soccer coach) on my “off” days I like to do stuff that is not soccer related. Kayak out on Lake Washington or go out on a hike with my girlfriend and her dog 🙂
K.I.L.M: Thank you so much for chatting with us Keelin! Best of luck with the rest of the Reign FC season!
If you live in the Seattle area, catch Keelin and the rest of Seattle Reign FC in action at Memorial Stadium! There are a few home games left in the 2014 regular season and the soccer action is heating up as they hold the best record in the league. Check out the Reign FC Schedule for the next match!
Keelin offers individual or group soccer training sessions for boys and girls ages 8-18 and adult women through her Pro-Skills Soccer Skills clinics. With a focus on ball work in every training session, every player will learn to be comfortable with the ball at his or her feet. All workouts are personalized to fit each individual player’s skill level and needs. Find out more at Pro-SkillsSoccer.com!
Her Adult Women’s Soccer Clinics are Kick It Like Mom Tested and Approved!