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Earlier this month, I entered a new phase of parenting when my oldest daughter, Addie, began T-ball prep. I posted a journal entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, a fitting start to a new world of exploration and growth for the little one, and a whole new experience for my wife and I as parents. Last night, T-ball prep wrapped-up, and in June, Addie will become just one of a handful of girls joining the boys for Pee-Wee Baseball. Real practices. Real games. Prepping my children for games is something that I’ve never done before, so I’ve been on the hunt for tips – tips that I could turn around and share with you. Teaming-up with my friends at Dole and Mom it Forward, I’m helping to spread the word on how to get kids to be #GameDayGreat, with healthy snacks like DOLE Fruit Squish’ems, and with Game Day advice from two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and mom, Brandi Chastain and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).

We’re big on pouches here for snacking, and DOLE Fruit Squish’ems are great snack pre-game or anytime, with a full serving of fruit in each 60 calorie pouch. Both of my girls love ’em, with the Apple Strawberry being the “home run” for my budding ball players. Now, as we move from T-ball prep to organized games, here’s what Brandi has offered-up from her experience as a soccer player, and as a parent…


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Tips for Helping Kids be #GameDayGreat by Brandi Chastain:
  • Kids learn to be a good sport just as much from the sideline and stands as on the field, so teach them by example to always be respectful to everyone on the field, offer encouragement, and be gracious whether you win or lose.

  • It’s important to be both physically and mentally prepared for game day. I always make sure my son has a good, nutritious meal the night before the game and encourage him to practice visualizing making great plays. When you’ve already imagined them happening, they’re that much easier to recreate on the field!


  • gdrunningPractice does more than pay off on the field. It teaches us the importance of going out there and earning what we get. So always try to encourage your children and be supportive when they’re putting in that extra effort to practice and improve!

  • When I was playing soccer, nothing got me ready to go like putting on my headphones and listening to my favorite music. Now, my son and I build fun, energetic playlists for the ride to the game. It’s a great way for us to bond and for him to get excited before playing!

  • A tough game means lots of sweat so help your kids by teaching them to stay hydrated! 15-20 oz. of water two to three hours before practices and games will help their little engines to keep running at full steam!

  • It’s no fun losing, but learning how to be a good winner and a good loser are both really important. Before a big game I always try to tell my son that the most important thing is to go out and to do the best you can and win or lose, be positive and treat others with respect.   

gdfinnEnter The 2014 DOLE® Fruit Squish’ems “Game Day Great” Contest

Do YOU have tips for being #GameDayGreat? If so, you could WIN $5,000 and a season’s supply of DOLE Fruit Squish’ems for your child’s team or league! Simply visit to enter, and then treat yourself to a coupon download to save $1 on DOLE Fruit Squish’ems for your little athlete.

Pictured Left: Little Finn wants in on the action, too!

Further Disclosure: THE ROCK FATHER is part of the Mom It Forward network. Mom It Forward and DOLE partnered in support of the #GameDayGreat campaign, for which Dole compensated THE ROCK FATHER for participation. All words and opinions are those of James Zahn, unless otherwise noted.

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