Sunday, July 31, 2016

Soccer Conditioning – The 6 Elements

Soccer is an athletic sport and it has become more than a game that awards the player with the best ball skills. Improving your body and your physical traits, as well as chiseling your physical weaknesses is extremely important in modern day soccer and the field that tends to all these aspects is called soccer conditioning.

Soccer conditioning is actually made up of 6 concepts, or sub-sections if you will. The warm up, strength, power, endurance, agility and speed training are key components to a full soccer conditioning program. I won’t go into too much detail about them with the article at hand, but what I do want to do is give you a glimpse on what each component is, how it benefits you as a soccer player (or your players if you’re a coach) and how it can be improved.

-Soccer Warm Ups


At the very beginning of soccer, players would warm up before a match individually and rather disorganized. Besides of a few common warm-up and stretching exercises, they depended on the first minutes of play to get them into the right condition to play at full potential.

Nowadays, warming up is given increasingly higher importance, because it helps a soccer player in two ways: it protects you from muscle injuries such as strains and ruptures and it brings you to your maximum playing ability as the match or training session begins. A third benefit comes from specific stretching exercises, that make you more agile and flexible, which is a great advantage for a soccer player in today’s lightning fast game.

-Soccer Strength

Strength is a crucial factor in soccer, since it affects several abilities used during a match, such as jumping, shooting, dribbling, shielding, balance, tackling or marking. Actually, strength is probably the only conditioning key component that is useful in the same measure for all players, regardless of their position on the pitch. Shielding is often confused with power, but as you will see below there’s a difference between the two.

-Soccer Power

Power can refer to one of three things in soccer: the power of your shots, the power of your headers and the power of your throws. Although strength does have an important role in determining these three attributes, you also need to have the right technique to make them work. So power is a combination between strength and technique.

For example, when kicking a ball towards the goal, strength will work towards a more powerful shot if you have trained out your abs, lower back and leg muscles, but at the same time you’ll need to kick the ball perfectly if you want to achieve a truly powerful and accurate shot. As a tire commercial once put it…power is nothing without control.

-Soccer Endurance

There are two types of endurance, short and long range. Short endurance refers to your ability to sprint longer and long endurance is more general and it helps you pull off an entire match. It’s important to know that endurance isn’t just about being able to run for the ball longer in a match. If you get tired, you will also have a harder time focusing on the game, jumping, tackling, dribbling, finishing and so forth. So having good endurance can help you get the best out of yourself for longer periods of time.

Note that it’s very hard to get to a level where you can run tirelessly even in the latter stages of the match. Even professional soccer players that are part of the most powerful clubs in the World tend to get tired around the 80th minute, or earlier if they played a high tempo game.

-Soccer Agility

Agility can help you on several levels in soccer. Goalkeepers will have better reflexes and they’ll be able to get to high balls quicker if they’re more agile. Defenders will be harder to dribble and their tackles will be more accurate and clean with the right level of agility. Midfielders can dribble with ease if they’re agile and strikers work well around their quickness in order to get in front of the defender and finish on crosses, or dribble their way to goal when possible.

-Soccer Speed

Just like with the power-strength confusion, some people tend to put an equality sign in between speed and agility. Whereas agility refers to quick reactions, speed refers to running at full throttle, on a longer distance. Actually, speed has two components: acceleration and top speed.

Acceleration lasts from the moment you start the sprint, to a second or two before you can reach top speed. Indeed, agility plays a crucial role in acceleration, but has little to do with top speed. So focusing on agility exercises may improve your acceleration, but your top speed is difficult to improve, since it’s determined by a formula involving your lower body strength, natural constitution and running technique.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Why Should Children Be Encouraged To Play Soccer?

The benefits for young boys and girls of playing soccer are numerous and the benefits can be seen both on and off the soccer pitch. From fitness to social interaction and life skills soccer provides an unusual, but ideal, training ground for later life.

In today's media we are constantly being reminded of a health time bomb that is about to explode as children today are not active enough.

There are so many competing distractions for our children's attention, video games, endless channels to watch, these can all lead to sedentary lifestyle if they are not kept in check.

Soccer is the beautiful game, played by millions of young girls and boys (aged 6 to 18) across many continents, whether it's on the beaches of Rio, the back alleys of a major city nearby or the local park, you will find someone kicking a football around.

In today's society there has been a shift to more organised soccer practice for our youth players. Gone are the days of jumpers for goal posts, as streets are littered with cars and grass verges now have houses built on them.

Having a more structured approach is both a good and a bad thing; on one hand young players get structured development and education through willing volunteers who show them how everything from how to warm up correctly, develop their technical ability with the ball right through to skill development and organised small sided games to wrap everything up together to provide a total learning experience.

Today time is limited and therefore there may be only an hour or two devoted to structured soccer practice during the week, what happens when practice is over?Getting your child to participate in an organised soccer school or club can bring tremendous benefits to you and your child.

Soccer can help increase your child's self esteem, which feeds their self talk which ultimately drives their performance. But soccer isn't the only winner, quite often it can be seen that academic performance can increases to!Studies have shown that getting young children involved in soccer at an early stage promotes a real healthy attitude towards the game and this attitude continues with them into adult life.

The number one reason why children play soccer is to have fun; if soccer is fun and enjoyable then players will want to continue playing. This benefits their overall fitness and reduces their health risks considerably.

Soccer is made fun by coaches worldwide who willingly give up their time voluntarily to organise youth soccer practice and coach teams.

Gone are the days when soccer, for the really young players, was an 11 a side game with offside rules and no touches of the ball for massive periods of the game.

Youth soccer from the age of 6 to 11 is typically about having fun, playing small sided matches such as 4 v 4 with no goal keepers, promoting lots of touches of the ball and player interaction on the pitch.

Through playing soccer and encouraging children to take regular exercise many of the risk factors that are associated with heart disease such as obesity and diabetes can be reduced significantly. It is stated that childhood obesity has increased by more than 50% since 1976, which is a really scary fact.

Getting your child involved in soccer doesn't just improve their health. We've mentioned already the improvements at school.

Social benefits, such as mixing with others, having to work as a team, contributing through individual effort to a collective goal, experiencing the highs and lows, picking each other up, competition, striving to be the best, aiming to win and supporting and helping others are all by products of playing soccer.

Many of the life skills that the players learn through soccer are beneficial in later life, how to form and build relationships, developing a sense of co-operation, how to lead people, how to handle adversity, what commitment means and punctuality, are all key qualities that will benefit the players in adult life.

If your child is already playing soccer, great. But what can you do if you want to get your child involved in a local soccer team? Here are seven must ask questions that you and your child should consider when attempting to find a suitable club…

1) What level of commitment is required in terms of practice sessions and games at the weekend?

2) When are the training sessions? When are games played, what's the format and how much time will you need to devote?

3) How far are you willing to travel to training and to matches? Some clubs will operate travel teams where distances can be considerable, including overnight stops.

4) What are the costs involved? Some clubs adopt a pay when you play, others a more structured approach. The most expensive clubs are not always the best, ask yourself is what your paying in the equivalent to what your child is getting out?

5) What do you and your child want out of playing soccer? This needs to be aligned with the prospective clubs philosophy, is it about having fun or winning?

6) How best will your child learn, develop and stay interested? Are they happy just to be involved or would they thrive in a more competitive environment?

7)What is the clubs constitution and philosophy to soccer, how long have they been in existence, the experience of the coaches, location, facilities etc.

Once you have considered the above questions what are your next steps to finding a suitable club or soccer organisation for your child?

You can…

i) Get in touch with your local Soccer Association by searching the web or looking in yellow pages. They should be able to provide you with a list of clubs and organisations in your local area.

ii) Ask other parents/guardians about local junior and youth soccer teams. You'll be surprised at how many adults or their children are involved.

iii) Encourage you children to ask their school mates where they play their soccer. Knowing some of the team can be a real advantage as players integrate themselves into a team.

iv) Ask your child's form tutor or headmaster if they know of any clubs or organisations. Many clubs have formed good relationships with the schools over the years.

v) Read the local papers or local news websites you'll be amazed at how much coverage youth and junior soccer gets.

These five practical steps should enable you to find a club that meets yours and your child's soccer aspirations. HoweverFree Web Content, if there still isn't a club near you that can satisfy a need why not look to set up your own team!

Claim your complimentary copy of the 'Soccer Coaching Guide' provided by Junior Soccer Coach and receive hints, tips and techniques to improve your team’s performance AND your expertise as a coach. Grab your copy now, visit the website today…The Junior Soccer Coach - Soccer Coaching Guide

Friday, July 29, 2016

Top Basic Nutritional Tips For Soccer Players

Most soccer athletes do not have a clear guide of what to eat to prepare for a soccer match, what to eat after a soccer match and how to maintain a rich high carbohydrate diet. There are nutritional guides that soccer players of all level must and should follow in order to put themselves in a beneficial position before matches.

Simple Nutritional Tips


1. Carbohydrates, Carbohydrates, Carbohydrates!!

I cannot stress this enough. Athlete performance in all sports is dependant on a diet that is rich in carbohydrates. As a soccer player it will improve your running performance and stamina on the field. The more carbohydrates a soccer player eats, the longer a player can perform at a top level.

The recommended time for consuming a large portion of carbohydrates is not the day of a match, but the day before. Most coaches, players and parents go by the old myth to prepare high carbohydrate meals the day of the game.

A balanced diet of 55-65% carbohydrates, 10-12% protein, 25-30% fat and plenty of fluids.

2. Protein Still Matters

After starting with carbohydrates it is only appropriate to mention protein. Protein is very important in your diet as a soccer player, however where you get it from is very important. Must athlete diets recommend protein, but none really go into explanation of where to get your protein.

While there is a lot of protein in ground beef, chicken and pork, the majority of this protein is combined with a large portion of fat. Fat is good but there are some fats that are not recommended.

My recommended fats are: omega fats from fish (salmon), lean ground beef and red meat (after fat removal).

A little protein a day helps to restore new fuel in the muscles fast and allowing you to perform at maximum level when your body needs it on the field.

3. A Lot of Fluids Never Hurts

Most athletes do not like water. It seems like we have it all the time and there is no taste. Unfortunately, we all need to consume a large amount of water. Luckily today there are many flavored drinks to help with the unbearable bland taste of water.

Whichever route you may take it is recommended that you drink fluids in these amounts listed below:

Before the match: 16oz – 20oz water 2 hours prior
During the match: 7oz – 10oz of Gatorade or similar every 15-20 minutes
After the match: 20oz of water or equivalent for every pound of body mass

These liquid amounts could vary during the weather condition in which you play. During the summer and warm times you will need more water. If you are playing in cold temperatures you should still follow this guideline above
Overall, it is very important for soccer athletes to maintain a well-balanced nutritional regime during the season. It has been proven that soccer athletes who follow a guide like this or similarFree Articles, that you will see great results on the field!

Professional athlete Sylita Thomas is widely known for her prowess on the basketball court but she has a big love affair with soccer. She knows what your body goes through when it's playing hard and what it takes to keep the fire stoked. That's why she poured her heart into creating the ultimate cookbook for soccer players. View the website: http://www.soccerrecipes.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

How To Avoid Soccer Injuries

Although the game of soccer can be very physical, there are two important ways in which an injury on the soccer pitch can be avoided. Find out how to keep your son or daughter safe during a soccer match.

How To Avoid Soccer Injuries


Here are tips that can help you protect your kids from injury during the game of soccer.

Soccer is a physical game that can subject players to potential injuries, some of which can be quite serious. Although physical contact between players is not a planned part of the game of soccer, the inevitable clashes during a match are as much a part of the game as controlling the ball.

From a spectator’s standpoint, soccer does not seem like a physically brutal event, especially the way some players glide across the pitch like gazelles in the open range. Sometimes soccer players merely glance off each other in ballet fashion. But, for anyone who has been out on the soccer pitch in competition, the likelihood of getting hurt is ever present and there is probably not one soccer player out there who hasn’t hit the ground or bounced off of an opponent or has had cuts and bruises.

These minor incidents pose no real threat to a soccer player’s physical well-being. As all soccer parents can attest, physical contact while playing soccer is unavoidable. The obvious question, then, is - how do we keep the unavoidable contact from causing more than a few aches and pains?

There are actually two facets that come into play when considering the precautions that can be taken to keep your youth soccer player from getting seriously hurt. The one and oft thought primary consideration, of course, is soccer shin guards, the only real physical protection that a soccer player wears. Besides shin guards, a soccer player’s body is virtually unprotected. And that vulnerability to injury is what makes the second consideration of paramount importance.

Soccer kids need to be taught how to think about avoiding injuries as part of the game. It is the mental attitude and knowledge of a player’s own ability to anticipate potentially harmful situations and take actions to avoid them that can make the difference between being able to get up off the pitch and play on or get carried off.

Too often youth soccer coaches, in their zeal to compose a winning team, will spend too little time on safety. Safe play can be reinforced with pre-game and post game examples of what happens when certain actions are taken and what can be done differently to achieve a safer outcome the next time a similar situation presents itself. And kids need to understand that danger can come from not only their own actions, but that of the other soccer players on the pitch. They need to know how to avoid a charging opponent, while still maintaining control of the ball.

The key is to teach your kids an awareness of the safety aspects of the game of soccer. Then parents need not fear for their kids’ safety on the soccer field when they are properly trained. Kids already have an inherent sense for avoiding harm and parents just need to make sure that their kids keep this sense sharp and how to apply it in any given situation.

The bottom line is - no potential glory on the soccer pitch is worth sacrificing the body for. There will be another day and another glory when good judgment is used.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

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