As USA ends a hard fought World Cup game against the high ranked England, I couldn’t help thinking about my own children playing soccer. How would it feel to have my child play inthe World Cup? How would I feel just to see any of them play on that amazing stage? More importantly, how do I help my children continue to love the game and play at their top level.
So, how can we help them perform at their top level? I will give you the top 6 ways I help my children perform at the top level (while still having fun):
1. The Soccer Boot: Like most sports, soccer should be done with the correct shoegear (the soccer cleat or boot as it is often called). The design of the boot will allow correct functioning of the foot, better traction on the field and limit the most common injuries to the foot. It also facilitates the correct biomechanics of kicking.
2. Shin Guard: Most leagues recommend (and may demand) shin guard use. This is a protection of the front of the ankle to avoid bruising or even fractures to the tibia (shin bone). Many shin guards also provide some protection to the bones of an ankle.
3. Proper Nutrition: Proper hydration and diet eaten 30-45 minutes before warmup can lead to more energy during the game. Proper carbohydrate use and hydration, including electrolytes during the game can lead to a better energy throughout the game.
4. Proper Preparation: As with many sports, the conditioning of a player is imperative. For a regular soccer game, a player will run approximately 5 or 6 miles, so a player should be prepared to perform at this level during a typical match.
5. Dynamic Stretching: A proper warmup involves dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching includes stretching the muscles while moving (running or walking). Static stretching is more common, but usually doesn’t properly prepare the muscle for match conditions.
6. Play To Have Fun: When the game becomes a chore, most players don’t play as well. My recommendation is to play hard, but have fun. It is usually obvious to see when a player is having fun and they always play better.
Using these techniques, my children are loving to play soccer and are improving regularly. I continue to cheer and coach them at whatever level they are playing from recreation to competition levels and now even high school soccer. What a great game for my children! Go USA!…