October 25, 2014 as of 6:45 PM

Helpful hints for soccer kids

Soccer is a sport that requires physical endurance as well as a certain amount of skill. It is very difficult to become a successful soccer player without having both of these attributes, but a kid can develop them with frequent practice.

Physical Fitness

A soccer match lasts from 80 to 120 minutes, depending on the level of play. In many leagues, no more than three substitutions are permitted during one match, which means that a kid who plays soccer should be able to run at high speeds for long periods. To prepare yourself for long, grueling matches, take long runs/jogs during your season preparation. These jogs should last at least an hour and include frequent changes in pace to mimic the running that will be performed during a game.

Skills

Passing, shooting and dribbling are three essential skills a soccer player must master. These skills take hours of practice. Beginners should start practicing all of these actions from a stationary position and move on to motion after their abilities progress.

Nutrition

Nutrition also is an important factor in any sport. A proper pregame meal can give you more energy during a match. Eating carbohydrates in the hours preceding a game will provide your body with an easily utilizable source of energy, but meals full of fat should be avoided because it is difficult to digest and can give you the feeling of a full stomach during a game. Lasagna, pasta and rice combined with lean beef or chicken are examples of food that can be included in your pregame meal. You should not eat in the hour preceding the game to avoid an upset stomach. Drink adequate amounts of water during a game to avoid dehydration. For every hour of playing time, a kid should drink 20 to 40 oz. of fluids.

Stretch

Do not overlook pregame stretching and warm-ups. These activities are essential in preventing injuries. Stretching and warm-ups increase your heart's preparedness for the game as well increasing the flexibility of your body. The majority of your stretches should focus on your lower body. Examples of stretches that kids can perform before a soccer game are seated splits, lunges, hamstring stretches, spine twists and calf stretches.

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