Like any athlete, soccer players need to be at their best physically, mentally and emotionally in order to be successful. The sport of soccer has a specific skill set. You are in constant movement on the field. You primarily use your feet and might have to make several quick decisions in a matter of seconds. There are several things you need to work on in training to be a better soccer player.
In soccer, being explosive is as important as being fast. The most effective way to build explosive power is to perform plyometrics as part of your training program. Do your plyometrics work before any endurance work so that your muscles will not be fatigued. In addition, mixing in sprints along with distance running can help you develop explosiveness. Add sprints after a three- to five-mile run — or during that run — to help train your body for quick burst of speed.
During a game, you cover a large part of the field at anywhere from a light jog to an all-out sprint. Being in shape is essential to success. Running during the off-season to build up endurance is a start, but moderate weight training also helps to build strength and endurance. Being fit makes you better prepared for the quick bursts of speed the sport requires.
Because you use your feet to control the ball as well as move around the field, good footwork is essential to success. Nothing is better than working with a ball at your feet. Quickly tap a stationary ball with each foot or jump over a ball to help create quicker feet. Working on individual moves is also helpful. These are all drills you can do anywhere. Agility drills using an agility ladder help you develop flawless footwork and strengthens your proprioceptive abilities.
There is never an off-season when it comes to learning about your role on the field. You can develop your skills and knowledge during practice and games. Don’t be afraid to ask a coach or teammate if you are unsure of something. Even the best players in the world are still students of the game. Expand your knowledge beyond your own role. Knowing offensive tactics can help make you a better defender, and vice versa.
Adults who play soccer see increased health benefits. Women who play soccer increased their maximum oxygen uptake to 15 percent, compared to a 10 percent increase for runners. You also need to eat well to maintain your level of fitness and to help your body recover after practice and games.
Although team sports can provide fun-filled memories that can last your child a lifetime, they are also a teaching tool for the development of important social skills. Sports can teach him to be competitive, yet fair and honest. Learning to combine competitiveness with integrity will help your child cultivate meaningful relationships as he progresses through school, as well as throughout his adult life.
By playing sports, your child learns that she does not work alone, but she’s part of a group that must cooperate to achieve a common goal. As the American Academy of Pediatrics says, sports teach children such skills as following established rules for the sake of everyone. Indeed, these skills will help your child get along with people as she grows older, whether in her personal relationships or those she builds in the workplace.
Another effect of sports in the development of young children is the building of character. One aspect of character development is being able to honor a long-term commitment, whether it’s to a team, to the choir at church or to schoolwork. This is a positive trait that will help him later in life as he enters the job market or cultivates a long-term relationship. By playing sports, he learns that he’s part of a team that’s counting on him to stand by them, through the good and bad times.
Yet another social skill that sports teach is that of being able to play fair. A game such as kickball, softball or baseball, for instance, will teach your child the value of waiting her turn. In softball, for instance, she will learn that she must wait for the coach to tell her it’s her turn to bat. Before that point, she must wait and watch her teammates as they are at bat.
Another trait that will benefit your child as he matures, according to the Sports and Development website, is how to graciously accept a victory or defeat. Competitive sports will expose him to both. It will give him the opportunity to observe how not to be following a win. He will witness the ostracism faced by other children who brag to members of the losing team that they won. He will also learn that there are times when the opposing team will be better and will beat his squad.
Due to a quirk in the way standings are calculated throughout a baseball season, the lead one team has over another is often described in half-games. For example, one team will have a half-game lead over another. The quirk is simple to understand in the context of how standings are compiled.
The phrase ¡°games back¡± describes the distance between two teams. To calculate how many games back one team is from the division leader, take the difference between the wins and losses of both teams. For example, if Team A has five wins and two losses, while Team B has two wins and five losses, Team B is three games behind Team A. It¡¯s a simple calculation, and all things being equal, the final result is rendered in full games when the season is complete.
A half game in the standings is basically one team¡¯s ¡°share¡± of the difference between two teams. For example, Team A is scheduled for a day game, while Team B is scheduled for a game at night, and both teams have the same record. If Team A wins its game, it moves ahead of Team B by half a game because it has one more win than Team B at that point, but the same number of losses.
Half-game advantages may show up in the standings whenever games remain to be played. For example, in 2013, baseball’s lone opening game was played on a Sunday night. Its winner, Houston, was listed in the Monday standings as being a half-game ahead of its division opponents though none of them had played. It’s rare throughout the year that all teams will have played the same amount of games, so some team may sport a half-game lead clear up until the last game of the year. Some sports, such as football, don’t see half-games persist for very long due to a more uniform schedule.
Generally, half-game differences in the standings are meaningless. Eventually, all teams will play the same number of games, except in rare circumstances. For example, if a game got rained out between teams out of playoff contention, and its result has no impact on the standings, the league could decide not to play it all. Those two teams may have a half-game in their final standings. You’ll never see this at the top of the final standings, though, since the league will always play a game that could decide the winner.
Most young soccer players 8 years old and under are still learning how their bodies move and are still developing their motor skills. Learning how to dribble, pass and shoot the ball can be challenging and frustrating to some players. If you find yourself in a coaching role, it¡¯s important to help your players learn these basic skills through fun games and drills. Parents can also help with the skill-learning process by repeating the drills at home.
The drill builds basic dribbling skills. Each player gets a ball. With their knees bent and their weight on the balls of their feet, the players one-touch the ball back and forth from their right foot to their left foot and back. The challenge is to maintain control of the ball with the inside of the feet. Once players become adept at moving the ball back and forth quickly, they should do the drill moving forward. Advanced players are able to do this drill moving forward with their heads up.
This drill improves passing accuracy. It features a line of cones arranged 3 yards apart. Players line up on either side of these cones and pass the ball to each other “through the gates.” Each player receives the ball, moves it into passing position and advances through the cones to the other player. As player skills improve, the gap between cones may decrease, the distance between players may increase and the tempo of the drill should quicken.
This drill improves dribbling skills. It features cones arranged in an obstacle circuit in front of a net. Players dribble through the circuit, alternating feet as needed. On their first touch after getting through the circuit, players shoot the ball into the net. The spacing of cones can be adjusted to the skill level of the players. By arranging different circuits for each practice, a coach can create fresh challenges. The circuit should force players to use both feet equally. By shooting on the first touch coming out of the circuit, players get used to firing quickly when they get free near the net. This can be a timed drill, forcing players to pick their dribbling speed.
This drill develops scoring ability. Players line up 20 yards from the goal. A goalkeeper sets up in the crease. From the side of the net, a coach rolls the ball toward the first player in line. That player must receive the ball, control it and shoot. After the shot, the player continues forward as the coach rolls a second ball in front of the goal. The player controls the ball and tries to beat the keeper. The distance of this drill can vary, as can the difficulty of the setup passes. Players improve their distance shooting and their ability to score in close.
This drills works on ball retrieval and passing. Set up two adjoining fields, or yards. Half of the team goes into one yard, half goes into the other. Each player has a ball. Coaches and parents stand along the perimeter of the yards to keep balls in play. When the coach blows the whistle, players kick the ball into the other yard. Players retrieve the balls and kick them back. Play continues back and forth for a set period of time, usually about three to five minutes. At the final whistle, the team with the fewest balls in its yard wins. Coaches can spice things up by ordering left-footed passing or by deducting points for passes that are too high or wide.
Soccer beginners in the 3- to 5-year-old group must learn how to dribble, pass and shoot. They also must get a handle on the basic team objectives: advancing the ball on offense and taking the ball away on defense. Drills run as fun games are more likely to hold the attention of younger players.
This drill teaches dribbling and shooting. Each player gets a ball and lines up about five steps from the coach. At the whistle, the coach starts slowly running away from the players. The players dribble after the coach and try to hit him by shooting the ball. Set a target number of hits. This drill is less chaotic if done in two or three groups.
This drill teaches dribbling away from defenders. On a grid 20 yards wide and 40 yards deep, one player goes in the middle holding a soccer ball. That player is “It.” All other players line up at one end of the grid with a ball. When a coach blows the whistle, the players dribble their ball toward the other end. The player who is “It” tries to tag dribblers with her soccer ball. Tagged players also become “It” for next round, creating a bigger dribbling challenge.
This drill teaches dribbling control and speed. It features a small circle of cones and a larger circle of cones. Players start inside the smaller circle with their own ball. When the coach yells “explode,” the players must dribble the ball to the outside circle, go around a cone and dribble back inside the circle. The first player to make it back to the small circle with the ball wins.
This drill teaches players to protect the ball from defenders and occurs inside of a circle of cones. Players get their own soccer ball and go inside the circle. Two other players don a “pinny” practice vest. They are the killer whales. Their goal is to take the ball away from players and kick it outside the circle. Players who lose their ball must retrieve it and bring it back inside the circle. The killer whale who kicks the most balls outside in a set period wins. Rotate the whales. Adjust the circle size and number of players as needed.
This drill teaches heads-up dribbling. Each player gets a ball on the field and a coach or parent plays the role of “monster.” At the whistle, the “monster” chases after players, forcing them to dribble away without running into teammates or leaving the field of play. As the players improve, add more “monsters” and have them try to get the ball away from players.
Many sports require that you excel in several qualities of physical fitness. Whether you play football, soccer, basketball or tennis, to name just a few, you must possess both speed and quickness. Speed refers to the rate at which you move, while quickness involves changing directions on the fly. A number of specific drills and exercises can improve both of these qualities.
Establish a resistance training program. Although weightlifting is not absolutely necessary to build speed and quickness, it can definitely help. Include compound exercises such as bench presses, squats, deadlifts, lunges and rowing variations. Because speed requires lower-body strength, focus on heavy squat variations including pause squats, jump squats and box squats. Barbell and dumbbell lunges, reverse lunges and rotational lunges can also help to build the quadriceps and glutes, two muscles that are heavily involved in the mechanics of a sprint.
Use plyometrics exercises to build power and explosiveness. Lower-body plyometrics exercises primarily involve jumping. They can greatly improve your reaction time and how much force your legs can generate. Start with tuck jumps and pogo jumps, two low-intensity movements to get your body used to the motion. Move on to box jumps, an exercise that requires you to jump from a stationary position onto a box. Finally, progress to depth jumps, a high-intensity jumping exercise that focuses on reaction time. Start standing on a low box. Drop off the box and immediately explode into a jump as soon as your feet touch the ground.
Practice specific skills by using common drills. You can only take your speed and agility so far without actually practicing both skills. To improve your quickness, use the 5-10-5 drill. Place three cones in a straight line, five yards apart. Beginning at the center cone, run 5 yards to the right cone and touch the ground. From there, move 10 yards to the left cone and touch the ground. Finally, run the last 5 yards back to the center cone and clock your time. To increase speed, practice running short 10- and 20-yard sprints, medium 40-yard sprints and long 100-yard sprints.
The rules of basketball intend for the game to be contested with five players to a team, utilizing five athletes at five different positions, each with their own unique set of strengths and skills. However, whether due to mental mistakes or a lack of players, teams sometimes field more or less than the standard five players, enacting some of basketball’s most obscure — and most interesting — rules.
One of basketball’s most fundamental rules lies tucked away deep in Rule 10, Section 2, Article 6 of the NCAA Basketball Men’s and Women’s Rules book, stating simply, “A team shall not have more than five players legally on the playing court to participate.” When a team violates this rule by placing six or more players on the court during game play — whether at the conclusion of a timeout, by an illegal substitution or a player entering the court illegally during game play — the opponent is awarded two technical free throws and play is resumed at the point of interruption.
While a team is required to field five players at the tip-off of a game, a scholastic or collegiate team may finish the game with four players in the event of players fouling out or sustaining injury. In a January 2010 NCAA Division I men’s basketball game against UCLA, six Seattle players fouled out of the contest, forcing head coach Cameron Dollar and his team to finish the contest with only four players on the court. A similar situation occurred in a NCAA Division I women’s basketball game in December 2010, when injuries to six players on a St. John’s team only dressing 10 players at tip-off forced the Red Storm to finish with only four players on the court.
In extremely rare circumstances, teams have even finished a game with only three players on the court. While playing with only four players often forces teams to stall offensively and keep the game as low scoring as possible, while also dropping back into a zone or “box” defensive shell, playing with three players forces a team to play even more conservatively. In a 1988 junior college men’s basketball game between United Tribes Technical College and the University of North Dakota at Bottineau, United Tribes finished the game with only three players on the court after starting with only five players and fouling out two late in the second half. Even more shockingly, United Tribes won the game 84 to 81.
While scholastic and collegiate teams are occasionally forced to finish a game with less than five players on the court, an obscure rule in the National Basketball Association prohibits NBA teams from fielding less than five players due to foul troubles. According to NBA rules, when a player on a team with only five available players — whether due to players sustaining injury or illness or fouling out of a game — fouls out of a game, he must remain on the floor instead of forcing his team to finish with four players. However, the referee is required to assess a fouled-out player a technical foul for each additional personal foul he receives.
The bars are killer on a gymnast¡¯s hands and wrists; that¡¯s why routines last less than a minute. ¡°Even if you had the strength and endurance to stay up there longer than a minute, you couldn¡¯t because your hands would burn up,¡± says United States Olympic coach Don Peters in the book ¡°Gymnastics.¡± Beyond the burn, gymnasts can suffer from what¡¯s commonly called ¡°gymnast wrist,¡± an inflammation in the forearm bone where it connects the hand to the wrist. Taping your wrists is one way to reduce the burn and your chance of injury.
Wash your hands and wrists, because grease and sweat can interfere with the tape¡¯s adhesive ability.
Hold your left hand out with your palm up and your fingers extended, and bend your wrist back no more than 30 degrees.
Stick the tape to the palm of your hand, just below your fingers, and wrap it around your hand. The tape should be tight enough to offer support not restrict blood circulation.
Wrap a new piece of tape around your wrist once.
Start a new piece of tape on the back of your wrist, below your thumb. At an angle, wrap the tape up so the inside edge of the tape is along the bottom of your pinky finger. Loop the tape around the front of your palm so it goes around your pinky and angles down to your thumb. You should have half an X on either side of your hand.
Wrap a new piece of tape on the back of your wrist, starting below the pinky and angling up between the thumb and index finger. Continue wrapping the tape back down to your wrist so you now have an X on the front and back of your hand.
Tape your right hand following the same method shown in Steps 1 to 6.
Getting hot feet during a run is not unusual, especially when running in hot weather. But take certain precautions if you get hot feet on a regular basis during your runs. Sweat usually accompanies overheated feet, which can make running uncomfortable and cause blisters. Follow some simple guidelines to keep your feet cool and dry and make your running experience more enjoyable.
Perhaps the most important step you can take to keep your feet cool is to wear running shoes that provide ventilation. Most running shoes are outfitted with a mesh design on the shoe’s upper, which allows for air to pass through the shoes to cool your feet. The shoes should also provide appropriate support for your distinct foot shape. Some runners require more arch support than others. Ensure that your shoes fit properly, otherwise you risk discomfort and unnecessary movement of the foot within the shoe. This can lead to friction, which contributes to overheating of your feet.
Conventional wisdom for runners holds that thin socks help keep your feet cool. But this is not necessarily the case. Some runners sweat more than others. If your feet tend to sweat a lot during a run, a thicker sock is the better choice. The extra material helps absorb the sweat. The air circulating through the shoe’s ventilation system then helps dry the sock to a certain point. Thin socks cannot absorb a lot of sweat and could cause your foot to move around more within the sock. The movement results in friction, which can make your feet hot.
If your feet tend to become hot even with proper ventilation and the right kind of socks, you may have neuromas — a burning sensation between the toes. This sensation is caused by an unusual increase in the movement of the metatarsal bones, which connect the toes. Repetitive bending at the toes during running causes the neuroma nerve endings in the toes to become inflamed, which results in a burning sensation. Apply ice to the affected area to help relieve the inflammation. Special shoe inserts that provide support for the toe joints can also help relieve neuromas symptoms.
Even with properly fitted shoes and good socks, feet can still occasionally become hot while running. Cool your feet after a run by taking a cold foot bath. Add bath oils or salts to further soothe your feet. Wrap cool towels around your feet to cool them off, but ensure that you dry your feet thoroughly after a foot bath or towel wrap. Never put on shoes when your feet still have moisture on them. Moisture in a shoe can lead to blisters and irritation, which can become painful and sideline you from running.
For many kids in the United States, playing football is a natural choice as far as a team sport. But for millions of players across the globe, soccer is the better option.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world in terms of player numbers. According to the 2006 FIFA Big Count, there were 265 million soccer players in the world, 270 million when referees and match officials were included.
With so many registered soccer players across the globe, it’s not surprising that soccer has more fans worldwide than any other sport. If you want to become a globally recognized sport star, soccer is a better option than football.
Soccer players don’t need to spend large amounts of money on equipment. The two most costly items are soccer cleats and a ball, and neither need be overly expensive. A jersey, shorts and shin guards are the only other requirements. Football players must buy a large number of protective items for competitive play.
Football is a stop-start game with frequent pauses between each play. Soccer is a more fluid sport, an aspect that appeals to many fans and players.
It doesn’t take long to learn the basics of soccer. The rules are straightforward and easily defined, with only a few regulations — such as the offside rule, leaving much room for confusion. Football is a more complex sport in terms of set plays and regulations.
Soccer players don’t need the physical strength of football players. Athleticism and fitness are important, but you don’t need to be physically imposing to play soccer. Some of the world¡¯s top players, such as Lionel Messi, rely purely on skill and creativity rather than strength and stature. This makes soccer a more inclusive sport than football, for men and women.
If you dream of being an Olympic athlete, football is not the sport for you. Though football was featured in the 1932 Summer Olympics as a demonstration event, the International Olympic Committee has yet to accept football as an Olympic sport. Soccer has been a regular feature of the Olympics since 1900.
Soccer has a truly global reach; football is largely contained within North America. Soccer is like an international language that crosses cultural barriers, allowing you to share your love for the game with other fans throughout the world. Whether you are in Brazil, Burundi, Belgium or Bangkok, you find people with a common interest in soccer.
Soccer provides more opportunities to compete internationally, at amateur and professional levels. Youth teams often go on tour abroad, and individual players can train in soccer camps across the world. At the highest level, soccer also gives you the chance to represent your national team against all other nations on the planet, something that football does not offer in any comparable way.
Soccer players are less prone to injuries than football players, according to the 2006 High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The one-year study found that football players had the highest injury rate, with 4.36 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures. Male and female soccer players had a rate of 2.43 and 2.36, respectively.