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Children aged 6 and older need at least an hour of physical activity every day according to the Mayo Clinic (and common sense).
During the warmer months, it’s easy for your soccer kids to get that with games and practices. But even with more indoor facilities and programs like futsal, keeping up the pace is a challenge. Whether your soccer player is older and serious about their game, or just starting out but can’t get enough of the game, keeping active while working with a ball will benefit their game for the next season and beyond.
Read on to learn how to keep your child’s soccer conditioning all year with these tips.
Just because the soccer field is icy doesn’t mean that your soccer player can’t work on his or her soccer skills.
Thankfully there are plenty of things to do inside at home to keep your child’s soccer conditioning and improve their technical skills. You can do these in your basement or living room – you don’t need a ton of space.
The name of the game is repetition, repetition, repetition. Every touch on the ball for a young player strengthens their comfort with the ball. Many very basic things can make a huge difference, while increasing the speed of repetition will do wonders for their fitness.
Here are some of the best soccer drills you can do for indoor fitness this winter that involve a lot of repetition and only need a small space. They each have many variations, but these will cover the basics and are easy for soccer parents who haven’t played or coached the game themselves to follow along and support. If you’re worried about broken lamps, try the lower bounce futsal ball instead of a regular soccer ball. The futsal ball also works great if you can get outside on a tennis or basketball court between snowstorms.
All you need is a yard or two of space, 3-5 cones (flat discs work too, but cones force the ball to go around, not over), and a soccer ball. Set up the cones in a line or triangle 1 foot apart.
Get your soccer kid to move the ball between or around the cones in specific patterns using all parts of their feet. Keep a list, time them, make it a challenge. But above all, keep it fun. There is no real right or wrong pattern to use, it’s the activity, control and speed that you’re going for. It can only help their feel for the ball and keeps their heart rate up. (And their heads out of their instagram).
These two versions of the same general exercise pinpoint the muscles in the foot which can greatly improve a player’s ability to control the ball on the field or futsal court. No cones or discs needed, just a soccer ball.
Have your child set his or her foot on the ball and move it from toe to heel and back to the toe, releasing the ball slightly with each move. For added effort and a bit more realistic soccer skill, have them hop slightly on the “standing” foot with each move. It will be slow at first, but as they get the rhythm, it will get better. Be sure to use both feet, and even spend more time with the “weaker foot”.
The goal is to do it as quickly as possible without losing the ball.
Help your child set a goal – how about 100 reps on each foot in under a minute?
Getting good? Try different directions, like side to side. Try different size balls, or even a lacrosse or tennis ball! There are dozens of variations that only take a ball and yard of space.
Soccer players of any age can work on toe taps. Even the youngest players can improve their speed and balance as they work on this skill.
Start with one foot on the ball. Move that foot back to the ground while you raise your other foot to tap the top of the soccer ball. Continue tapping the ball with alternating toes. It becomes a hopping movement as they get good. But be careful not to put their weight on the ball, or a blooper reel and ER visit could follow if the living room coffee table is nearby.
You start slowly and then try to speed up. Once they’re good standing in place see if they can move the ball slightly in other directions with each touch. Forward, sideways, back all improve ball skill and add to agility.
Pretty soon, your soccer players will be getting a great cardio workout as they improve the speed at which they can move their feet.
Keep your kids primed for their youth soccer games by running cardio circuit training sessions at home. Kids love the challenge and variety of circuit training.
Set a timer and do 30-60 seconds of each exercise and repeat. You may want to lengthen the total circuit depending on the age and fitness levels of your soccer players. Just make sure to remind them to warm up!
Some great cardio circuit training moves include the following:
There are hundreds of variations for soccer circuits you could try. It’s a great way to get their heart rate up during the off-season. Make it challenging by increasing reps and speed. Keep track on a whiteboard or app and even join in if you’re looking to work off some of the holidays yourself. What better motivator for your future soccer star than to compete against soccer mom or dad to show off their youth advantage!
We hope these ideas have inspired you with ideas for getting kids active outside of soccer season.
Remember, all the conditioning, agility and speed work your soccer player does during the off months will pay off when soccer season hits.
For more soccer health and fitness advice check out these talking points for discussing nutrition and health with soccer teens.
Congratulations to the 2004 Boys GPS team winning the Bethesda Premier Cup with a 4-0 record. The team won their championship game 1-0 scoring in the final 3 minutes of the game. Scoring 10 goals and allowing just 2, the boys did an amazing job representing GPS Marlton. Great job players, Coach Dave, Coach Kevin and GPS trainer Byron.
Bethesda, MD Premier Cup Champs
Congratulations to the 2004 Boys GPS team winning the EDP Mid-Atlantic Division with a 6-1 record. Great job players, Coach Dave, Coach Kevin and GPS trainer Byron.
2004 Boys EDP Mid-Atlantic Division Champs
US Youth Soccer (USYS) and NJ Youth Soccer (NJYS) have announced they will continue to following a Birth Calendar Year vs. the previous School Year Team Formation which was used for many years. Marlton SC will comply with these guidelines set forth by USYS and NJYS. Therefore this Spring's Tryouts we will not have the standard Under-XX age Groups, instead we will have our teams listed by Calendar Year (ex: 2003, 2004 etc). There have also been other major changes made by USYS, please see the link below for more information regarding the changes.
Players born between 2010 to 2005 will need to play birth year appropriate for Marlton SC, when registering for tryouts please select the Age Group for your child based on his/her birth year.
Players born from 2004 to 2002 will have the option to play birth year appropriate or up one additional year older (ex: 2004 can try out for a 2003 team). When registering your child please select the age group according to what level they wish to try out for. If they wish to play age appropriate please select their Birth Year, if they are trying to play up please select the year one year older than their Birth Year. If your child has decided to play up, please remember that they will possibly be playing with and against players who could be a year and a half older then players they are currently playing against.
For more information regarding the changes being implemented by USYS please click on the following link:
Steve Watson, youth coach
By Steve Watson, youth coach
Do you set a bad example for parents? By Steve Watson, youth coach
Shouting, screaming parents on the touchline take all the fun out of the game. It's a way of life as a coach to always have at least one parent who needs tranquillizing on match days.
He (or she) is the one that looks calm enough during the warm up, but as soon as the match starts is stalking up and down the touchline, yelling "advice".
They are too loud for comfort even if the game is going well but if, heaven forbid, their child makes a mistake they really get going.
"WHAT WERE YOU THINKING OF??!"
"GET STUCK IN!"
This is not only acutely embarrassing for their child, it distracts the rest of the team and gets you and your club a reputation you could do without.
You should have had a pre-season meeting where all your parents are issued with - and sign - a code of conduct that expressly forbids adult supporters from coaching from the touchline and criticizing players or officials.
If you haven't had that meeting yet, do it this week.
Carry the signed copies of the code with you and if Billy's dad (or his mum) starts playing up, take him or her to one side and remind them what they signed up to.
If that doesn't work, stronger action is required.
Point out the effect his behavior is having on his child and how uncomfortable it makes everyone feel. Tell him that he must stop shouting or he will not be allowed to come to matches any more.
I've used the expression "three strikes and you're out". It works...as long as you set a good example.
So don't try to coach your players while they are playing.
If you shout instructions:
your players probably won't hear you anyway;
if they do hear you, the moment has passed and your "advice" becomes confusing;
Your players always try their best. No child makes a mistake on purpose!
Publicly criticizing a young player will make them feel bad in front of their team-mates and parents.
And will it make make them play any better? No, it won't.
Your job is to support your players and make their soccer experience enjoyable. So if they make a mistake and need to know how to do something better, speak to them about it privately. Use the feedback sandwich - praise, constructive criticism, praise - followed by practical help.
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