Soccer Player Diet- What you should be eating

 

“Practice makes perfect”, is a very true saying that I can remember as far back as me being a kid and will probably never stop being said. Another saying is “You are what you eat”, which is very true as well. If you eat garbage,  you will  be garbage, and in this case since we are soccer players our game will be garbage. Practicing is 50% of your performance and the other 50% is your diet. Now when I say diet it doesn’t mean fasting, eating meal replacements and that type of stuff, what diet really means is how you eat. Everyone has their own diet and based on what your life demands will determine the type of foods/nutrition you need. Now the information I’m going to give you is not something you will have to follow word for word, any type of athlete more or less needs same nutrition. This post is called the Soccer Player Diet because well, that’s what this website is about. Everyone is different and not everyone likes the same type of foods, so take the information I have given and use it to your advantage and feel free to share ideas/information as well.

veggies

NUTRITION

CALORIES

It is important to make sure you take in the right amount of calories every day. More or less you will need to take in about…

  • 22-24 calories per pound of body weight a day.

FATS:

You need 3 types of fats to maintain a healthy balance.

  • Saturated – Eggs, Tropical oils (Coconut, palm kernel or palm ), and Animal fats
  • Monounsaturated –  Oils from plants (Avocado, nuts, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, )
  • Polyunsaturated – can from plants and animals. (salmon, corn oil, soybean, flax seeds/oil, walnuts)

CARBS

Eat foods are slow burning/digesting such as…

  • Beans and legumes: Black beans, Pinto Beans, Butter Beans. Cannellini beans).
  • Whole grain breads and cereals: sourdough bread, rye bread, pumpernickel. Corn Tortillas, Muli Grain,
    Grains: Barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat,  millet, cream of wheat, oatmeal, quinoa.
  • Pasta and Rice: Whole grain pasta,  Brown rice,  whole-wheat couscous, wild rice.
  • Sweet potatoes

PROTEIN

  • 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
  • Red and white meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish

 

FRUITS

Fruits rich in antioxidants are the ones you want to go for. The antioxidants well help reduce muscle soreness and inflamation when you have an injury. Here are some fruits that are high in antioxidants.

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Cherries, and tart cherries
  • Pomegranite
  • Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, rasberries
  • Coconut water
  • Prunes
  • Pomegranate
  • Cocoa and Dark chocolate (not a fruit but a good source of antioxidants)

Veggies:

  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, cabbage, romaine lettuce
  • Wheat grass ( VERY HEALTHY)
  • Barley grass
  • Spirulina
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados

*if you not a “veggie” type of person I would recommend taking supplements. Vegetables are extremely important in any diet. 

eggs

Easy Meals

Break fast:

Scrambled eggs and cream of wheat

  • 2-3 eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • onions or green onions
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 of oatmeal or cream of wheat measured dry
  • 1-2 Tbls spoon honey
  • 1-2 Tbls spoon flax seeds

What I like to do is scramble the eggs separate in a pan at medium heat until about half way cooked , which will be about 2 minutes, and at the same time I have already chopped and mixed the, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions (measured to your liking) together and sautee them with vegetable/olive oil in a separate pan. Then once the mix is done ( you don’t have to cook them for long, about 1-2 minutes at medium heat) I mix it with the eggs then finish cooking for about another 1-2 minutes or  depending on how cooked you want the eggs. This is half of the breakfast, the second half will be the cream of wheat or oatmeal.

The cream of wheat is very easy to make but requires your up most attention. Measure  3/4- 1 cup of water or milk (you will get more calories if you use milk). Once water/milk is boiling, gradually pour the cream of wheat into the water/milk. Please keep in mind once at this step you will need to continuously stir the mix until you have an even consistency. Not to thick not to watery. If you let it sit, the cream of wheat will get hard and chunky. Next you will mix in the honey and flax seeds ( honey and flax seeds are very calorie dense). You will easily get between 700- 900 calories in this one meal alone! With the oatmeal it’s a lot easier, just mix the milk/water with the oatmeal from the start and cook until oatmeal is soft and you have a nice consistency. If this meal is to much for you, then do the eggs with a side of toast and a cup greek yogurt. And with the oatmeal/cream of wheat, mix in 1 serving of any fruit of your choice.

 

Lunch:

Turkey Wrap/burger

  • Turkey meat
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1/2- 1 avocado
  • 1 serving of spinach or any other type of leafy greens,
  • tomatoes
  • onions

Turkey is lean,  an excellent source of protein. and my on favorite type of meat, not to mention its pretty cheap. The ingredients for the wrap will be the same for both. Tomatoes, 1/2-1  avocado, spinach, cheddar cheese, onions and whole grain/multi grain wrap and/or bun. For the wrap you will want turkey fillets or you can find them at the store  cut up into chunks.  All you need to do to is cook the turkey on a pan with and assemble the wrap or burger. Quick and easy.

Snacks: 

  • Nuts (Walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, pistachios etc.)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Dates
  • Dried fruit or fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cherries, pomegranate, mango, )
  • Peanut butter
  • Cocoa or dark chocolate

dark chocolate

Make sure you snack at least twice a day, before and after lunch.  Some people like to have protein shakes which is fine I guess, but they are very filling and it’s going to be miserable trying to get all these meals in, Ive been there. The key is to eat snacks that are light but calorie/nutrition dense. A quick and easy snack that you can prepare at home to have multiple serverings through your week is trail mix. The mix I make consists of raisins, almonds and dark chocolate chips. You can add things to this like banana chips, yogurt covered raisins or whatever. I like to keep it simple and light. The almonds may be a little pricey but that’s just how it is, they are expensive, raisins and dark chocolate chips are pretty cheap.

Dinner:

Salmon Dinner

  • 1 fillet of salmon
  • 2 lemons
  • 1tbl spoon of minced garlic or 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 serving or mashed potatoes
  • 1 serving of salad (leafy greens) or aspargus

Samon is another great source of protein and has the healthy fats we need. What I like to do is soak the salmon in lemon juice for at least 20 minutes. Then I’ll spread some Italian herb paste mix which has parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary & thyme which you can find at any grocery store and sprinkle garlic on it. If you like fresh ingredients you can buy all the herbs mentioned in the paste chop them up. If you have a high speed blender use that to the work. Once its chopped up mix it with some olive oil. I usually bake the salmon at 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes. One the side you want nice big portion of salad and mash potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can substitute the the potatoes for wild/brown rice.

 

Pre Game

Meals before the game need to be focused around carbs and avoid fatty foods. Here are some guidelines you can follow.

  • 1-4 g/kg of your body weight in carbs
  • 0.25-0.4 g/kg in protein

Post Game Recovery

After a match you want to focus on getting plenty of protein and carbs.

 

The information I have provided is based on my personal experiences and opinions and research I have done. For the meals I wanted to provide some examples of easy affordable meals you can easily prep at home without being a chef. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I know how to get by. If you are the type that is on the go, really bad at cooking or just not a veggie lover. I recommend drinking veggies. You can blend them in a high speed blender ( I use the nutribullet) and add fruit as well or add your favorite juice to it for flavor. There’s also this company called Ora Organic that sells tons of supplements. There greens power is the one you would want. I hope you have found this information helpful and share your ideas here as well.

Soccer Coach Tips- Do’s and Dont’s

soccer coach

 

 

 

 

 

Being any type of coach comes with a lot of responsibilities. Your not just teaching kids how to play a sport, you are their guardian and responsible for your players wellbeing and safety while their parents are gone. You need to be committed to these kids and set examples for them to follow. Kids tend  to listen more to other adults than parents so know you will be a big influence on your players. You might even have kids that dont like the sport much and you will have to find a way to make the practice fun and effective. Here are some things should and shouldn’t do if your are or planning on being a coach.

Commitment

This one is pretty obvious, if you want to be a coach don’t just do it if your only interest is making some side cash. You become a coach because you like kids and your satisfaction comes from seeing your players progress because of what you have taught them. You will have to travel, be early for games and practices, sometimes you may even have to give rides to one of your players once in a while. You have to lift their spirits when they are down, and certain players made need more attention than others. If you show up late for practice or miss them, this will rub off on them. If you don’t care neither will your players and you will even loose players. Be committed, and your players will be too.

Play time

Now, it’s natural to get competitive, I myself like to get competitive because it makes the game more interesting and exciting, but if your coaching kids it’s important for everyone to get a minimum amount of play time during a match. Some kids will get more play time than others if you have a large team, its just part of the sport, but you must make sure no one is left on the bench. We want to make sure the team wins and yes the best players will be needed but I would rather have player who eager to play than a player who is good but lazy. Trust me, when a player doesn’t get much play time on the field he/she is going to feel like they are not good enough to be trusted on the pitch and eventually he or she will have resentment towards you and may even leave the team. Or they will tell mom and dad and you will have a nice conversation with them. Not to mention your the coach, your job is to help them improve, and a player wont improve if you don’t believe in them. So, set a minimum and reasonable amount of time for each player and let them know from the start. If you set that expectation,  no one will complain if they get that. So be fair, you are in control.

Discipline

Disciplining your players is very important as. You want to make sure everyone is following the practice and players are getting along with each other. You are the authority so its important to go about discipline the right way. This opinion is up for debate so if any of you have better ways or want to add to this please do so in the comments. I would shy away from disciplining  a player individually, what I would is discipline the whole team including the offending player. By making the whole team pay the price now everyone else is going to make sure no one screws up again. You have now turned the tables made the team as a unit repsopsible for each others actions. This may seem unfair at first and everyone is going to be mad at the player but trust and believe no one on the team wants to be the one to get the whole team in trouble again. I would stay away from anything excessive like running multiple laps, push ups for the rest of practice. Instead if there is a certain fun activity you have at practice, maybe shave off time or take that activity away, or maybe a lap or two around the field. You be the judge.

Communicate with Parents

Parents can be annoying at soccer games sometimes, but you can’t blame them for being supportive and wanting to be part of their kids lives and activities. It is important to set boundaries and keep them involved/informed as well. Like with your players, set expectations, let them know what you expect from their kids and what they can expect from you. Let them know about the rules have, the minimum play time and how you handle disruptive players. You also want to know if a player as a limitation, special need, pretty much anything that may factor into the players performance. Every player will not be the same.

 

The information I have shared is all based off of personal experience, opinions and research. There’s no recipe for being the “perfect coach”. Every coach has his or own style of coaching and way engaging kids/adults. The import thing to remember is to do what you are comfortable with and what will benefit the team as a whole and understanding each player as an individual. If your looking ways to improve  yourself as a coach I left a link below to a coaching program.   Again, please feel free to leave comments.

professionalsoccercoaching.com

 

Have a great day

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

 

Fun Soccer Games- Having fun while training

Kids just wanna have fun and the best way for your kid or team if your a coach, is to make soccer practice fun. Its hard for kids to follow instructions and their attention span is a lot shorter than older kids/young adults. In fact according to Day2DayParenting.com, children from ages 5-6 have an average attention span of 5-10 minutes if they have no interest in the task or if it is difficult to do. So how do you get kids interested in soccer? Make it fun! Kids will play for hours if they are having fun. So here are some fun games that will help them develop fundamental skills without them even realizing they are on their way to being soccer stars.

kids playing soccer

Hit the coach: passing/shooting

U3 and up: 

  • Set up: Pretty self explanatory and pretty simple. Everyone has a ball and the goal is to aim and hit the coach. What kid isn’t going to enjoy this?
  • Rules:The coach will run away from the players and they will try to hit the coach with their ball. Players will aim below the knee.
  • Goal: Dribbling, passing, accuracy.

 

Knock Out:

U5 and up

  • Set up: Similar to Hit the Coach, but in this game players are not aiming for the coach, they will be aiming for each other. Divide the team into 3 groups. Group A, will be in the middle of playing area, and the other two groups, group B will have players to the left and right of group A. The area play will be a rectangle with rings on the opposite side of group A. You can do between 4-6 rings.
  • Rules: Group A will dibble across the area of play to the opposite side, grab a ring and dribble back. They will try collect all the rings without getting hit. Groups B will attempt to knock them out by trying to hit them with the ball aiming below the knees. If a player in group A is hit, they are out. Game ends when all players in group A are out, or if all rings are collected. Team that collects most rings wins.
  • Goal: Dribbling, Ball control, passing, accuracy

 

Monkey in the Middle: Defending/Passing

U5 and up

This is a classic. We all know how this is played. One thing my coach would do is switch up the game and put, 2 or 3 players in the middle. This will help the players defending work together. You can also have one round with more players on the outside the circle than defenders, and one round with more defenders than players outside the circle, again, depending on age group.

 

Sharks and Minnows: 

U5 and up

Set up: You remember playing this in the swimming pool as a kid?  You had  a great childhood if you do my friend. This is pretty simple. Divide the players into 2 groups, sharks and minnows, and the area of play will be divided into 3 zones. One zone will be where the minnows start, the middle zone will be where the sharks are, and the safe zone is where the minnows are trying to cross over to.  You want to have 2 minnows to every shark.

Rules: Once a minnow gets their ball taken away they become a shark. Minnows will continue to cross the shark zone back and forth until the last minnow standing.

Goal: Ball control, defending.

 

Zombies: 

U3 and up

Set up: One zone. All players with a ball. The coach or one player, who will not have a ball, will be chase the other players and try to tag other players.

Rules: Once a player gets tagged, they become a zombie. Last player remaining wins.

Goal: This will help players learn to play under pressure and force them to maneuver their body and the ball.

soccer kids training

Keep Away: Zone Defending, Positioning, Passing

U8 and up

  • Set up: This is a 3v2 game, and you will set up  the area of play into 3 zones. In the middle zone you will have the defending team and one player from the passing team. The outside zones  will have one player in each zone. Set a timer for 3-7 minutes. Encourage passing team to make quick decisions and use middle player.
  • Rules: The players in the middle zone are not to leave that zone. The goal is for the passing team make as many successful passes to each other. If a pass/ball is intercepted, possession goes back to the passing team. The team that gets the most successful passes wins.
  • Goal: This game is geared to help players develop their skills off the ball, a very key skill in soccer. They will learn how position themselves go receive a pass and look for openings for pass. Team B will practice zone defending. You will have games where you play a man down or two.

 

WAR!

U4 and up

  • Set up: This game is very simple and very fun. You will divide players into 2 teams with one team on each side of the play area. The coach will call out “WAR!” and the teams will attempt to knock the others team balls out of the play area with their ball while protecting theirs.
  • Rules: Team with the most players left wins. Players can only knock out another players ball by hitting it with theirs. Encourage you players to dribble around the play area as they go. Players will only aim below the knees.
  • Goal: Ball control, passing, accuracy

 

Theres so many games you can make up for kids to play to make the sport for them. All you have to do is think of skill you want the game to be about and go from there. You can rename these games to something they can relate to and change up the rules to make things more challenging. And please, leave your feed back below, and if you know any fun games please share.

Have a great day everyone

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

What you need to stay warm: Cold weather soccer gear

Winter is around the corner, and if you will be playing outdoors, your going to need proper gear to stay warm during the match. If you allow your body to get cold, you wont be performing at your peak. Jackets, sweaters,  hoodies are all nice to have and they will keep you warm, but they are bulky and not breathable. You will dying to take it off after a few minutes. Not to mention if its game day, you’re going to be wearing your uniform. Here are some recommendations for keeping warm during your match.

Compression Gear

Compression gear is a good way to keep warm and dry. There is a lot of claims by big brand names like Under Amour, Adidas, etc. claiming by wearing these garments, they  are going to increase your performance but this isn’t exactly true. The compression gear is going to put pressure on your muscles which will help with blood flow. Which means once you start moving, your body will warm up quicker. Depending on how tolerant you are of cold weather, I would recommend getting the shorts/pants and a long/short sleeve shirt. You want to make sure you get cold weather compression, they will be a lil thicker than the regular ones.  Soccerloco.com and TheUpper90.com has great a selection of compression gear to choose from.

Head Gear

Did you know if your ears are covered, 70% of your body will be warm? Well its just a saying but idea is to keep areas of your body that cold easily. There is barely in fat in your ears and they are an opening for air to get in. This is why you want to keep them covered.  You don’t need anything fancy,  a sports beanie is ideal or you wear those things runners use that go around the back of your head and cover your ears.

 

 

Gloves

Have you ever done a throw in with bare hands in cold weather? Its not fun. I used to hate doing throw ins with cold hands.  Its hard to grip the ball and more than half the time my throw would be off. You don’t want just any pair of gloves. You want a pair with grips on them, thin, but able to keep your hands warm. Its hard to find a good pair of gloves that are thin and warm but they are out there.  Heres some I recommend.

Socks

I would say this is the most important part of your body to keep warm during a soccer game. If your feet are cold and numb, its going to be hard for you to feel the ball. Your shots may be a little off and dribbling with be cumbersome. I like to wear two pairs of socks (the outer pair being thin ankle socks) but if you don’t want to wear two pairs i would recommend some over the calf socks so that most of your leg is covered. Also make sure your boots fit nice and snug to avoid letting to much air in.

 

So there you have it. Head, hands and feet. Keep these part of your body warm and you will be good. You want to make sure your comfortable playing as well, some of you may not need as much layers as others. Main point is to stay warm and dry. If your gear is too warm and you getting hot and sweating and decide to take off your gear, that cold air hitting your wet skin could get you sick. Also make sure you warm up before the game, if you need compression shirts/pants, wear your wind breaker/track jacket and sweat pants to warm up quicker.

Have fun everyone!

How to Improve Soccer Skills- Drills you can do on your own

 

Soccer is my favorite sport. I started playing in high school and intramural in college and would  play with friends on my free days. I met most of my closest friends through soccer  but never became as good as I wanted to be (at least not good enough to be a starter on a college team), and lot of times I had to play alone to improve my skills. If you a serious player or just want to improve your skills, I have created this post to share things that I did in the past on my own that of you can easily do on your own as well.

Find a Wall

Playing with your friends is the best way to improve in soccer, but they may not always be around. When you are training solo, your best friend is a wall. The wall will always return the ball to you allowing you to get more touches on the ball.  The wall is good for working on passing, first touch, shooting and trapping.

Passing

With the inside of your foot, pass the ball to the wall and when the ball returns to you use your first touch to cross the ball over to the opposite foot and pass back to the wall. Do at least 10 passes with each foot. I would also do a set off the ground volleying the ball off the wall and alternating feet. You can also volley ball to wall, stop with your thigh then volley back to the wall using inside of your foot. 10 passes each foot, then do the same but with your upper foot (laces).

Shooting and trapping

Another good drill is to choose a spot on the wall and take a shot at it. You can also bring some chalk with you and mark spots on the wall. These will be your targets. When the ball comes back, take one touch and shoot again at the next target. Again, at least 10 shots with each foot.

Walls are great however they cause alot of wear and tear on the ball. A wall made out of wood may not cause as much wear and tear like a concrete/brick wall. Make sure to switch up your training. You can also lob the ball against the wall then stop with your chest to set up for a shot.

Heres a great video I found that pretty much illustrates this.

Cones

Cones are a great training tool and inexpensive. You can get this at any sports store near you. I liked to use cones for working on dribbling. When setting up the cones you want to give yourself at least 2ft of space between each cone. I would get at least 5-10 cones to start.

Dribling Drills

After the cones are set up, you are going to work on your inside foot. Zig-Zag thorough each cone using only your inside foot. Do at least 3 reps. When finished, use your out side your foot next. Make sure to keep the ball close to you, your knees bent and your head up. Do not look at your feet. You want to see what is ahead of you.

I had a friend who I played in high school with and he used to tell me how when he was a kid living in Brazil, he would dribble his soccer ball all the way to school. He did this everyday. If you are a parent reading this and if your kid walks to school or maybe he/she walks to the bus stop. I highly recommend doing this (go with them of course if you can, safety first). This a great way for you to work on ball control and keeping your head up to be aware of your surroundings. So if the place you train at is walking distance, dribble all the way there.

*Fun Tip: Using small ball, like a size one helps a lot!

There are also soccer training programs you can purchase that have training drills that can be done at home. Kinda like those at home work out videos back in the day. Here are some training programs that I recommend.

*if you want to read my reviews on the training programs listed above you can see them on my product reviews page.

 

beach soccer

Playing at the Beach

If you live near the beach, take advantage. Playing in the sand has many benefits. If you don’t live near a beach, or you don’t live on the coast, maybe you can find a volley ball court with sand and take the net down.  Since the sand is bumpy and uneven, passes on the ground are usually going to be iffy, forcing you to be more aerial. This will help you improve your volley shoots, headers, long passes, and lobs. Which are all key skills on the field. Playing bare foot is also great for improving your ball control and first touch. Not to mention since the sand is uneven, this is a great work out for your legs and core. You will need some friends to play at the beach with you. There wont be to much you can do on your own. I know the post is supposed to be focused on things you can do on your own, but I just wanted to add this in because if you are fortunate to live near a beach this is a great way to have fun with your friends and improve your skills. If you are looking for something a little more, or do not like using a wall, there are some great products out there that can help you.

franklin launch ramp