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News - Details

Time for Rest and Recuperation

By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Tim_for_WebAssociation

One of the things that has continuously amazed me about living in the USA is the fact that kids don’t get a rest. More and more is so frequently considered to be better and better, far too many soccer kids are forced into unhealthy soccer diets. Very few families seem to understand that a rest is needed and that means a rest from formal coaching as well. 

Summer vacation provides a wonderful opportunity for free unstructured play. It might be the only opportunity players get to do some sport sampling. Take the opportunity to play beach volleyball, go for a swim, play backyard garden games with the kids next door. This time spent exploring and having independent fun is PRICELESS. It is worth far more than any soccer camp or summer soccer tournament.

As I have stated before, summer tournaments and camps in the Northeastern US where we get frequent air quality alerts are not such a clever idea. The physical wear and tear that such endeavors put on the body are simply not worth it. I understand that soccer is a business and that many of the pay-for-play models and year-round training organizations do a wonderful job promoting the idea of attend or you will start to fall behind, but this is simply fake news! 

The best soccer time spent in the summer is spent 1-on-1 with a ball 10 minutes here and there at the kid’s discretion. Where they can drop it, do something else and come back when they wish.

For older players, spending the summer doing yoga and thinking about extending their range of flexibility would be a great idea. Older players should also spend some time researching both Periodization and good nutrition habits for athletes.

For younger players, spending time watching any of the international games that will be on this month is a great use of soccer time. The women’s European Championship and the women’s CONCACAF Championship both take place over the next few weeks. Even better would be spending time taking a family trip to any one of the local professional teams to watch a game. Time spent helping your kid fall in love with watching the game is time well-spent. 

For parents, I urge that you find some articles or books on Periodization, the science behind how much rest the body needs to be able to fulfill its potential. Any one of the following books are great reading for parents and cover a multitude of topics that will help you become a great soccer parent:

• The Soccer Parent Lifestyle: A Formula for Raising Happy, Healthy, and Successful Soccer Players – Buford Mobley

• HAPPY FEET - How to Be a Gold Star Soccer Parent: (Everything the Coach, the Ref and Your Kid Want You to Know) -Dan Blank 

• How to Succeed as a Soccer Parent -David Novis

Whatever summer recipe you decide to follow, remember most of all that players need time to rest and let their bodies recover.