Soccer Bag Packing Fundamentals
Soccer is a fun sport and those who get the most out of it usually follow a few basic tricks. Like every other endeavor in life, one of the pillars of consistently fruitful performances on the soccer field is preparation. To enjoy this beautiful game, it is necessary to have a routine of consciously getting ready for training matches or game day by preparing the bag. Because soccer is a rather simple and straightforward sport, it does not take an awful lot to get it right the first time. Below are a list of helpful tips to get you started or to improve your existing preparation routine.
- Timing is Key
It is important to pack the soccer bag at a time considerably earlier than training or games. A good idea is to assemble everything that needs to go into the bag the evening before a game, making sure they are all in good condition and are clean. This will provide you with sufficient time to ensure that nothing is omitted. Doing this task at the last minute can pose challenges that can negatively impact your child’s optimum performance.
- Check of Cleats
Just as important is checking the cleats. Always try to keep them clean and ventilated. A soccer kid’s shoes have to be those specifically designed for the game and fit for the child’s age and feet type. Repurposing football or baseball shoes is a non-starter. Then, you want to pay attention to the different stud configurations that go with different pitch types – regular grass, artificial turf and somewhat mudding pitches. For first time soccer players, it is important to make as accurate an estimate as possible of the nature of the soccer pitch and choose cleats with the right configuration. Check that the molded plastic (most leagues and coaches do not allow metal for youth soccer) of which the studs are made have not worn out. When studs are new and stable, kids are able to keep with the pace of a game with good body balance. From your experience of how the features of a shoe can affect the work day of a typical grown-up, you could relate to the child how conscious attention to the cleats before games could influence top efficiency.
- Extra Clothing Items and Shoes
An extra pair of socks and t-shirt are essential items to be added to the bag. These will come in handy particularly during those hot summer months when perspiration is at its optimal and will ensure that your child is dry and comfortable post-practice. The interior of your car will be protected as well, which is an added bonus. Depending on the weather, a sweater should also be included to avoid exposure to the elements. You will also want to bring along tennis or flat shoes in the event practice on flat/hard surfaces, is requested by the coach. However, these are not intended to be worn after practice. Instead, a pair of flip flops should be included and these will promote comfort and relaxation off the feet once the session is over.
During practice sessions, as well as on game day, hydration is the most critical thing to take care of. As is commonly known, the sport of soccer basically entails continuous running and this will result in a loss of moisture and an increase in your child’s thirst. To combat this issue, ensure that you have an adequate supply of water within reach. An insulated water bottle will do the trick. Not only are they reusable, but they will keep the water cold for an extended duration, even in periods of intense sunlight and heat. Because of its natural health benefits, it is advisable that you encourage water as your kid’s drink of choice, as opposed to those sugary drinks which have very little nutritional value and may actually impede performance.
- Ball Readiness and Snacks
A soccer ball does not need to be inflated often, but of course check the evening before so the soccer ball is inflated. You want to be able to pick it up in the morning and go, instead of fiddling with a pump a few hours before training or a game when the child should be ‘getting pumped’. Owing to the high amount of energy expended during a soccer playing activity, it would be sensible to have a protein bar or a snack to help your child re-fuel after the game.
- Parent Involvement
Doing the above at the initial stage, requires a parent’s active participation. Attention to seemingly minor details could make packing a soccer bag seem a bit of a chore for a child. There may be a temptation not to put in the conscientiousness required to have all necessary gear in. I just want to play, a child may say, unwilling to be bothered with the hassle of undertaking the ritual of running through the checklist of must-haves. It is, in fact, way easier to have everything set out for an athlete, and for them to simply have to show up and put them on. But as with every aspect of life, a parent will have to pass down the ethic of packing a soccer bag to the child.
- Child Engagement
An intuitive way to do this is to involve the child in the task from day one. This can be achieved through a conversation, describing how each item going into the bag affects play and performance, whether for training or for an actual game. The goal is to reinforce a child’s interest in connecting passion for the game to caring for the equipment used in play, the way a musician becomes scrupulous about the stage mic. Be mindful that this may not take off immediately, but repeating this process over time can create something close to perfection.
We can see from the aforementioned, that discipline in preparation is key in order to attain maximum enjoyment from the sport. There is no need to reinvent this wheel as these techniques have withstood the test of time and have been adopted by successful and top-performing soccer athletes the world over. With consistent adherence to the tips here outlined, you can be sure to make soccer playing a meaningful experience for your child. As the old adage goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and this is no less true in the game of soccer.
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