Who scores the goals in soccer?

By CHARMAINE HOOPER, Captain of Canada’s Woman’s Soccer Team

WHAT makes playing on a soccer team so much fun is not just running on the field and scoring goals, but it is the camaraderie and friendships that develop between players. Having respect for both teammates and opponents enhances that feeling of camaraderie on and off the field.

Creating an enjoyable team experience comes from players, coaches and parents embracing the qualities of sportsmanship, respect, fair play and cooperation. Having a team that values sportsmanship isn’t something that can come from just one person, it is something that everyone needs to support. Players, coaches and parents’ behaviour all intertwine to determine the qualities and values of the team.

From experience I know that when teams work together with a common respect they tend to perform better. It doesn’t matter which club or team you play for or if you have the latest sporting equipment, if a team values sportsmanship, they will have a fun, positive experience and that is its own reward.

Soccer Sportsmanship Tips:

• Game rules, fair play and cooperation are critical to a successful soccer match

• Parent’s attitudes often influence how their children behave on the field and feel about their performance. Remember when you are on the sidelines to say positive comments and encourage your child

• Allow for socializing after the game with other players

• Review the game rules and fair play expectations with your players before the game

• Don’t put pressure on players to win. Remember that it is a game and the players are there to have fun

• Parents and coaches should model the values that they want the team to embrace. Players look to you and will follow from your example

• Expect individual and team skills to improve slowly over time, through trial and error and repetition

When your child participates in a soccer match, the most important thing is for your child to go out on the field and have fun. Remember that they are there for a positive experience.

Win or lose, the goal is for your child to have FUN!

– News Canada

Warming up and cooling down, musts for all soccer players

By Charmaine Hooper, Captain of Canada’s Woman’s Soccer Team

Whether you are preparing for a soccer match in the Woman’s World Cup tournament or in your local recreational league, it is important to warm-up, stretch and cool down before and after the game.

Preparing the body for physical activity will help maximize performance and lessen the risk of pulling a muscle during the game. Warming up though stretching and aerobic activity will loosen muscles and increase a player’s readiness for the field. Warming up will also reduce the risk of pulling muscles during a match.

After the game don’t head straight for the car! It is very common for parents and coaches to overlook the importance of a post-game cool-down and stretch. By cooling down, the body will also decrease the chances of any light-headedness or nausea, which can sometimes occur.

Stretching, Warm-up and Cool-down Tips:

• Remember to stretch your leg and back muscles slowly until a comfortable tightening within the muscle is felt

• Hold each muscle stretch for about 30 seconds

• Do not bounce or hold your breath when stretching

• Warming up with light aerobic exercise loosens muscles and readies them for movement. Some of my favourite warm up drills are light jogging and passing the ball. After the game don’t go immediately to the car. It is important to lower your heart rate, which can be done by jogging and stretching

• Stretching after the game will promote muscle flexibility

• It is important to keep drinking fluids during and after cooling down

Have your players take the time to warm-up before and cool down after the game. It only takes a few minutes, but it will help your soccer player’s game and keep their body in healthy condition.

Once players are stretched and warmed up for the soccer game, remember, they are there for a positive experience. – News Canada

Drills and skills for future soccer stars

By Charmaine Hooper, Captain of Canada’s Woman’s Soccer Team

Since I was a young soccer player I have been committed to practicing my soccer skills through regular drill work. Routine drill practice fine-tunes my skills, and is still a critical part of my training today. Encouraging young players to practice simple drills is the secret to improving their soccer skills.

The first skill players should focus on is making each ‘first touch’ perfect (first body contact with the ball). This simple drill will help in all elements of the game. Also, encourage young players to ‘head the ball’ (hit the ball with their forehead). This is an important skill to learn and younger players often tend to shy away from it.

Here are some tips that young players should focus on when they are practicing to improve their skills:

• It is important to work on passing techniques and controlling the ball with your head, chest and thighs.

• To improve skill work at a quicker rate, concentrate on trying to make your first touch and/or pass as perfect as you can every time.

• When heading the ball, remember that players need to keep their eyes open, so as to see the ball and you should have proper supervision when practicing this skill.

• Practice striking the ball straight on with the forehead, stepping towards the ball and in the intended direction of the pass.

• Players should practice drills which include very quick changes of direction in order to increase agility. This can include skill work and can be performed with a partner.

The best advice I can give is to continue working at your skills.

Even at the national and professional level there is always room for improvement. Regular skills and drills are part of my daily routine and a crucial element of my training as I prepare to compete in the Woman’s World Cup this fall.

Source: Shunpiking Online. August 18, 2003


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