The age-old sport of soccer involves two opposing teams trying to kick the ball into their respective goals. Although the basic premise of the game is simple, the internationally recognized game has unmatched popularity throughout the world, with everything from children’s soccer prep schools to the American Soccer League recognized as prestigious championships. It is even an Olympic sport, and the Euro cup is something that Europeans take very seriously. If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for some advice on how to get into soccer and begin preparing for your first match. This is an easy-to-follow guide with everything you might need to know before you head out onto the pitch. Whether you’re starting out as an adult, or have a child who is starting their first match soon, and you want to prepare, even if you’ve been playing soccer recreationally for a while, but you’re wanting to get more serious, we have you covered with our top tips to prepare.
The international game has the power to unite or divide nations, with its power being demonstrated throughout history, including the Christmas truce. More than 240 million people from 200 countries play soccer. At this point, soccer really is a universal language that does not know human-created boundaries such as international borders or causes for conflict and war. Human nature brings us together and when that fails, we have a ball to kick about with and can easily form goals using whatever is at hand. For so many people, soccer is a nostalgic part of their childhoods. Using sweaters or shoes to make goals and scrambling to find enough players, children across the globe exercise this power to unite people of all backgrounds, regardless of faith and culture.
The first thing you need to know about soccer is that very little equipment is needed. The great thing about the game is its simplicity. You really only need a ball. However, if you want to play matches, it’s essential that you have a good pair of sneakers and cleats. Although there is no traditional season for youth soccer, most states play a fall and a spring season. This means that cleats are essential for playing on a grass pitch in rainy weather. You will also need a decent pair of sneakers for artificial turf, as some states alternate the surface played on with weather and grass maintenance. Another thing you could buy is your team jersey if you know it. More information about where to find the best customer service and price for what you might need can be found in the link above. An easy-to-follow guide compares reviews, customer star ratings, and stock availability to recommend the best site for you to stock up on equipment.
If you’re looking to take soccer more seriously and want to work on your stamina, it’s a great idea to focus on your fitness and find a regular training routine that works for you. By integrating more varied exercises into your week, you are bound to reap the benefits of being faster and more agile on the pitch. Regular, varied exercises can improve your mood, wellbeing, and metabolism. Not to mention how much your overall fitness and body confidence will improve. Educating yourself on how to effectively warm up is also a crucial stage of preparation because it can prevent injury and ensure the correct muscles are being worked. Be sure to get the heart pumping, blood flowing and muscles stretched before you start your first match. If you are unsure how to effectively do this, ask your coach or teammates how, or you could look online and do your own research.
There is no contact with soccer and tackling is predominantly focused on footwork, so it’s always been a focus for children and adults alike. The low-contact nature is great if you’re just starting out in the world of team sports because the sense of community among team members is sure to shock you. Build up a supportive social network with your friends or team members to motivate each other to train regularly and work on your collective fitness. Having someone to keep you in check is great for building rapport and integrating more exercise into your routine. Building rapport is essential within a team and helps build social relationships and improve overall communication. You could even try to get a friend to join your team so that you could carpool.
Learn the Rules and Positions
This one might seem obvious, but there are certain positions and roles that each player on a soccer team plays. It’s important to do your research and familiarize yourself with the different positions, just to be sure you’ve covered all bases and are as prepared as you can possibly be. From attackers and defenders to goalkeepers and center players, you need to know how much of the pitch each player can move in and what areas are out of bounds. There are also different names for positions and if you know each variation, you’re sure to start without any obstacles in your first soccer match.
We aren’t saying you need to completely switch up your diet and only eat vegetables, but introducing more nutritious and balanced meals to your routine can help your body in many ways. Nutritionists say the more colorful your plate is, the better. A natural variety of colors and food groups will keep you fuller for longer and enable muscle repair, as well as providing healthier sources of energy. Protein, greens, and wholegrain options are sensible sources of fuel but speak to your doctor or a nutritionist before making any drastic change.
Another essential thing to incorporate into your diet is more water. Hydrate at every opportunity, and buy yourself a fun water bottle or flask to keep by you when you head to your first match. Plenty of water is essential for muscle repair, and you’d be surprised what it can do for your energy levels. You could also focus on eating habits around training. For example, try to get into a routine of eating 2 hours before a match to promote healthy digestion and use healthy carbohydrates to keep you fueled. If your training sessions usually last a while, and you find yourself doing a lot of cardio, you could try packing some granola bars in your gym bag to keep you going and prevent muscle spasms. Of course, it’s also important to remember that overeating is just as damaging as under-eating. Make sure you are eating the recommended calorie intake for your age, height, and weight.
It’s so important that you take the time to work on your sleep routine and prioritize rest. Creating a routine where you get a full eight hours of sleep is the number one thing you can do to aid exercise and promote muscle repair as well as cognitive growth. Not getting enough sleep is associated with poor concentration, weakened immune system, and hormone imbalances. In order to feel the benefits of your new training pattern and fitness routine, incorporate sleep into that routine. Maybe you could set an alarm at 10 pm to start winding down and read a few pages of a book. You’d be surprised by how your outlook can change with a good sleep routine.
Learn from your mistakes
It can be easy to focus on how you might have messed up in the last game or what could’ve gone differently if you did a different type of training or warm up. Try to keep a journal after each game or training session and record all of your progress and what you’ve learned from it. Stay optimistic and use your support network to keep encouraging you and see mistakes as an opportunity for growth. The people who make the most mistakes in life tend to be the most successful. It’s all about attitude and thinking about what you can learn from your mistakes in order to improve and make yourself the best version that you can be.
On the whole, it’s great that you’re looking to start preparing for your first soccer match, and we hope that this guide has given you some pointers to focus on. Soccer is a universal game recognized all over the world, maybe because of all the benefits such a game offers. Health benefits of regularly playing soccer include improved overall fitness, agility, and coordination that comes with learning how to be fast on your feet and adapting to change quickly. Other benefits include quick-thinking and mental agility. The mind is always working and with improved self-discipline, mental growth, as well as physical, can really improve. Your stamina will also get better with time and practice, which is bound to be beneficial when focusing on the fast-moving components of a team. Soccer encourages players to think on their feet and enables more and more people to exercise restraint and mental agility in all areas of life, including the workplace.
Team building is an important skill to learn, and many players benefit from the new social dynamic that comes with starting a new sport. If you are more introverted, soccer might be good for you because while encouraging effective teamwork and communication, the focus is on how teams work as a whole and scores rather than social dynamics. A great thing to do if you feel anxious before a game or your mind is racing is to focus on the ball and visualize the pitch. Picture yourself in your favorite position playing well and think about how it makes you feel. Studies have shown that visualization is highly effective in building confidence and encouraging successful outcomes during stressful situations. Whether showing your competitive streak or playing for recreation, soccer is important in human development and adult life combined.
The power a game of soccer can have has been demonstrated through history. During the 1914 first world war, men from both sides of No Man’s Land came together to celebrate Christmas on the Western Front. A game of soccer then began between enemies fighting to form the famous Christmas truce. This is only one demonstration of how soccer holds a place in all of our hearts and unites people around the world by using simplistic rules and minimal equipment. Perhaps during these trying times, we could all use a step back to focus on the fact that we are all human and enjoy a jovial game of soccer with friends, or even strangers.