Monthly Archives: June 2011

Jun 30

Soccer Games for Soccer Conditioning

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Soccer conditioning and fitness should be made into a game as well soccer skills workouts.

The best games are simple, fun and don’t take a lot of explaining to do. If there are tons of rules and explanations it takes away from the main purpose which is to move and get fit!

Here are two games which kids will be very familiar with.

simon says for soccer fitness

Reminds me of rainy days in elementary school

Simon Says
For this game, have exercises and the numbers of exercises. Here is a short list…

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Burpees
  • Jumps
  • Jumping jacks
  • Running in place
  • Hop on one foot
  • Butt kickers
  • Balance on one leg

In the original game if you made a mistake you had to sit out or even do some form of punishment.

Do not do that. When they make a mistake simply have them do a quick shout out. Some thing like “Earthquakes Rock!” (or whatever the name of your team is). The purpose is to get the whole team to move.

It is not to get them to stop exercising or be punished.

A great game to improve mental and physical skills

Builds mind power as well as soccer conditioning

Concentration
This game takes some mental focus effort as well as physical effort.

I like it because it can be done with a whole range of ages and abilities.

To play,  you have a pre-selected order of events. For instance:

  1. T Push-ups
  2. V Sit-ups
  3. Backward jumps
  4. Squats

The kids do the first exercise (1). Then they do the first and second (1,2). Then (1,2,3) and then (1,2,3,4).

You could go as high as you want and you can also go back down. They have to remember the order of the exercises and how many were given.

The numbers of exercises given do not correspond to the number of the exercise. But be careful. Because you’re doing 1, 2, and 3 so many times don’t have a lot of repetitions at the beginning of the game.

So try them out. Make some up of your own. The more games you can use in your soccer practice the more fun your team and kids will have. And the better they will be.

If you liked these ideas, you really should order my athletic skills for soccer book. (And if you don’t like them, you probably shouldn’t.) The book teaches parents (and coaches) how to work with kids so that they enjoy getting in shape and learn basic athletic skills such as strength, balance, coordination and endurance. Improve your child’s soccer conditioning by clicking on the link today.

Jun 30

Soccer Games for Soccer Skills and Conditioning: Part 2

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Kids love adding games to any soccer skills work or soccer conditioning drills. Today, we’ll do some ball control type games for beginner soccer players.

Soccer game for young kids

Great game for younger kids

Red Light/Green Light:
This is a variation of the old kids game. The team lines up on a goal line. Each child has a soccer ball.The finish line is 20 to 40 yards away.

The coach faces away from the players. On the command “Green Light”, the team dribbles the ball forward. On the command “Red Light”, every one stops and the coach turns around. When players stop, one foot should be on the ball.

If coach catches anyone moving they go back to the starting line.

The winner is the first person to cross over the finish line. The winner can then be the one to call out the light colors.

Fun game to develop soccer ball control skills

Horse Shoes
This game is played with two partners, each about ten yards apart. Young kids will want to be closer.

One player stand with their legs apart. The other player kicks the ball towards the partner. A ball between the legs is two points. A ball hitting a leg or foot is one point.

Play to ten points then switch partners.

A more difficult variation of this game is to have the ball rolling before you kick it. The ball can be rolled in any direction, it just has to be kicked before ten yards.

Be sure to alternate kicking feet to encourage the use of the weaker leg.

This is a great game for moms and dads to play with their kids as well.

There are lots more games that can be played for soccer skills work. I bet you can make up some of your own.

If you do, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Thanks!

Jun 30

Soccer games for Soccer Skills and Conditioning: Part 1

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

games improve soccer conditioning and fitness

Use games to keep kids motivated and improving

It’s funny how just by changing a few words can have a huge impact on the meaning of an exercise.

If you tell your child or team, “We’re going to to do soccer conditioning now!”, you’ll probably hear some groans and moans. The kids won’t get into to it, they won’t enjoy it and probably won’t get as much out of the exercises.

But if you say, “We’re going to play soccer games now!”, they will get all excited and want to have participate. They will be curious what you’ll be doing, they will stay focused on the game and will get a lot of the exercises.

Even if it’s the same exercise!

Making practice game like can really help the U8 kids. But it also helps the older ones.

Professional teams do this and they have to be careful. The athletes get so competitive that they actually can get hurt.

What are the key components of making a soccer game?

They are:

  • Fun
  • Competitive
  • Challenging

There is one other component which is very important. That is to not keep score.

When you keep score you start having winners and losers. Good soccer games should not be about winning and losing.

They should be about fun, play and learning.

The next few posts will go into specific games that can be played to develop soccer fitness or soccer skills.

Coach, would you like your parents helping out to make your team better athletes? Encourage them to improve their kids soccer fitness and athletic abilities by ordering Athletic Skills for Soccer.

 

Jun 29

Does Your Kid Need Soccer Conditioning Help?

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

kids need soccer fitness and conditioning

Many kids are not ready for soccer

Has your son or daughter just started playing soccer?

Summer soccer is getting in full swing and a lot of programs have started.

Do you watch practice and think…”My daughter just isn’t that athletic but I hope she likes the sport.”

A lot of kids start soccer without the athletic skills and movement experiences needed to be successful. Oh sure, they get to play and they will have fun.

Up to a point.

When they get older they will get frustrated with not much playing time or losing most of the battles for the ball.

Did you know the ugly secret of youth sports?

80% of kids quit by time they are 14!

I think one of the main reasons is they lacked the fundamental skills to be successful when they were young and starting.

This puts them at a disadvantage from the very beginning. As they get older, the separation between the good athletes and the not so good gets bigger and bigger.

Let’s face it; a few seconds slower makes a huge difference when running for a loose ball.

Perhaps you’re not a great athlete or don’t have a background in soccer or even fitness. Yet you want to help your kid.

It can be hard to get good coaching and it’s usually expensive.

So what can you do?

I recommend you try my soccer fitness and conditioning program for kids. It teaches parents how to develop soccer fitness with their child.

You’ll have fun, improve their skills…and if you do the exercises with them you’ll get in better shape as well (a free added bonus!)

The program is guaranteed. If you try it and don’t like it, I will give you a full refund.

But if you try it and love it, promise you’ll recommend it to your friends and other team parents.

Because who knows what could happen if everyone started becoming an athlete.

Click the link here to develop your child’s soccer fitness and conditioning.

Jun 29

Routines, Rituals and Wrap-ups; The three R’s of a Good Soccer Team

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Develop soccer fitness both mental and physical

The Three R's of Coaching

A lot of coaches have troubles maintaining discipline with their teams…

  • There is petty fighting, arguments and backstabbing;
  • Kids are confused and don’t know what to do especially under game situations
  • Lack of unity; kids don’t even know each others names.
  • Practice time is wasted by trying to get everyone organized, to listen or to follow directions…

Even if you don’t have these problems setting up routines, rituals and wrap-ups will help your team. Especially in competition (where I think many kids have a difficult time).

Let’s look at each component and how they are applied…

Routines
Routines are your daily workout schedule. When you come, what your bring, what you do.

They should be clear with kids…and parents. I’m not one for being a hard ass about punctuality and in today’s world of single parents it can be difficult to always get kids there on time. So if attendance or punctuality is a problem come up with contingency plans.

The workout schedule should be a routine as well; warm-up, conditioning, skills, small game, scrimmage, wrap-up. That’s who I would do it but it’s really up to you. But kids should know what’s next.

Rituals
Rituals are special things kids do to get ready for a game or maybe even practice.

  • In the martial arts you bow before you step into the room or onto the mat.
  • In rugby many teams do a Masai warrior dance before a game.
  • Some schools pray.
  • Many teams have a team cheer.
  • Some baseball teams don’t wash their clothes if they are on a streak (they are a bit weird and tend to smell bad.)

It doesn’t matter what you do…as long as you do it and get the team to buy into it.

Wrap-up
After every practice there should always be a wrap-up. Go over what you did, what you learned, what’s next on the schedule.

Do a Give or Get.

Give a hint of what’s coming up next. Make them excited and looking forward to coming to the next practice.

Every workout should end on a positive note. Kids should be looking forward to it.

I never got coaches who ended practice by yelling and lecturing their teams. The kids don’t respond (positively at least) and then they have 24 hours to think about it and feel crappy.

Coaches…want to get your team parents developing their kids soccer fitness? Encourage them to order, read and put into practice the exercises and techniques in Athletic Skills For Soccer. It will help your team’s soccer fitness and skills. Click the click here: Soccer Fitness for Kids

 

Jun 29

Be An Animal…Soccer Conditioning Drills from the Sea

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

crabs walks develop strong backs and cores for soccer fitness

Crab walking develops core and back for soccer conditioning

Crab walks are excellent for building core, leg and back strength.

A lot of kids don’t use their posterior muscles when they run and crab walk exercises help develop the muscles of the posterior chain.

They can be done as races, over distance, battles (trying to knock the others down) or even using the ball.

This variation will use a soccer ball.

  • Athletes sit down with their hands by the hips.
  • Knees are bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift the hips up up and start to walk. (Feet first or head first. Best if it’s mixed up)
  • Use a soccer ball between the feet and dribble it slowly.

There are as many ways to do this exercise as there are types of crabs in the sea.

  • Set up cones and dribble around them;
  • Crab soccer scrimmage;
  • Passing with a partner;
  • Different directions; forward,back, side to side.

Besides muscular strength this drill will develop the cardiovascular system because it is a full body workout and tough to do.crab walks are great for soccer conditioning Click the link for a video showing the drill.

Have fun with this drill. Animal drills are to be fun, not to be done perfectly or to exhaust kids.

One of the biggest mistakes I see coaches make is to take a fun drill like this and turn it into a Marine type workout. Do that and the fun goes away.

For more techniques on how to work with kids so soccer conditioning, exercise and movement is fun be sure to order Athletic Skills for Soccer program. You and your kids will love it..and they will get in the best soccer shape of their lives. Click the link to learn more.

Jun 29

Be An Animal: Fun Soccer Conditioning Drills for Kids Part 1

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

gorilla drills develop strength for soccer

Get gorilla strong with these soccer conditioning drills

I guess I’ve been on a soccer conditioning kick. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working out a lot and having fun getting in shape.

It also might be because I’m thinking about making some Youtube videos and animal exercise would be pretty good. Making them is pretty easy and there should be lots of opportunities for humor. Who knows…maybe one of them will go viral.

Anyway, animal exercises are a great way to bring in a whole lot of fitness to kids. They are both fun and challenging. There are hundreds…perhaps thousands of variations that can be done. They are pretty much limited to your imagination.

Gorillas
For the first set of exercises picture yourself deep in Africa…you hear a grunt in the forest…and out comes a gorilla shuffling…Gorilla soccer conditioning exercise

Squat down so both hands touch the ground. Fists on the ground are best.

Extend your body forward so arms reach out.

Bring both feet up to the right, then reach and bring both feet up to the left.

Monkey Drill

monkey walking is a great soccer conditioning exercise

Walk like a monkey to get ape like strength and flexibility

High in the trees they drop down to the ground and start screaming and running around like…monkeys!

  • Athletes squat down all the way till hips are resting on their heels.
  • Raise both hands up high and shake them like a monkey.
  • Staying low start walking forward. Try not to let the hands drop to the ground.

 

These two are difficult exercises that kids will want to do.

Emphasize doing them slow and imitate the animals. If they go fast and start to race then then they will get upright and lose a lot of the strength and conditioning effects.

For a bunch more of animal exercises, order the Athletic Skills for Soccer program. Develop your teams soccer fitness and conditioning.

 

Jun 29

Soccer Conditioning Drills for Skills and Coordination: Part 3

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Rolling the ball mixed with running is a great soccer conditioning drill

Mix soccer skills with soccer conditioning sets

So how can you actually improve soccer skills and coordination with conditioning drills?

It’s fairly easy and a lot of fun. It opens up your creative outlet.

The secret is to mix up any difficult conditioning drill with an easier skill related drill.

For instance here is a drill sequence which works on running speed as well as dribbling…

  • 6 x 30 yard sprints with 10 seconds rest at 70%
  • Dribble soccer ball around four cones as fast as possible
  • Repeat the set four times with the runs getting faster (80, 85, 90, 95%)

Or here is a drill sequence for younger kids working on full body conditioning and passing skills…

  • 5 push-ups; 8 passes to a partner
  • 10 sit-ups; 6 passes to a partner
  • 3 burpees; 4 passes t0 a partner

There is no magic exercise number, order, sequence or anything.

It will change according to how your team is doing and from your observation. Remember to continually asses to see how it is working.

It is important to mix things up as well. Keep the athletes guessing and keep them thinking.

You can use this technique of mixing conditioning drills with any other skill you want. You can even throw it in during scrimmages as well. For instance; scrimmage for ten minutes then do a running set. Mix and repeat.

Soccer conditioning can be fun for the kids and for you. Mix things up like this and you’ll soon see your team getting in better shape than ever before.

Hey Mom and Dad. This works for you as well. You can mix these fitness games up with your kids. They will get in better shape and so will you. Heck do it for two months, lose 20 pounds then pay me for being your personal trainer.

If you want some more exercises and soccer fitness and conditioning exercises check out my program by clicking the link. It will teach you how to work with your child to bring out the athlete in them.

Jun 28

Soccer Conditioning Drills that Build Skill and Coordination: Part 2

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

push-ups develop soccer strength

What about the U12 and U14 athletes? What do they need for soccer conditioning.

At this level, they need to be challenged more. The conditioning drills can be harder and more challenging.

They can be a little longer and work on building endurance and strength.

Kids at this age are developing their muscles and bones. They need to be challenged enough so that their bodies get a workout.

However, they are still kids.

  • Do not train them like you think professional athletes are trained. You don’t do this for a few reasons;
  • First, they probably physically aren’t developed or ready for this type of training.
  • Second, they need to have room to keep growing and developing. If they do too much, what can they do more of when they are in college?
  • Third, they have so much to learn and improve on in terms of soccer skills and strategy that spending too much time on conditioning won’t help the team. Being in great shape doesn’t help if you don’t know how to play.

At this age, especially if they plan on competing at higher levels or even if they just want to become more fit, it is important that they start to take responsibility for some of their own fitness concerns.

Homework can be given so they can work on strength, speed and endurance.

They can do additional strength exercises at home as well as running form drills or speed work.

Another advantage of having the kids be responsible for their own soccer conditioning program is it teaches them how to make and set goals.

(That is if you teach and show them and hold them accountable. They won’t learn it on their own.)

For soccer conditioning and fitness exercises that are appropriate for younger kids and older kids that aren’t ready for super challenging work, then go click on soccer conditioning for kids.

It’s great for younger kids and those kids that are new to soccer and need developmental work on athletic skills.

Jun 28

Soccer Conditioning Drills that Build Skill and Coordination. Part 1

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

soccer conditioning is like a soccer cake

Soccer conditioning is like making a soccer cake

Soccer conditioning for kids is kind of like making the perfect cake.

You have to get the right ingredients, mix the them correctly and bake them at the right temperature.

Too hot and your cake is as dry and wasted as a summer day in the Sahara.

Too cold and you might as well be out there for a week. You’ll never get it done.

There’s no hard and fast rules for soccer fitness either. There are four considerations which need to take place though…

  1. The age of the athletes;
  2. The skill level of the athletes
  3. What areas of soccer fitness need to be addressed;
  4. The season plan.

Let’s look at each of the requirements in more detail.

Younger athletes (U8…maybe even U10) need more generalized training. Doing sport specific, soccer fitness exercises is not right for these kids.

They need their general athletic skills; strength, balance, coordination, and speed skills developed. And if these skills have not been developed yet, they need to be addressed.

Working on soccer specific fitness exercises before an athlete is ready will lead to injuries as well as over-training. The kids will not go as far as if they have the basics down.

When you do soccer conditioning with younger athletes there needs to be a heavy emphasis on fun and games.

That’s worth repeating:

Use fun and games with the younger kids for soccer conditioning

Workouts can be difficult and challenging. Indeed, they need to be. But they should also be short with lots of breaks and rests.

At this stage kids are developing neurologically the most. The neurological system develops best with short, frequent bouts of practice.

For a ton of exercises that are developmentally and age appropriate to develop soccer conditioning for kids, click the link.

 

 

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