To be the best you need to train like the best! This is why it is essential to give 100% in soccer practice so you can reach your goals and test your ability. However, to give 100% on the pitch you need to make sure that you are looking after yourself off the pitch. These tips on how to do well in soccer practice can be game-changers for players!
This is how you do well in soccer practice
These are the 8 most valuable tips I give to my players when on how to do well in soccer practice:
- Have a good meal beforehand
- Make sure you are well rested
- reduce screen time before practice
- Give 100% during practice
- Stay hydrated throughout practice
- Listen to coach
- Take risks and accept you’ll make mistakes
- Do a proper warm-up
Below I go into each detail to ensure you maximize each of these benefits.
Have a good meal beforehand
To perform to your best you need to make sure that you are fuelled properly, this means eating a good meal before you practice.
The meal should contain a good source of protein, some vegetables/fruits, and a form of carbohydrates (Rice, pasta, oats).
The size and time of the meal should be taken into consideration.
Remember, the purpose of the meal is not to fill you up, but rather to give you enough energy to help you perform in soccer practice.
This is why the meal should be smaller than your regular-sized meal and eaten 60 – 90 minutes before soccer practice.
Sports Dietitians Australia has a great resource for soccer food and diet tips before and after practices and games.
There also have great snack suggestions to have during practices and games too!
Make sure you are well rested
To work your hardest in soccer practice you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep before and after practices.
Sleep plays an important role in helping the body recover from intense training practices as well as helping the body retain skills learned from the practice session.
These are the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep before and after practice:
- Quicker reactions and decision making
- Fewer chances of injury
- Increased speed
- Better accuracy
- Can work harder over longer periods of time
As an athlete you should be looking to get in between 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night, however, this may vary depending on how many physical activities you are doing a week and your age.
The sleep foundation has great sleeping advice for athletes who are looking to stay on top of their game by getting enough sleep.
Reduce screen time before practices
Technology has become and bigger part of our lives for better and for worse, especially with the introduction of phones and tablets.
Screens are a lot more readily assessable, and they do provide value provided they are used appropriately.
However, excessive screen time has also been linked to poor athletic performance, especially before practices and games.
A study found that soccer players who played 30 minutes of FIFA 18 before playing soccer would make roughly the same amount of passes as another player, however, those passes would be frequently less accurate.
The use of social media mentally fatigues players too, meaning that their concentration would decrease during practices and games.
This would lead to more mistakes.
If you struggle with screen time, It may be beneficial to turn off push notifications on your device before you sleep and before practices and games.
Digital Media Treatment and Education have a really helpful post on how reducing screen time can help you do better in practice.
Give 100% in soccer practices
This should be a given when you are at soccer practice if you want to do well!
Working hard is a skill everyone has but only a few choose to do it.
By giving 100% you are training with the same intensity as you intend to play your games>
This will give you a better understanding of the mentality needed to succeed.
It is important to understand that you will not always have great soccer practice, but from my experience as a coach will be happy regardless of the outcome as long as they give everything at that moment.
By giving 100% you will also be pushing your teammates too, helping them get better as well.
Stay hydrated during soccer practice
In sports drinking water to stay hydrated is critical for maintaining high levels of performance.
Some of the main benefits of drinking water during sports include:
- Higher energy levels
- Better movement
- Helps your body recover
- Thermoregulation (Helps the body control its temperature)
Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Lucozade will help keep you hydrated as well as provide energy
Sports drinks will also replace vitamins and minerals your body loses during exercise too.
Sports Dietitians Australia gives great insight as to how sports drinks and staying hydrated can help you play better in soccer practices
Listen to the coach
The coach is there to help you become the best player you can be and so they have your best interests in mind.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you are listening to the coach so you understand the drills, goals, and objectives of the soccer practice.
By understanding the practice you will be able to spend more time focusing on getting better as opposed to trying to figure out what is going on.
Secondly, you need to listen to the coach when they are giving you feedback.
If you want to grow and develop as a player, being able to receive and implement feedback from the coach is essential to getting better as a player.
The coach is also able to see things from a different perspective, seeing things that you can improve on that you haven’t necessarily thought about.
Take risks and accept that’ll you make mistakes
To do well in soccer practices you need to be prepared to go out of your comfort zone and take risks.
Soccer practices are your playground for trying new things and working on your weaknesses.
When you take risks you will make mistakes, but that is all part of the learning process.
You need to be comfortable making mistakes, however, it is really important that you learn how to overcome challenges so you are not repeating the same mistakes.
Do a thorough warm-up
Not only do warms up help prepare you physically for a game, but they also help prepare you mentally too!
When you warm up make sure that you:
- Gradually increase your heart rate
- Perform dynamic stretches
- Include an explosive jumping exercise
- Conclude with some short 80% sprints
After this part of the warm, you will want to get some touches on a soccer ball.
The best way to do this would be by dribbling a soccer ball while practicing different skills, turns, and touches.
These are the benefits of a thorough warm-up:
- Raises body temperature
- Gets the blood flowing to the muscles
- Less likely to get injured
- Reduce muscle soreness
This is the soccer warm-up I use with my players before games and practices
There are a variety of ways how to do well in soccer practice.
On their own, each strategy will have a minimal effect on your soccer practice performances.
However, when you are able to combine all these tips together and they are carried out over an extended period of time, you will really notice the difference!
Why wait until soccer practice?
You can start practicing your soccer skills outside of training too!
If you are a beginner, these are some beginner soccer drills I would use.
Let me know if you found this post helpful or share it with a player who may find this interesting!
Thank you for reading and sharing,