One thing every parent has in common is that they only want the best for their kids. But what is the best? And how do you help your player getting it? Even if you absolutely have no idea about soccer, if Maracana sounds like a dish served for dinner, if you think the Balon d´Or is an opera by Mozart, you still can help your child become a better, well-rounded soccer player.
While you can leave the technical aspects to the coach, there are two more very important components impacting a player´s performance: the mental and emotional states. Here are 4 ways that you can prepare your player for competition:
How to Help Your Child Instantly
It might seem silly, but have your player stand in a “winning pose”, like a champion, and imagine him/her in the moment of victory! The mind can work in mysterious ways. The mind can impact the body, and the other way around. After 2 min of “posing”, the body starts feeling more prepared, and your player will go into competition already feeling like a winner!
2.Be an emotional safe-house for your player
Emotions run high right after a match. The players had to endure a lot of physical, but also mental and emotional stress, and the last thing they need is someone telling them their mistakes. Rather than overanalyzing the match on the drive home, offer support. Coaches should have a 24-hour-rule, where they don´t say anything about performance on the field until after 24 hours have passed. It takes time to emotionally recharge, just as it takes for physical recovery. So instead, comment on how much you enjoyed the game, an “I love you” and “It was great to see you play!” will help much more than pointing out bad passes.
3. Strong mind through a strong body:
It is impossible to compete at the peak of your performance when your physical needs are not met. Those include a) sleep b) nutrients and c) hydration! Top performers follow their sleeping schedules and diets religiously. As a rule of thumb, players should get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before a game, and be awake for at least 3 hours prior to kickoff. Nutrition is a whole topic by itself, that we will cover in detail later. But important things to consider are whole wheat products the night before to carbo-load, no heavy meals within 2-3 hours prior to the game, avoid greasy food, and make sure for your player to drink enough water!
4. The importance of recovery
Young athletes seem to have endless energy, and want to play all the time. Just as important as proper training is proper recovery, physically, mentally, and emotionally! Stress is anything that spends energy, in all three categories. Physical stress can be running, and exercising, recovery anything that restores energy. Like sleeping, eating and drinking. Mental stress is thinking, concentrating, and visualizing, while mental recovery is being creative and slowing down mentally. Emotional stress is feeling angry, feeling negative, recovery is feeling positive, joking around and feeling safe.
As you see, you don´t need to have an USSF A-License, to help your player becoming the best they can be! Use these tips to help them prepare right for their games! Do you have any ways you can help your child getting better without knowing too much about soccer? Let us know in the comments.