The soccer coach

Why wearing shin pads is so important

 

 

Soccer is not a graceful dance. There’s bound to be someone who will hit another player with a wayward cleat or swift kick. Although shin guards are sometimes unnecessary when doing fitness work or technical training, they should be worn during practice and games. As a coach, I discourage diving in and tackling the ball in many of my team’s conditioned games as well as some other activities.

Instead, I encourage my team to use proper defensive technique and to anticipate the pass. However, when getting into scrimmage situations, they are instructed to put shin guards on especially when I put them through some activity where all restrictions are removed.

This includes working on winning the ball or on 1-on-1 defense. Some of my players wear them all the time, but others don’t like having them on. However, should the conditions I mention above be occurring, I do not tolerate those who don’t like wearing shin pads. I also reprimand those who just put a piece of cardboard in their socks to make them look like shin guards.

I like teaching technique to my players during barefoot games, and those are the times that none of them wear shin pads. For stretching, warm-ups, and cooldowns, fitness training and technical skills training, I don’t require them to wear shin pads as well.

Shin guards are a great training tool so players know quickly that they should not hold on to the ball for an extended period or when the ball is 49-51. Back in the day when shin guards were optional, I earned the scars to prove to them what playing without shin guards can do.

When I dared play a pick-up game without shin pads, even though I was very careful, I still managed to get clipped several times by a clumsy co-player. This could have been averted if I had been smart enough to put shin guards on.

Players need to acknowledge that soccer is a contact sport. Soccer law prohibits unfair contact between players. That said, even ethical challenges can expose the player to substantial contact. Besides, even if serious foul play and harsh tackles are considered infringements, it doesn’t mean they do not happen on a regular basis.

Shin guards shield the vulnerable shin from exposure to kicks, tackles and other strikes. There’s not much insulation by tissue and muscle on our shin bones but their location and short distance from the primary action focus in soccer, which is the feet, make the use of the shins a priority.

That area needs sufficient protection to enable soccer players to engage in the game. In the same manner, as wearing a seatbelt, you need to have shin guards on whether you want to or not. It is not an optional thing or something based on preference.

 

Soccer laws are definite about player safety. Shin pads are compulsory equipment and are the only ones with further stipulations.

The FIFA law on shin guards states that they have to be completely covered by the stockings in addition to being able to deliver a reasonable level of protection and being made of appropriate material for their purpose.

Thus, metal-plated shin guards are not allowed. Neither are cardboard strips used to replace plastic, rubber or other accepted material. Despite the fact that shin pads do not guarantee total protection from injury, they still serve as an insurance policy that injury to the shin bone is reduced in the event of contact.

Soccer players should not be allowed to enter the field during a game without shin guards if they are to be shielded from abrasions, cuts and even a fractured shin bone. Shin guards ensure you can keep playing without fear, it’s that simple.

Getting your kids to play soccer – equipment requirements

Kids can benefit in several ways when they play soccer. The exercise that they get during practice and at games will provide them with healthy benefits that can last throughout their lives. You rarely see kids with weight problems playing team sports, and those that do tend to lose the extra pounds by the end of the season. Soccer can also teach kids the skills the need to succeed in life. They will learn how to play and work with others as a team, along with hopefully learning the qualities associated with good sportsmanship. Some kids are even lucky enough to make friends with teammates that last for years.

 

If this sounds like something you want for your kid then there is some gear you need to purchase to ensure your child is safe on the field. Having the right equipment can also help your child be a better player. Here is a brief list of the gear kids need if they want to play on a soccer team.

 

  1. Socks and  Shin Guards

 

When you are looking for a pair of socks you need to make sure that they are designed for soccer players. This is often required for kids to play on a regulation field. The socks are also commonly used to hold the shin guards in place or to keep them from rubbing uncomfortably against your child’s skin.

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Shin guards are a required piece of equipment and you will be glad that your child is wearing them after their first practice. Kicks and hits to the shins are common, whether your kid is an advanced player or just starting out. I can’t tell how how many times I’ve seen a soccer player injured just because he was too lazy to put his shin guards on. There are two types of shin guards for kids to choose from, and the best one usually depends on what feels comfortable to them.

 

  1. Cleats

 

You simply can’t play soccer without a pair of cleats, and parents are always happy to learn that not all are constructed from metal. Hard rubber cleats are usually recommended for kids since they will still provide plenty of traction, while minimizing the risk of injury. Rubber cleats are usually priced a little lower, which parents also appreciate. When your kids are trying on a pair of cleats it is best that they do so while wearing their socks to ensure they get a secure and comfortable fit.

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  1. Clothes

 

Even though most teams do supply uniforms to the players, your kids still need clothes to practice in. You do want to remember that they will get dirty, and mud and grass stains are a sign that your kids had a good practice. Loose fitting long or short sleeve t-shirts are standard during practice, along with athletic shorts. You want their clothes to be comfortable and loose fitting so they can easily move around on the field. If you aren’t sure you can always ask a sales clerk for advice at your local sporting goods store or get recommendations from your child’s coach.

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Why I Think Soccer Has the Potential to Be One of the Most Popular Sports in the US

Do you remember the days when soccer was pretty much a matter of scornful discussion right here in the US? On US ground, we have our football, and we call the sport loved by the entire globe soccer, although its rightful name is football, to begin with. It is clear for everyone that soccer is not the number one sport in the US, since we have football, baseball and basketball to take the cake. However, I think that things are about to change and that we will find that soccer has the potential to become one of the most popular sports in the US.

so1It may have all started with the first FIFA World Cup held on US soil, back in 1994. Suddenly, there was an energy growing everywhere across the US, with us finally rooting for our soccer team, although there were so many countries with plenty of accolades under their names. It was clearly then that soccer gained traction in the States for the first time in history. For the first time, we saw why so many people across the globe were so madly in love with this sport. And we brought our contribution, too. 3.6 million fans attended the matches, and there were 11 million viewers glued to the screen in order to watch the outcome not only for our national team, but for the others, as well.


so2Now, after more than 20 years since those glorious times, things are undergoing a pretty important revolution. What I noticed from my activity as a soccer couch is that more and more young people are taking up soccer, which is a great thing. These young kids are all fans of the sport, and, when they are flipping through the channels, they are skipping even the most important events from other sports, just to watch soccer. They will grow and they will compete in important tournaments organized for soccer and they will bring the popularity of this sport even further.

After the MLS (Major League Soccer) was born and we had the famous David Beckham play for an US based team, we can safely say that we are on the right path to fame. People who are buying tickets and are attending MLS events are on the rise. Just in 2015, there were 12.7% more attendees to MLS matches than the year before. And the trend does not seem to show any signs of slowing down.

I see the potential is there and that we can play beautiful soccer. Now, every 4 years, when the World Cup is on, we are becoming crazier and crazier about our national team. Maybe, one day, US soccer players will even raise the cup above their heads, making us all proud.

All things soccer

I should probably make one thing clear, this blog will be about all things soccer. I’ve decided that the best way to share my passion with as many people as possible is to start posting about the sport that I love. Since soccer or football as it is commonly called is a sport played around the world I will try to include information that is useful to everyone no matter where your home field is located.

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I will cover the latest news, including the World and Asian Cup, along with which professional players bear watching in upcoming matches. You will also be able to find tips on various techniques, along with information on the latest “must have” gear. If you love soccer as much as I do I hope that you will enjoy this blog.

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You are probably wondering what makes me qualified to give you tips and advice on this great sport. If I were reading this I would wonder the same thing too. You don’t want to start following advice on how to be a great soccer player from just anyone, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been a successful coach for several years. While I might not have had the honor of coaching an Olympic or World Cup team, I am very proud of what my amateur players have accomplished over the years.

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Soccer for me is a way of life and on this website you can find more articles I wrote in the last few months. By this I don’t mean that I go to my job dressed in cleats and shinguards, but I do use many of the lessons I’ve learned on the field in my daily life. Good sportsmanship can be applied throughout the day, and the ability to accept defeat gracefully is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from playing and coaching soccer. It has also taught me that with patience, hard work and determination anything is possible.

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The sport has also helped keep me in great shape, even though I coach more than I play. I also hope that my blog will stress the importance of exercise and healthy living to everyone that reads it. In order to keep up with my players during practice I’ve had to maintain a healthy weight, and this means that I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Later on I might even share some of my recipes with you.

If you want to find out more about the health benefits of playing soccer, you should read this.

 

If you love all things soccer and are constantly looking for new ways to improve your performance on and off the practice field, I hope that my blog will provide some inspiration and help you meet and exceed your goals.