Playing soccer can be a whole lot of fun, but any sport comes with certain risks. Bodily injury and dehydration should be a concern for both parents and young players. That’s why the coaches in beginner and expert soccer training programs emphasize the importance of proper safety procedures. Whether your child plans to enroll in soccer training lessons this coming year or they’ll be attending summer soccer programs for kids during these next few weeks, here are a few safety tips they should follow.
Always wear protective gear
Without exception, all players should wear mouth guards, cleats, shin guards, padding, and proper clothing. It’s all too easy to slip on the field or sustain an injury to the mouth or legs without this equipment. And a mistake like that could potentially leave your player sidelined for the whole season. Stress the importance of wearing this gear at all times. Players who are too confident about their skills will often learn the hard way.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration is key in any sport. Remember that by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! This can have a severe effect on performance and can make players more prone to injury. Have your player stick to a drinking schedule so that they never actually feel thirst. Five to nine ounces of fluid every 20 minutes is ideal. Teach your player about the warning signs of dehydration (headache, thirst, dizziness, nausea, irritability, cramping, and flushed skin) and make sure they listen to what their body needs.
Warm up and cool down
The majority of soccer players have to run up and down the field a lot during the course of a game. Many times, they can travel anywhere from five to seven miles! By stretching and warming up before and after practices and games, your young player will be much less prone to injury. Dynamic stretching, quick jogs, and jumping jacks are all recommended methods. A lot of knee and ankle injuries are caused by sudden movements (like pivots and stops), rather than forceful contact with another player on the field. That means that these can often be avoided by warming up and cooling down properly. Reputable summer soccer programs for kids will teach players the best ways to take care of their bodies and ensure they’re ready for play.
Inspect the field
Before heading out to begin a practice or game, players should learn how to inspect the field for obstacles and holes. In the heat of a game, a player isn’t likely to notice broken glass or items that they could trip over — until it’s too late. Your player should make it a habit to scan the field for hazards. They should also inspect the goals to ensure they’re anchored. It’s not unheard of for nets to fall on goalies during game play, which can sometimes result in serious injury or even fatality. While not everything can be controlled during a game, the environment in which they play can be.
Summer soccer programs for kids are an excellent way to familiarize your young player with the ins and outs of the game and improve their skills. But proper safety measures must be followed so they can get the most out of their experience. By teaching young players about the precautions they need to take, you’ll help them form lifelong habits that will decrease their risk of illness and injury during game play.