So, for those of you who would like to know more about how to stay in shape and improve your athletic ability this season, this is the post that you want to be reading. And if you have got this far it means that you are doing just that, so continue…
Long gone are the days where sports coaches and players thought it sufficient to just play football and train football in order to improve and maintain fitness for the beautiful game. Nowadays everyone relaises that you have to have a diverse fitness regime in order to be at your best at all times on the pitch.
Types of Training
In a football game most players will need the ability to sprint over short distances followed by recovery periods. This is very similar to interval training, so this is one aspect of fitness which needs to be worked on during training sessions. Another aspect is that of overall stamina. In order to sustain running for 90 minutes it requires quite a lot of stamina, and most importantly the ability to recover very quickly between sprints.
If you think about a game of football you will often see players sprinting to attack or get back and defend then have some time to recover and walk around a little bit.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is certainly going to be one of the most useful types of training that you can add to your fitness regime in order to improve your fitness on the field. For example, you could use a 40 metre sprint track and run it 10 times with 30 seconds rest in between each sprint. This would be a very hard workout and a lot harder than it sounds.
Anyway, I wanted to recommend a training camp that I recently went on over in Thailand. The guys down at Titan Fitness are a great crowd and will easily help you achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be. For me, they designed me a specific training program for football so that I could improve my athletic ability on the pitch. The camp is down in Phuket and is very easy to get to. They also have a gym there, so you can easily do a normal workout in addition to the classes that they run.
Most people, on realizing they are suffering from anxiety, seek medical aid from therapists. They often try to find the best vitamins for stress and anxiety, without looking for a more natural way to combat this affliction. Others try to regulate on diet so as to cut back on fatty foods that may cause obesity and anxiety. In the long run, alcohol intake, yogurt and drinks that contain acids so as not to interfere with the body’s alkaline environment and magnesium and finally reduce caffeine intake without at any time thinking of sport as a perfect remedy for anxiety, mood and depression.
As you can probably tell by the opening paragraph, today’s post is going to be about how football and sport an help to alleviate bad feelings of depression and improve one’s mood.
Compared to medication, sporting is more powerful as it also improves the overall health of the body and is cheaper since the only expense to incur is of the sporting gear. Daily exercising guarantees you improved mood and reduced depression. According to research, it leads to desired free life in the long run.
Inactivity vs. mood and depression
Research has for a long time now linked lack of physical activity to depression, though not distinctly clear, the following tries to explain the reason behind this.
- High level of stress hormones; when stress and depression creeps in, the body responds by production of stress hormones called cortisol. Research indicates that body movement is essential in depleting cortisol bringing it down to required level thus improving on mood and depression
- More unused energy; bodies were created to move. If you deny your body movement, the accumulated unused energy creates physical tension and ultimately mental tension thus affecting your mood.
- Poor immune system; sporting is essential for maintaining body hormonal balance resulting to an improved immune system. imbalance of hormones due to inactivity can cause mood swings and at times depression
Sporting vs. mood and depression
It is important to note that, not being physically active doesn’t not result to depression and mood changes to everyone. Sometimes it is because of life uncertainties and hopelessness. Sporting only helps in managing it as below
- Relaxation neurotransmitters; sporting has similar effects to medication in depression management. It triggers the release of natural pain killers-endorphin in the brain so as to prevent pain from exercising but they also play a big role in the regulation of mood and mind relaxation
- Breakdown of cortisol; cortisol is a stress hormone produced when one is stressed or depressed. Sporting activities have been found to break down cortisol preventing further depression symptoms.
- Reduced inactivity; inactive bodies have more build up energy that causes tension. Sporting protects the body from both physical and mental tension. It also reduces the fact that inactivity related depression affects you.
- Healthy way of life; sporting is a healthy way to spend free time as it improves on overall health apart from prevention of depression.
- Improved sleep; people suffering from depression hardly sleep. Sporting tires one’s body making it easier to fall asleep. Sleep is essential in depression management and therefore completely valuable for sporting to improve sleep.
Apart from the above, sporting also improves on confidence and makes the body to be more efficient.
Breaking into sporting
When starting, you need to introduce your body slowly by simply getting out and moving. The body needs to get used to exertion and breathing for a few days as you make those gradual improvements.
Consider the following simple exercises
- Stretching; essential in ensuring the muscles do not freeze hence no physical or mental tension build up responsible for mood and depression
- Biking; quite relaxing and one of the best forms of exercising. Instead of using your car for that short distance, try biking experience
- Walking; walking is a simple yet a good form of exercising since it enables body movements and occupies the mind
- Playing relaxed sport; examples include; badminton, bowling, baseball and even dancing among others. They are all essential for improved blood flow and reduced depression symptoms.
When your body is ready and is used to exertion, employ a bit more intensive sporting as below
- Swimming; a bit intense compared to walking due to water resistance that will work out muscles
- Light jogging; improves on blood circulation and enables the body to get rid of wastes via sweat. it also leads to production of endorphin, hormones responsible for depression and mood control
- Joining a team; it improves on morale and offers competition for a bit more intensive sporting
The above were initial stages of preparation to intensive sporting. Before engaging on any intensive exercising programme, it is vital to talk to your doctor about it for guidance and advice. The following are some sports that will help in improving your mood and at the same time fight depression
- Yoga; provides a good mix of mental and physical exercising. It is considered to be a natural way of fighting depression and a good way to calm the mind. The good thing is that, yoga doesn’t involve the use of expensive equipment, all you need is a mat and free you tube videos for guidance. Yoga trains one to focus and have a relaxed mind which is a vital ingredient in curing depression
- Boxing; with boxing, you only need a pair of gloves and contact pads. Sometimes a punching bag for practise is essential. These are all easily obtained hence only little amount of money is required. Basic boxing drills can be easily accessed in you tube. On mastering the basics, involve yourself in simple competitions to boost your confidence and improve on mood.
- Kayaking; a good work out that leaves one with a happy and relaxed feeling. The natural water sounds are also soothing. When kayaking, try to synch your paddle strokes with your breath to for that additional exercising dimension. It is also vital for mind relaxation as it is likened to meditation.
- Running; the only equipment needed here is a pair of sport shoes. Check in the internet for free training modes and try practising them. When running, it is essential to keep focus on your breath as this automatically calms the mind. Running also initiates the release of endorphins which is essential for the body.
- Hiking; it places one in the middle of nature lifting the feelings of depression. With only mountaineering boots required, walking in a forest with sounds of chirping birds and enjoying mountain views and eventually relaxing by the riverside has never been so relaxing. It is a sport yet one of the best ways of outdoor relaxation.
- Gym; the gym offers variety of exercises to indulge in that can manage mood and depression. A gym instructor guides through mild, moderate and finally intense workouts that improve the general health of the body.
Mood and depression management via sporting will only be a success if one is committed and follows a well prepared timetable of sporting activities to be involved in. cure depression by fighting inactivity.
As everyone knows, football is a team sport. Passing the ball among the team members is one of the fundamental features of this beloved game. Football players can never be successful if they do not know how to pass the ball. At first glance, this skill seems simple, but in reality it is something like an art. Knowing where one’s teammates are and landing the ball at a desired position is tricky and requires tons of practice to perfect. And this is why most football trainers and coaches have created fun games and drills that will help improve the passing skills of football players. The BBC are always updating their website with new skills, tips and tricks from managers and coaches around the world so check that site out regularly in order to learn new techniques using football drills.
Keep Your Yard Clean
The first game that helps improve a player’s passing skills is known as “Keep Your Yard Clean.” This drill teaches players to pass the ball as quickly as possible. The game is set up by creating two 40×40 “yards” in which two opposing teams, of whatever number, are positioned. The primary goal for the two teams is to pass the footballs into the opposing team’s “yard.” However, the passes are dictated by the coach. So if the coach only allows passes made with the left foot, then the teams must follow suit. In the end, the team with the least amount of footballs in their “yard” wins.
Tug of War
The next drill is known as “Tug of War.” This game was created in order to test the football player’s accuracy and power. Cones are positioned on opposite sides of the field, designating the areas of the opposing teams. In the middle of the field is a colored football. The goal of the game is to push the colored football to the opposing team’s area by striking their given football to hit the colored one. The catch is that one can only direct their football through the positioned cones. This game helps players learn the push pass, one of the most fundamental and important passing skills in the game.
Chip Pass to Target Player
The “Chip Pass to Target Player” drill is a little bit more difficult than the other games. This drill was made in order teach players the fundamentals of the chip pass, a very tricky passing skill. Two teams place one of their players inside a 10×10 box on opposite sides of the field. The other players battle for the ball in the hopes of achieving the goal of the game, which is to make a successful chip pass to their teammate inside the box. YouTube is a great way to learn these games so do a search on there to see if you can find them and others.
The Bank Game
“The Bank Game” is a drill that enables players to improve their passing skills while under pressure. In a small area, a team of four players has to make four successful passes to each other while a defender tries to disrupt their passes. It’s a good incentive to put some cash into the drills. If they are able to make four successful passes, then they “earn” $100. The game progresses as the area becomes smaller for the team and more defenders are thrown at them. They can then “bank” their earnings by changing sides with the opposing team. This drill, like the others, not only builds the football skills of players, but it is also a great way to have fun.
There are several roles that any play can take in a football match. One of the most important, and constantly glorified, positions would have to be the striker. If you aspire to be a good striker, it would be important to remember that all eyes would be on you when the ball is yours. Assuming that you already mastered the basics of football, below are several tips to let you fine-tune your striking skills and become a premier striker in your team.
1. Improve Your Movement
A striker needs to be on his toes throughout the entire game. This means that you must improve on your agility, strength and speed. It is critical that strikers keep on the move throughout the game. If you are any slower, defenders can quickly read you and prevent you from scoring a point.
To make mobility your advantage, try mastering how to circle around defenders before making a break for it once you’re clear. When your movement has improved, you can easily get past through the toughest defenses in a game.
2. Master “The Touch”
The “Touch” is simply your ability to feel the ball and control it. As a striker, it is a must that you have creative ball control skills so you can work around even the most aggressive defenders out there. To improve your control over a ball, try kicking one repeatedly on a wall. This will give you an idea of how the ball feels on your feel and can make you understand how to control it best. With practice, you can quickly dictate the flow of the game with a few touches.
3. Aim and Fire
Shooting is a striker’s number one skill and the act of shooting a ball through the goal will take practice. You would be surprised how many strikers out there tend to lose their control over the ball when the time has come for them to shoot it. Learn the proper shooting positions to maintain your balance and use the inside parts of your feet to control the ball’s trajectory.
If you are near the goal, learn how to keep the knees of your kicking leg bent over the ball and not lean back to avoid shooting the ball over the goal. Keep your eyes at the ball to properly aim it. Also, do not focus only on flashy kicking techniques. Curling free kicks and top corner shots may look attractive but experienced strikers know that delivering a powerful, low-drive kick will have better chances of hitting the goal.
4. Work with Your Team
Keep in mind that Football is never a solitary affair. Neglecting the strengths and weaknesses of the defenders and midfielders has caused many strikers a chance to get through the opposing team’s defenses and earn a point. Learn where your teammates are good at and have your skills complement theirs. With proper team dynamics, they can open a space for you to go through the opposing team, strike through and win the game.
In order to become a better football player, obviously one must know how to put the ball into the goal. For every player getting into football for the first time, it seems like a simple task. However in reality, scoring in football is an artform in itself. It requires months, sometimes years, of practice to perfect. Add in the pressure of game-time situations and the art of scoring becomes even harder. For the reason that it is a main offensive skill, football shooting is one of the skills that coaches and trainers spend most of their time on. And because they put so much importance on football shooting, they have given players some invaluable tips and tricks to help them improve their shooting skills.
If you would like to see a demonstration of some drills, check out YouTube. In particular, you can watch this video which has some information on it that is worth taking note of.
One of the most important skills to learn in football shooting is to know the position of the goalkeeper. It seems simple at first. But, in a live game, players can only observe the goalkeeper’s position for a few seconds before they shoot or before the ball is taken away by the opposing team. A player needs to have an eye-body coordination that is lightning-quick. They have to observe the goalkeeper’s position as well as see if there are any gaps that they can take advantage of. After that, they need to shoot the ball, with the right technique, into one of those gaps. This whole process must be done in a couple of seconds. This skill, as one can see, can only be perfected with time and hard work.
Using the Appropriate Technique
The next important skill to learn is to know what shooting technique is most appropriate in a particular game situation. There are two kinds of shooting techniques. The first technique is known as the sidefoot shot. This makes the football shot more accurate. The second technique is known as the instep shot. This may not be as accurate as the sidefoot shot, but it is definitely more powerful. More often than not, players use the sidefoot shot if they are closer to the goal, and they use the instep shot if they are farther away from the goal. But, in the end, it all comes down to which technique a player is most comfortable in using. Most of the time, this will enable players to keep their composure when they are shooting the ball.
The last football shooting skill players ought to learn is to aim the ball at the right places. Statistically speaking, there are areas in the goal that are more favorable to the striker. For instance, players have a very low chance of scoring if they aim the ball high. They also have a slightly better chance if they aim the ball in the middle. However, they have a 62% chance of scoring if they aim low and a 67% chance if they aim at the corners. These are areas that are hard to reach for the goalkeeper, which is why players must discipline themselves to shoot the ball in these areas at all times. Putting time in practicing these skills will inevitably improve the skill-set of a football player.
One of the most integral techniques in football would have to be the pass. By learning how to manipulate the ball and quickly transfer its possession to your teammates, you are thereby increasing your chances of winning a game. So, how can you exactly master the art of passing the ball? Below are a few tips that can help you get the hand of passing the ball in various distances.
Generally regarded as defensive and diversionary in nature, short passing is a very useful skill especially if you find yourself in possession of the ball. As opposing players are trying to do their best to steal it away from you, this technique will allow you to transfer the ball to your nearest teammate in a moment’s.
To make a successful short pass, you must use the inside part of your foot. This will give you optimum control over the ball and will increase the chances of you accurately passing the ball to the teammate. However, this will also mean that you have to slow down to have a better aim. This will leave you open and very predictable to the opposing player. Learn how to quickly shift to the passing position to give your opponent little time to react.
When performing a short pass, you must approach the ball at an angle of approximately 30 degrees. Then, quickly turn the foot as you make the pass and lock the ball to your ankles to make a strong contact with the ball. Keep the knee of your passing leg slightly bent to better your aim.
When your standing foot is about a hip-width away from the ball, quickly strike it with the inside of your foot. You can follow the ball through with your leg to increase the ball’s power. It is a must that the ball does not bounce as it passes so your teammate will not have difficulties controlling it.
A more offensive technique than short passes, the long pass is designed to let you switch ball possession with a team mate who is far from you and is open. Depending on the condition, a long pass can either give your teammate an opportunity to score or fend off multiple opposing players.
When you attempt to perform a long pass, approach the ball in a 30-degree angle to give you enough room to kick the ball through. When kicking the ball, it is a must to retain your balance by placing your standing foot close to the side of the ball so it does not veer off the intended destination. It is also a must that you keep your eyes on the ball to have a better aim.
There are multiple ways you can perform a long pass and they will have very different effects to the ball’s trajectory. If you kick the ball while keeping your knee over it and not lean back, the ball will fly low. This gives more control to your teammate. For increased power and trajectory, hit the ball near the middle or the bottom of it and lean back as you follow your leg through.
The role of a defender might not be as glorified as, say, a striker or as gritty as the goalkeeper, their function will nonetheless be integral to the team’s victory. Despite lacking the technical finesses of other roles, defenders more than make it up for it with grit, quick thinking and the willingness to get down and dirty. Below are a few tips to remember in order to have a successful football defense.
1. Think on Your Feet
At most times, correctly predicting your opponent’s move can stop any offensive before they gain any ground. Learn what a striker will do first before they even think about it and you can quickly change the pace of the match. This will require you to take risks like making a pre-emptive sliding tackle but it will certainly pay if you predict their moves right.
Proper attach anticipation can even force an attacker to screen the ball and move away from you, thereby losing the opportunity to aim for the goal and strike. Good defenders can even pick up the opposing team’s habits and techniques within one glance. By quickly and creatively thinking on your feet, you can intercept any offensive move.
2. Be Aggressive
You should by now realize that football is not for the weak-hearted. Aggression and intimidation is a common element in defensive players as this makes the opponents think more about them and less of anything else going about the field. This is why defenders have to be big, strong and burly.
Constant aggression and intimidation can force the opposing team to rethink their strategies and lessen their chances of getting through your goal. However, keep in mind to aim your aggression at the ball and never at the player to avoid a red or yellow card.
3. Control the Space
Defensive players have the tasks of controlling the space. When the enemy is on the offensive, it is the task of a defender to contain them or slow down their advance to the goal. If you are the only defender and the striker is hurtling towards you, do your best to slow him or her down and lessen their chances of aiming at the goal. If your fellow defender is containing the striker nearby, you must go to where the ball is and help them prevent the striker from taking a shot.
4. Speed and Endurance is a Must
A properly played-out defense will act like an impenetrable wall, preventing all kinds of attacks and dictating the flow of the game. This means that you must be quick enough to assist your fellow defenders when a striker slips past through them and prevent the attacker from gaining any more advantage.
It is also important that you can endure all kinds of injuries at the field as they are aplenty. In your defense, you might sprain an ankle, slip on the dirt or get hit in the face and body but it is important that you hold the line for as long as possible. With a pretty strong defense, the opposing team’s chances of scoring a point are little to nil.
There is a book on Amazon which is very informative and useful to read if you want to learn more about playing in defence, so check that out here.
Everyone knows that football is a team-oriented sport. The nature of the game makes it impossible for one man to win it, let alone play it effectively. Essentially, a single football match consists of 2 11-man teams trying to break each other’s defenses while also wrestling control of the ball to their side in the hope of scoring a victory. Each of the 11 persons on a team assumes a different role in the game. Essentially, there are three main positions in Football.
Consisting of 4 men on a team, defensive players are located nearest to the goals and are evenly spread across the field. Their main goal is to stop a striker from scoring a goal for the opposing team. Defending players can either be positioned as central defenders, a right full back or a left full back.
Defensive players are generally required to be bigger, burlier and taller than their teammates in order to properly defend a position. Though a bit lacking in the technical skills those other positions need, defensive players more than make up for it in grit, sheer physical size and determination. A proper defensive strategy in football will act like a brick wall, stopping all kinds of attacks before they even get close to the goal.
Located, obviously, in the middle of the field, midfielders assume two very important roles in football: offense and defense. Depending on the coach’s strategy, midfielders can be arranged in a diamond formation with two attacking midfielders, two defensive midfielders and two close-by-outer midfielders. Due to their dual roles, midfielders are often considered supporting players, lending a hand to both the defenders and strikers wherever they are located.
Flexibility is the name of the game if you are midfielders. Coaches regularly assign the midfield positions to players who can quickly adapt to changes in game conditions. They need to master the technique of controlling the space between the two teams, creating it when their team is in possession of the ball and compressing it when the opposing team has it.
Since field conditions can change within a moment’s notice, midfielders often possess quick reaction times and considerable stamina. Midfielders are also know to be “box to box” players due to their reputation of being in their own penalty box in one moment and then being around the opposing team’s penalty box in another.
These players often get the glory in most games due to the fact that their role gives them direct control on how their teams will score in the game. Coaches usually employ two different kinds of strikers for a match. The first forward player would have to be big and tall which allows them to work through the opposing team’s defenses head-on.
The other striker will have to be smaller and nimbler, allowing them to zip through the defenses and strike at the opposing team’s goal. With the right combination, the strikers can quickly earn a point for their team and, hopefully, win the game.
If you would like another point of view on the position on the football field, check out the BBC’s sports website which has some good information, here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/rules_and_equipment/4196830.stm
I will normally by writing about football news, training tips and just my general opinion about football on this blog but today I wanted to make a little post which was triggered by something I read recently.
Modern Day Sports Nutrition
Gone are the days where footballers played on a Saturday and went out boozing on the Saturday night, smoking cigarettes and downing pints of beer before rolling home with some girls from the pub. Nowadays you are more likely to find that a top level professional, or even a semi-pro player, will be at home and in bed before midnight and then up early the next morning to have a massage and a swim.
The world of sport has changed. No longer are people reliant just upon their natural skills and abilities to succeed, they must also have discipline and very good nutrition. The saying goes that “you are what you eat”, so eating fat pies and drinking beer is not going to do you much good on the pitch. Instead, players are now taking very good care of themselves, eating properly and not poisoning their bodies with alcohol and other drugs.
You just have to take a look at the US department of Agriculture website and the number of articles on their which are related to sports nutrition to see how important and popular it has become in today’s sporting world.
It’s also very common for players to use supplements, such as protein shakes, minerals and vitamins in order to boost their health and ensure their bodies are as optimally primed as possible for whatever training they need to do. A very common supplement is to take protein powder post training and match because it helps to aid the body repair any damage to the muscles which has been inflicted whilst playing.
I personally use protein powder myself both for post match recovery and after gym sessions. I have used this website quite a bit for recommendations on which protein powder to buy because it seems to be independent and has a very honest approach to what they are saying. I hope that they are independent, anyway. They definitely don’t have their own products to sell, so I imagine that they are pretty honest about the ones they have reviewed.
NOTE: As a slight update to this post I would highly recommend checking out best protein powder online’s Facebook Page because they regularly post updates on there and sometimes have competitions which will certainly be of interest to you if you are after a cheap protein powder or some other supplement.
There are actually two kinds of defence a team can employ in a soccer match. The first are the defending midfielders on the middle of the field and the second is the 4-man defending group right at the back. With their ability to compress the space and converge on where the ball is, you can be sure of a pretty dependable line of defence.
However, they can easily be penetrated with a really skilled striker or offensive midfielder. If all else fails, the last line of defence falls on one man only: the goalkeeper.
A goalkeeper is given the chance of directly defending the goal and preventing opposing strikers from getting the ball through. Thus, they are located directly in front of the goal around the penalty area. Goalkeepers will assume a wide stance with arms outstretched and palms facing out, ready to catch any ball with their hands or body the moment an opposing striker makes a shot. Wikipedia have a nice, short little bit on the Goalkeeper which is worth a read.
When the opposing team is on the offense, it is the job of the goalkeeper to leap in front of the goal as the striker shoots to save it or knock the ball out of its intended trajectory. Most coaches prefer large men for goal keepers as they can take up a larger area of the goal to defend. Coaches even prefer older goalkeepers as they tend to be more knowledgeable about deflecting all kinds of striking techniques than younger ones.
There are a lot of techniques a keeper can employ to catch a ball as it flies through the goal. If the shot is flying overhead, they can employ a diamond catch which is simply raising their arms over their head and in front of the body to catch the ball.
If the shot is directly aimed at the keeper, they can use the chest catch wherein they surround a ball with their arms and trap it in their chest. For low-rolling balls, a scoop catch will be the most effective technique.
For more advanced shooting techniques like a corner shot or curl, a goalkeeper will have to rely on other defensive moves. The first one is the dive wherein they literally pounce right in front of the ball, all limbs outstretched, in the hopes of catching it with any part of their body. Crosses, high jumps coupled with a diamond catch, are also effective in countering an over-head corner shot but a goalkeeper has to make sure that their timing is right to properly catch a ball.
In order to be a good goalkeeper, you must be of considerable size and weight. This allows you to cover a considerable portion of the goal and be light enough to leap to catch and deflect shots. Goalkeepers should also possess endurance in order to absorb the impact of a shot for more than once in a match.
Finally, a person should posses the ability to read a striker’s movements and predict their shots right before they make it. That way, they can instantly counter the shot with the right block and prevent the team from scoring.