Health & Fitness
Someone once said to me, "If it tastes good, don't eat it!" Well there's some truth behind that but I'm sure they meant; stay off the sugary foods, junk food and foods with lots of additives. Look at the pyramid above and try to eat less from the top and more from the bottom.
The body and brain are made up of 80% fluid. If you don't drink the right amount and types of fluids, your body and brain will almost certainly not function properly.
At the ages of 11 and 13, boys get what's known as a growth spurt which affects coordination, levels of intensity and the ability to train for prolonged periods. This is the age that stretching becomes important. If you can stretch your most commonly used muscles 3 times a day, that wouldn't be too much. Muscles must be warmed up first and dynamic stretching is preferable before sport, static stretching is better for cooling down to prevent stiffness later.
Injuries (non contact)
If you are experiencing pain just below your knee, in your heel or hip, it is likely you are experiencing Osgood Schlatter, Severs disease or Ischial Apophysitis. These conditions affect over 350 million children (age 9-16) worldwide.
These symptoms are often linked to 'overuse' or 'growing pains'. Because your bones are growing faster than your muscles, the pain is caused by muscles pulling on joints during activities that involve running or jumping. The same principle with Severs and Ischial Apophysitis.
Physiotherapists may advise a complete break from activity which can help but takes time. If you intend to keep playing, there is an immediate solution. A new food supplement from the US that has proved highly effective and is available here. If you have been diagnosed with any of the above symptoms and would like to try this supplement, I can put you in touch.
Make sure you have been diagnosed first by a specialist and seek additional advice when taking medication.
Parents On The Sidelines
Encouraging or Distracting?
Parents and guardians can be really important for your development in football. They often select the club you play for, take you to football matches, buy you a kit and boots, practise in the garden with you, take you every week to your matches, motivate you in the car on the way there, encourage from the sidelines and say how well you played after the match.
Sometimes when things aren't going too well, parents/guardians can get disappointed. They try and help from the sidelines by giving instructions whilst you are playing, often different to what your coach has asked you to do. If the team has one philosophy and the parents give each child their own, what do you think will happen?
Parents/guardians can help more by following the guidelines set by The FA, click on the picture above to go to the RESPECT film. They should also consider taking a Level 1 Football Coaching qualification or Youth Award Module.
Respect Campaign Videos
Getting Ready To Play
Positions & Formations
Attacker or defender?
Nearly all young players want to be attackers because it means they are going to score goals. Why would you want to defend when it usually means stand at the back and kick the ball away when you eventually get it. The truth is that every player in the team is an attacker when the team have the ball and every player is a defender when they don't.
Every player should play both an offensive and a defensive position during their development. It will teach you to dribble, pass, shoot, tackle and see the game from a different perspective. The full back position is now one of the most important positions on the pitch. You are required to join in with attacks and run the full length of the pitch to come back and defend. The modern game sees many teams choosing to play out from the back which means you will be the first player to receive the ball.
4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or a modern 4-2-3-1? first of all, what about the GK? we must not forget the GK as it is the only position that must be filled in order to start a game. The same applies to 5, 7 and 9 a side. The most important factor here is that the players must know how to play the chosen system. If the forwards lose possession and just wait for the back four to win the ball again, your team is almost certainly going to lose many games.
Attacking play is fluid and requires players to change positions. If the ball is lost during an attack, your team is unlikely to be in the chosen formation. Your team needs to knows how to delay, deflect, defend and recover as this will allow your team to get back into shape. It's all about occupying the right spaces and working as a team.
Know your roles and responsibilities in your position as well as the positions that affect you e.g. The full back must know the centre backs and wingers roles and responsibilities as well. Know the principles of defending and attacking. The more tactical knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to make the right decisions.
Two of the best players in the world are in such fantastic physical condition that they already have an edge over their opponents. I'm sure they got faster and more dynamic through training hard.
It's important that you train using the right methods because if you don't, you could restrict yourself making the appropriate movements needed to play football. Explosiveness, flexibility, agility and extreme movements are essential to be physically prepared.
Real Madrid are known as Los Galacticos. Check out the way they look; prepared for battle. I bet their laces are done up and stay done up!
This is the harder one! You must be positive in yourself, your team and your coach. You must also have the ability to block out negativity and avoid distractions.
First of all positive thinking is very important, you must believe that you are going to hit the target, you must believe that you will make that tackle and you must believe that you can win every game.
Positive encouragement amongst the team can give everyone confidence. It takes a lot longer to improve players technically than it does to improve them psychologically.
Finally, distractions could be anything from a parent screaming 'PASS' when you're just about to beat a player with your new skill, an opponent getting under your skin, a ball rolling onto the pitch from the neighbouring game or an incorrect decision by the referee.