Keep Your Youth Soccer Team Warm as Fall Cools Down
Fall season has arrived, and as that means youth soccer leagues are hitting full swing, it also means that temperatures are dropping throughout the country which can lead to a lot of problems for young players, including catching sickness. How can you best prepare your young soccer players so that they will stay warm during the fall season?
First off, make sure that your players are getting a good night’s sleep. This can be difficult with the school year arriving, and soccer practices can result in late night homework sessions, but as a coach or parent it is vital to children that they get proper rest. Beyond simply preventing a cold from developing, a solid sleep keeps up energy and helps kids learn better in school. Therefore, make sure players are getting roughly 8 hours of sleep each night.
On the field, encourage your players to be prepared. If the weather is especially cold, be sure to give players’ parents proper warning so that they can dress appropriately. Long sleeve shirts and neck warmers are great at keeping players temperatures stable, and also make sure there is a good supply of water for each player. As a coach, bring a few extra bottles in case a player forgets theirs. Also instruct players to have jackets nearby, so that before and after practice players will have full clothing on. The short five minute walk to and from the car can be devastating if the temperature is low and all you have on is a soccer jersey.
Also, keep players moving throughout practice. Standing around is when players get cold, and this will limit them once they start playing. Therefore, make sure that the team is active throughout the whole practice.
This also highlights the importance of a good warm-up at the start of practice. Take a good ten-minute jog to start the session so that everyone’s blood is pumping and the players warm up.
If the temperature is especially cold, consider cancelling practice. If your players all get sick right before a game, that sub-zero practice session is not going to do them any good, so be sure to help your players by keeping them healthy. Another thing to consider is having indoor practice sessions in the event of inclement weather. If you know of an indoor soccer arena or gym that can be suitable for such practices, this provides an excellent way to train when the weather is bad outside.
Dealing with the weather involves using some common sense. Yes, players do need to be instructed to be “tough”, but that doesn’t mean playing soccer in a blizzard. Use your best judgment so that your youth soccer team stay healthy throughout the fall season.