Geez, what is going on here? I’m in the stands watching my son standing in the middle of the soccer field with his hands on his hips. My son has been playing soccer for 10 years. I love to watch him on the field. I can still see in my mind’s eye him scoring his first goal. He kicks the ball in to the goal, beaming with pride he is running and jumping up into the air towards me. He’s only 4 so, there is no goalie at this age but he did it, he got the ball in the goal! A mama couldn’t have been more proud 🙂 So, even after all these years of watching him grow and develop as a player I still get excited when he scores a goal. But it’s more than just goal scoring, its seeing him on the field. Witnessing his athleticism, speed and seeing him battle for the ball are all a thrill, but his love of the game and sportsmanship…that makes me proud.
Okay, so back to standing on the field…after regularly playing soccer for all these years we move to Colorado and here the soccer season is short. To keep moving and playing he started playing indoor soccer games. Wow, these fast paced games! The field is the similar in size to a hockey rink, and for two 25 minute halves the ball stays in play unless it hits the ceiling or goes over the glass into the net. After about 10 minutes of high speed play I see my son standing, hands on hips and not engaged in the game. He was clearly spent and trying to catch his breath. He’d gone in full speed and found that he didn’t have the endurance he needs to play this type of soccer.
Soccer is definitely an endurance sport, but it also has lots of rapid bursts of energy. Players are moving the entire game with quick moves and sprints, comparable to interval training. The energy needed for continuous movement at varying intensities comes from nutrients and stored energy.
Here are some tips to help improve soccer playing endurance:
Carbohydrates are the best fuel for soccer players. These will give your body and muscles the energy they need for extending play. When playing soccer you will lose a lot of fuel from your legs leading to fatigue and decreased performance. Consuming enough fuel or carbohydrates in this case can improve performance. Eating approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day (8-10 g/kg/day ) will help combat fatigue and maximize glycogen stores.
Good sources of Carbohydrates:
Whole Grain Breads
Whole Grain Cereals
Protein is used as fuel but not as fast as carbohydrates. It is also important for muscle repair. Players need .6-.8 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day (1.4-1.7 g/kg/day).
Nearly 2 liters of fluid are lost while playing a game, and more if temperatures are high. The key to fluids is to drink before, during and after you play. Plan ahead to stay hydrated and drink at least 2 cups of fluid prior to playing.
Soccer Players Body Requirements:
Carbohydrate: 3.6-4.5 grams per pound of body weight
Protein: 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight
Fluids: 12-20 oz of fluid 2-3 hrs prior to play
8-10 oz of fluid every 15-10 minutes of play
(16 oz sports drink containing carbohydrates during a 90 minute game can help delay fatigue)