Here is some good advice on attending camps at colleges you are interested in from Top Drawer Soccer.
It is very important for kids to eat healthy food and get enough exercise. This article by science of soccer online shares a few ideas on how coaches, or parents, can teach kids how to eat healthy.
“There is little doubt that the number of overweight and obese children is increasing. Two of the underlying causes are the lack of exercise and poor nutritional choices. Whether is a recreational or competitive program, participating in youth soccer provides a way to increase physical activity. At all levels coaches stress the need to exercise, train and “get in shape”. In many cases, the lessons learned through youth sports leads to a more active adulthood. Youth sports can also serve as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of a healthy diet. However, a recent study raises concern about the food environment in youth sports. It identifies the nutritional challenges and frustrations that many parents face in encouraging healthy eating. Most importantly it highlights the role that youth coaches can play in helping young athletes develop a diet that will help them perform better on the field as well as develop a healthier lifestyle.” To read the whole article click here.
Take a look at this graphic that defines 8 important aspects of physical fitness on FirstPointUSA
Check out this great article on http://www.momsteam.com about making sure your kids are consuming enough calories.
“Youth soccer players are calorie-burning machines. Consider that an average youth player runs anywhere from 2 to 4 miles per game, while older players and pros can cover up to 10K (6.2 miles). Over the course of a typical two-day soccer tournament, that adds up to an astounding total of 10 to 15 miles per day for the youth player.
Running alone burns 100 calories per mile (about as many calories as in a medium banana). Add in the other demands of the sport, and the calories that a child needs to consume to fuel her growing body, and it is easy to understand the enormous expenditure of energy playing soccer requires. Yet few soccer players take in the number of calories they need for optimum performance.
One British study of top 14-year-old swimmers, soccer players, and track athletes found that all three groups failed to meet the recommendations for caloric intake (at least 3,000 calories per day for active young athletes). The diets of soccer players were also deficient in vitamin D, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Not surprising, given the fact that they scored an average of 15.5 points out of a possible 56 points on a test of their nutritional IQ.
Soccer players need to think of themselves as endurance athletes, such as cyclists and long-distance runners, and eat the same kind of high-calorie diet. Like those athletes, soccer players need to have “a banana in one hand and a sandwich in the other.” Basically, this means youth soccer players need to be eating all the time.
The simple fact is that most youth players just don’t eat enough. For whatever reason, whether it is because they become distracted, nervous or excited, their focus is not on eating and they end up eating a diet that, while it might be okay for a sedentary person, doesn’t work for a soccer player.”
The following article was written by Joshua Medcalf www.traintobeclutch.com and originally posted on Soccer- Training-Info.com.
By Donna Fishter
Consider the rubber band. It is working at a high level when it is stretched to capacity and holding on tight. But what if it’s stretched to far? What if it is stretched beyond its capacity? We all know that stretching a rubber band to far will be counterproductive as in all probability it is going to break.
Consider the athlete? He or she is pushed to capacity, working for extended periods of time at high levels, and the result is production on the field. But when is an athlete pushed to far? Does he or she need rest? The following is a quick glimpse into understanding the role of recovery in performance.
“Without appropriate recovery, the body is unable to respond to stress consistently and predictably. Insufficient recovery compromises training quality and undermines performance.” [Weatherly-White, Hunt, and Neville 2012, 38]
The reason recovery has a history of not being emphasized is because it is difficult to quantify and is subjective in nature. The training stress and output of an athlete is much easier to quantify. Coaches can track distance run, time lapsed in a drill, tackles made, and amount of weight lifted, to name just a few. In high level sports environments (where budgets allow) other tools used to quantify output are: heart rate monitors, GPS tracking systems, and video/motion analysis. But whether you have these high-end devices or just a stopwatch, all your tracking is training stress and output, not recovery.
The body strives to maintain a state of homeostasis. When put under stress, the body is going to automatically respond and move back toward homeostasis. Below is a graphic showing the three stages in training stress and adaptation response.
Training Stress / Adaptation Response
In Phase 1, the athlete is put under stress and eventually becomes fatigued having reduced performance levels. The baseline performance (i.e. fitness level) is where the athlete is performing at his or her best. Following the grey dotted line, after the body is fatigued, it goes into phase 2 to overcome the stress and begin recovery back towards homeostasis. Performance (fitness level) rises back up to the athlete’s baseline performance and then the body moves into phase 3, which is the adaptive rebound. In this phase the body is adapting to the training stress and over time the athlete’s baseline performance will increase as the body is continually put through this cycle. The green dotted line in the following graphic shows the increase of baseline performance as the athlete moves through sequences of training and recovery.
[Weatherly-White, Hunt, and Neville 2012, 39]
The red dotted line in the below graphic shows how inadequate recovery in athletes will over the long haul decrease their baseline performance.
Negative Adaptation with Inadequate Recovery
Observing the symptoms of reduced recovery in an athlete is the only way parents and coaches can make sure an athlete is receiving optimal recovery. Commit the following symptoms to memory for indication your athlete needs recovery time. (Note: an athlete may exhibit one or more of the following).
Elevated Resting Heart Rate
Low Energy Level
Negative mood state
Increased incidence of upper respiratory infections
Chronic muscle soreness
Headache, diarrhea, nausea
We like to think that our athletes are indestructible and can push through anything. But the human body has been designed to consistently perform only after optimal recovery. Keep in mind recovery strategies could be different depending on the time of year for an athlete. A college athlete, for example, is going to be “in-season” where optimal recovery is necessary before each game. In the “off-season” there may be a few weeks an athlete is pushed hard and then she moves into a week of optimal recovery. Another example is our youth soccer players who are part of Central Florida Soccer Academy. These young players may be involved in several tournaments for a few months and could need an extended recovery time before training hard again.
Year-round, constant intensity is counter-productive and can be detrimental to an athlete’s career. Work hard in training AND work hard in recovery. Both are important to an athlete’s longevity.
Next blog will be part 2 of this series: “Role of Nutrition in Performance”
Source: Matthew Weatherly-White, Jeff Hunt, and Dr. Vern Neville, “The Science of Recovery,” Soccer Journal (Jan-Feb 2012): 38-40.
By: Donna Fishter
Any household with young athletes usually has a tight schedule. The athlete is picked up from school, grabs a snack, and flies out the door to his or her practice. Rows of parents line up their lawn chairs on the sidelines tapping away on their smart phones, ipads, and computers catching up on work that was missed at the office because of practice. But sacrifices are made and tight schedules are managed as athletics has become a very important part of many families. What the average person doesn’t see is that these athletes, after an exhausting practice, go home, eat dinner, and then are “hitting the books” to complete assignments and school projects for the next day. This cycle happens day in and day out in homes across the country and right here in Orlando.
Here at CFSA we know the sacrifices families make to inspire greatness in their young athletes, and all the while emphasizing the importance of schoolwork. In the early years of school, athletes understand what it means to be a “student-athlete”. Time management skills are learned rapidly as they have to find time for both homework and practices. The expectation, of course, is that both the athletic and academic side will be performed with excellence. On top of this young athletes may possibly have household chores, pet-sitting duties, baby-sitting siblings, and the list goes on. Then beyond these responsibilities an athlete still has to get ample nutrition and rest/recovery (see next blog post).
Young athletes that have his or her sights on playing in college….the time management being learned in the early years will serve them well. Here at UCF our student-athletes know they are students FIRST and athletes SECOND. Priority is always success in the classroom so that each athlete will graduate with a college degree. The NCAA paves the way for an athlete’s success by instituting academic eligibility requirements. Your UCF soccer players are studying hard in the classroom as well as playing hard on the field. The balance and responsibility that a young athlete learns early in their career is a great foundation for the future. It is not surprising that student-athletes have the best time management skills as compared to traditional college students.
“NCAA student-athletes annually outperform their student-body counterparts in graduation rates, usually by several percentage points.” [i]
We know that being successful in the classroom and on the field is a huge responsibility and takes an immense amount of commitment. To honor our young athletes who have success both in the classroom and on the practice field we are introducing an exclusive club called the Knowledge Knights. CFSA is thrilled to have an opportunity to showcase the academic and athletic excellence of our campers. Those of you ages 6-14 who receive all A’s on your report cards this spring are eligible to become a Knowledge Knight! CFSA proudly supports you and your efforts in the classroom! Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of being part of the Knowledge Knights!
“Students who are truly student-athletes have a chance for a life-transforming, life-shaping experience. I can tell you how thankful I am for having had that experience and how it’s shaped me in countless ways. It’s an absolutely formative experience.” [ii]
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
[i] National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2012, May 2). NCAA’s Commitment to Academics. Retrieved from
[ii] National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2012, May 2). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Retrieved from