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Massachusetts Strong All Content

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Click on the dropdown's below to see resources, activities and challenges for this week, or click on the tiles at the bottom of the page to view content sorted by topic.  

 

Activities and Content for Week 1

Mental Strength Monday - Goal Setting

goal-setting_(1)Goal-setting helps boost youth athlete’s motivation and commitment. It draws direct attention on what you want to accomplish and helps to determine strengths and weaknesses in addition to tracking performance. 

Challenge: Create a list of 3 to 5 goals that you want to achieve as an athlete. Instead of saying, "I want to get better at soccer," a better goal might be, "I will work with the ball 30 minutes after school four times a week." Keep in mind your goals should be (SMART) Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific.

 

Creating these goals are a great way to start off the new year and the month of January.


For more information on Goal Setting: Click Here

Technical Tuesday - Indoor Crazy Golf

Try your hand at Indoor Crazy Golf. Click here to download PDF

U8__Crazy_Golf

Number of Players:  1 - 4 – kids, parents, grandparents (whomever is available)

Equipment:  Any indoor space and a tennis ball each (or tennis ball size.)

Organization:  Each player starts with a ball. For U12 & older players – if more than 1 player is involved, 1 player picks the target, the next player determines the path to the target & any other players select the par. Targets can be par 3, 4 or 5. The higher the par the harder or further the target. An example of a target in the picture above, hit the table with the light on it but you must go to the right of the coffee table before playing to the target table and the par is 4.

Object of the Game:  All players begin from a similar area.  Pass the ball in the direction of the target or obstacle.  Once your ball has stopped rolling, you can hit your 2nd shot. Your goal is to make it to the target in par or less. Keep playing until you hit the target; maximum score on any target is 10.  As in golf, each player keeps track of their own score.  

Wellness Wednesday - Hydration

Screen_Shot_2020-12-16_at_1.14.35_PMHydration is an important part of daily health and it can enhance or hinder your performance on the soccer field.  A general ballpark is individuals should drink half of their body weight in ounces.  Daily factors to consider are exercise intensity and duration, weather, and many more.  

 

A great way to make sure you are staying properly hydrated is tracking your water intake though apps on a cell phone.  Examples: My Water & Drink Reminder, Drink Water Reminder N Tracker, Water Reminder- Daily Tracker. 

 

Challenge: Download one of the apps mentioned & track your water intake on a rest day & day of activity!

 

Thankful Thursday - Sportsmanship

RootsThe key to a strong sportsmanship culture lay in its  ‘ROOTS’.  It is important for a player to remember that the responsibility in displaying good sportsmanship involves respect of  the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and of course, one’s Self. 

 

Enjoy this article from the USYS on Sportsmanship ‘ROOTS’: Teach Youth Athletes Good Sportsmanship 

 

Fitness Friday - 1 hour of Physical Activity

2018-policy-doc-cover-smallThe Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition  issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, recommend that children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. 

Regular physical activity in children and adolescents promotes health and fitness. Compared to those who are inactive, physically active youth have higher levels of fitness, lower body fat, and stronger bones and muscles.

Physical activity also has brain health benefits for school-aged children, including improved cognition (e.g., academic performance, memory) and reduced symptoms of depression.

Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence can also be important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing risk factors for various health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Challenge: Keep a diary of your physical activity during the months of January, February and March 2021. Share your creative workouts with Mass Youth Soccer on Social Media by tagging @mayouthsoccer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Activities and Content for Week 2

Mental Strength Monday - Meditation

med

Have you ever been distracted by parents shouting in the stands or by the other team while on the field playing?

Meditation is a highly effective outlet that can help keep you focused on the field. Being able to ignore all distractions and negative thoughts can improve your performance and help you succeed.

Meditation is also great for calming nerves, decreasing stress levels and improving sleep patterns. There are multiple apps that can guide you through meditation, here are some examples: Headspace, Calm, and Meditation for Kids. 

Task: Practice 20 minutes of meditation twice a week. 

Technical Tuesday - Soccer Bowling

Try your hand at soccer bowling.  All you need is some indoor or outdoor space,  a soccer balls & 10  pins (tall cones, empty 2 liter plastic bottles, toys) . If you do not have 10, use as many as you have.

Click on the link below or the graphic for full instructions on how to play! 

How to play Soccer Bowling

Wellness Wednesday - Enhance Your Hydration

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While proper hydration will improve every system in the body, function better and minimize risk of injury and muscle cramping, it can get boring and flavorless. 

 

Change it up by adding in cut up fruit into your water or small packets of dehydrated citrus fruit like lemon, lime, or grapefruit. 

 

Another option is flavor-infused ice cubes by adding in a few drops of fresh juice or fruit in each tray. 

 

Most importantly, stray away from products that are ‘flavored’ as more often than not, it is due to fake sugars and artificial ingredients.

 

Challenge: Try a new flavor combination in your water for 3 days this week to find your favorite kind!

 

Thankful Thursday - Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude has a language all its own and by practicing it, you can help the world connect in ways you never thought possible. Whether it is a hand written letter, a heartfelt spoken word, a nod, or a smile, the power of a Thank You can give a person a positive indelible memory they can keep forever. 

 

Most often, in order to give gratitude, we must experience it ourselves. How can you make gratitude a part of your daily routine?

 

Take our Gratitude Challenge in the month of January and each day, keep a journal of 3 things you are grateful for everyday as part of your daily routine. These things can be people or places as well. At the end of the month, you will have the most special reminder of what brings you joy and what you are most grateful for.

 

Enjoy this short story as a reminder of how our attitude can affect gratitude.


Gratitude Story –Help Others Value Humanity and Time Click Here

 

Fitness Friday - Walk, Run or Jog

A great way to get yourself moving is to do aerobic activities such as going for a walk, run, or bike ride. These type of activities will make you breathe fast and get your heart going. This is a great way to stay in shape for the soccer season. Even though the weather is cold, getting outside has great health benefits including improving brain function, concentration and reducing stress. Health-related apps can make physical activity more engaging and fun for your Fitness Friday. Map My Run and Strava are two apps where you can track your runs, post photos and interact with friends.

Challenge: Go on a run or walk twice a week and track your progress using one of the apps above.

Activities and Content for Week 3

Mental Strength Monday - Self Esteem

Self_Esteem

Building your self-esteem as an athlete 
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
  • self–es·teem: a feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities;
  • a confidence and satisfaction in oneself: self-respect
Below are mental game tips to help sports kids perform their best in competition:
 
1. Let go of fear- Most athletes fear making a mistake in the game, of letting their team down, or of not making “the” play that causes the team to lose an important game. All athletes will make mistakes but once the mistake is done the best way to go about it is to learn from it and move on. 
 2. Play freely instead of holding back- Knowing and believing that the athlete has done everything possible to prepare for the event not only gives the athlete a mental edge over the competition, but also increases the athlete’s belief in his or her skills and abilities. The athlete’s knowledge and belief in his or her skills allows for freely applying these abilities needed during the competition.
3. Make no comparisons- Each athlete must be looked at individually, as a valuable asset to the team, and each athlete should understand the value that he or she brings to the team. 
 4. Don’t try to be perfect- Athletes must believe in their training, abilities, and skills, and they must understand that mistakes are learning opportunities.
5. Be confident- The athlete must have confidence in the hours spent mentally and physically preparing for the event - the repetitions, the workouts, and the coaching.

Technical Tuesday - Hallway Passing

Hallway_PassingNumber of Players: 2 – kids, parents, grandparents (whomever is available)

Equipment: 1 tennis ball and the longest hallway in your house.

Organization: Each player chooses an end to play from. Players must start at opposite ends of the hallway and as far apart from each other as possible.

Object of the Game: Pass the tennis ball to your opponent without hitting and walls. Your opponent has 1 touch to play the ball back without hitting any walls. If a player hits a side wall with the ball, they lose 1 point. Whomever has the ball closest to them restarts the game once both players are ready. Once either player loses all their points, the game is over. Begin a new game with all players starting with 10 points.

Scoring: Each player starts with 10 points.
-1 point for hitting a side wall.

Who is the first player to lose all their points?

Variations (select as many variations as necessary):

  • Allow more touches as needed.
  • Limit the touches the winner of the previous round gets.
  • Return to a closer distance and try to play 1 touch back and forth. Open the distance again each round.
  • (kicking the ball in the air could cost points, player’s choice)
  • 1 player or both players must use their weaker foot.

Wellness Wednesday - Pre-Workout Fueling

Pre-Workout_Fueling

Having energy throughout a training session or game, especially on days where players have school or even other sports activities, is a challenge for many youth athletes.  Fueling the body properly is essential for optimal performance on the playing field. Take a look at this article to learn more about WHEN to eat and WHAT to eat prior to training.  Always keep in mind that every athlete is different and it is important to experiment to see what works for YOU! https://truesport.org/nutrition/pre-workout-fueling/

 

Challenge: Experiment with how long prior to a session you need to fuel your body so you can have energy the entire time!

 

Thankful Thursday - Volunteering

VolunteeringVolunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, while doing good for others and the community. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. Click the links below on how you can better serve others.

 

Youth Sport Trust Click Here

Youth Volunteer Case Study Click Here

Oprah on Volunteering Click Here

 

 

Fitness Friday - Just4Kicks - Online Injury Prevention Database

Just_For_Kicks_LogoJust4Kicks, led by Dr Julie Hubbard’s comprehensive exercise database was designed for youth soccer players, in an effort to promote injury prevention and performance enhancement amid the COVID-19 related "stay at home" orders.

View the full library of videos by clicking on the link below: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFYrwdcO2Xy4YZU1D6tTOKw

With much uncertainty surrounding the coming winter months, Just4Kicks has created a user-friendly, virtual bank of exercises that players can implement for the comfort of their own home! These exercises are user-friendly and involve minimal to no fitness equipment, allowing athletes a sense of 'autonomy' and 'competence' when completing their workouts. The database is a collection of 10 YouTube playlists with 300+ exercise videos. Each playlist starts with a "How To" video, describing exactly how to capitalize on each individual playlist. 

Please direct any specific exercise technique/prescription questions to contact@just4kicksboston.com.

Activities and Content  for Week 4

Mental Strength Monday - Focusing on what YOU can control

By choosing a team sport, you lose control of many things – your uniform, your position, your playing time and much more. The key things you CAN still control include: 
  1. Attitude
  2. Effort
  3. Communication
  4. Conditioning
  5. Learning
  6. Concentration/Focus
  7. Confidence
Too often, we as athletes, coaches, and parents, waste time worrying and complaining about things beyond our control. 
Putting our energy and focus on things we cannot control makes us feel anxious, uncertain, and fearful. On the other hand, putting all of your focus and energy on things you can impact — what sports psychologists call “controlling the controllables” — makes you feel empowered.
Read this article on how you can control the mental side of your soccer game. https://www.soccertoday.com/in-soccer-control-the-controllables/    

Technical Tuesday 

Content Coming Soon

Wellness Wednesday - Post Workout Recovery

Post_Workout_Recovery

Part of being an athlete is knowing how to re-energize your body after a training session.  While you might be starving and want to eat whatever is easily accessible, properly fueling your body with foods that are optimal for recovery are important.  Athletes should be able to assess if the session was high, medium, or low intensity as this will help them gauge the timing and needs of refueling. 

 

Take a look at this article to see some of the best ways to start your recovery through food: https://truesport.org/wp-content/uploads/TrueFood_Recovery-Snacks.pdf

 

Challenge: Try one new recover snack this week after a training session!

Thankful Thursday - Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude_2Playing and living for something beyond the scoreboard is said to enhance performance in athletes. 

 

Gratitude inspires student-athletes to take better care of themselves. Grateful athletes tend to take better care of their bodies and sleep 10% more and feel more alert and focused which leads to better performance in competition and the classroom. Enjoy these articles and a short clip on how gratitude impacts athletic performance.

 

The Impact on Gratitude in Sports Performance   Click Here

 

How Gratitude Can Make You a Better Athlete   Click Here

 

3 Ways Teammates Can Express Gratitude And Improve Overall Team Chemistry   Click Here

Fitness Friday

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