Have you have been inspired by the impressive victory of the USA team in the Women’s Soccer World Cup ? Football is a fantastic sport, not only to increase your fitness levels but for social reasons too. But what to wear, how best to train and so on? Here’s some essentials to consider once you’ve signed up with your local team.
What to buy
Football (or soccer, as it’s known as) is not one of those sports that requires a lot of equipment, so it’s worth buying good quality items that will last.
For general training
Serious training means you may be out in rain and cold temperatures so get the right kit. You will probably need a minimum of three football training tops from a store such as Tesco – a lightweight top, a waterproof jacket and a fleece or hoodie. There is no shortage of designs and logos however – your favorite team is bound to be available somewhere!
For bottoms you need to get a pair of sweatpants or jogging pants – three quarter length versions are preferred by some people as they are cooler and often less restrictive than full length pants.
Of course it is possible to get football tracksuits. These can look great but mixing and matching could be more cost effective. Don’t forget that you will need a decent pair of running sneakers too, when doing those road runs to build up stamina.
For skills and match practice
For actual playing and practising ball control and shooting etc. you will need regular match gear –a top (or ‘jersey’ as the English call it) and football shorts. Your team could insist on a particular design or style but you may well be able to choose your own. And a really good pair of football boots will be useful.
So you look the part, now what? Your coach’s directions should be your first priority but in general build up slowly. Before any training session take time to warm up by jogging, for instance, before more energetic actions such as standing start sprints or jumps. Allow time for recovery between intensive bursts as well as a “cool down” at the end.
Off the pitch
To play well you gotta eat well, so cut out excess sugar and fat, and go easy on the alcohol. Generally make an effort to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
One last thing – buy a ball. You can practise ball control in the smallest of spaces, whilst dreaming you are just about to make that winning goal. You never know, it might just happen… every world class player starts somewhere.
Image by SelmaBearsSoccer used under the Creative Commons license