Fitness a single factor, which can determine the gap between winning and losing soccer matches. A team that is physically fit can play the matches with minimum risks of injuries. The players can communicate better with each other and score winning goals. Tackling the opponents and passing the ball at critical times become simple procedures. I have been coaching my young and energetic teams for the past several years and I do understand the importance of fitness in every aspect of sports life.
I still remember the earliest days of my own training, when I used to be nervous before every session. The intensity used to be so high, that my hands and legs often shook while taking control of the soccer ball. I could hardly focus on the goal because of physical weakness. My coach always observed me closely.
Foods and Workouts
One large cup of guava juice early in the morning followed by four eggs and a veggie salad was my breakfast. I had to have them before starting my workouts. My coach insisted that I go swimming for about an hour. Then I had to work on dumbbells and speed jump rope. Then he put me onto soccer training session until late afternoon. Fish and lean meat was the standard formula for lunch.
Post lunch training was full of drills for dribbling, attack, ball control, shooting, and passing. Every evening we had team meeting sessions. The coach gave suggestions for correcting our mistakes and improvising on our strengths.
Field workouts were the most important aspects of our training. I often started at one end of the field and sprint to the opposite end. In the beginning, my coach was liberal with the timing. He became strict with it after a few weeks. At one point, I was asked to cover the field in 15 seconds and return. That meant I had to come back to the starting point within 30 seconds. That was tough.
Whole grain bread, chicken breast, and broccoli were the standard recipe for supper. Our coach often gave us the freedom to eat lean meat, dinner rolls, and spaghetti. Alcohol and smoking were completely banned for the entire training period. Of course, I had no problem with the ban on smoking, because I never did that. However, life without beer often made me sick. I soon found out many of my team members had the same problem. But we got our mind and body conditioned within a few weeks of training.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation were an integral part of our fitness training. Mindful breathing, emotional balancing, Yoga postures, and meditation gave me the patience and persistence that I always lacked. I got the opportunity to improve my focus and concentration during the training. My nervousness started reducing and ultimately I was able to go through my training without any anxiety and stress.
Passing the Gift
Once I got over nervousness, physical fitness and agility came naturally to me. Today, I am grateful to my coach for enabling to pass on the gifts to my trainees. I shall share more of my experiences with you in my next articles.