What Newbie Adult Soccer Players Need to Know
Aug 2, 2022
Here’s a fun fact: it’s never too old to play soccer. Whether you’re a complete adult newbie or returning to play after decades of inactivity, you can become a great player with time, practice, and patience. Of course, adults may have to play by slightly different rules to achieve some late-blooming excellence. This post will examine how older newbies can enjoy and excel at the beautiful game.
Just because you watch EPL matches at the bar with friends every weekend, don’t assume you have a solid grasp of fundamentals yet. Good, great, and excellent players hone those seemingly easy-to-replicate skills with plenty of practice drills.
You’ll have to do the same to play proficiently. With that said, there are ten types of drills you want to practice regularly.
Types of Soccer Drills for Beginners
- Passing Drills
- Shooting Drills
- Dribbling Drills
- Defending Drills
- Goalkeeper Drills
- Attacking Drills
- Fitness Drills
- Crossing Drills
- Heading Drills
- Ball Control Drills
Great soccer players possess technical ability (soccer skills), tactical awareness (soccer awareness), physical conditioning, and mental fortitude. These ten types of drills will sharpen all of these aspects and make you the balanced player that will make you a respected name in your league. Your coach will likely have you perform a combination of these drills mentioned above.
Finally, you develop your tactical awareness and mental toughness off the pitch too. When it comes to tactical awareness, you can put those weekend game-watching sessions to work. Analyze what your favorite players do with and without the ball, especially those who play your position. For mental toughness, you can incorporate things such as visualization and meditation.
Soccer Conditioning Drills
Do you know what separates excellent players from elite players? Conditioning. Visit any high school, college, or extracurricular football club, and you’ll see lots of players who play with lots of finesse. What holds many of them back is their conditioning. The fitter you are, the better you can execute your technical skills, the more intense you can play, and the less injury-prone you’ll be.
Ideal Soccer Conditioning Drills
- Whole-body conditioning - Squats, sprints, medicine ball exercise, step-ups, plyometrics.
- FIFA 11+ Neuromuscular drills - Dynamic warmups that activate the nervous system for increased muscle coordination and decreased energy risk.
- Vision Training - Exercises that increase visual awareness and 16 other visual skills needed for optimal soccer performance.
- Neck strengthening - A series of workouts that build neck strength and mass can help reduce your concussion risk.
- Prehab - Exercises such as nordic hamstring curls and leg raises can prevent muscle injuries.
This list may seem daunting. But you don’t have to crush them all in one day, and you can combine some of these into a single, concise workout.
For example, you can do some neuromuscular exercises as a warmup before a practice game. If you have two or three whole-body conditioning days, you can add some neck exercises on one day, and some prehab exercises on the other. And then, on the weekend, you can add some visual drills as a low-intensity alternative to an otherwise busy week.
Focus on Recovery
The downside of getting longer in the tooth is wear-and-tear. Whether you’re returning to play or new, you’ve probably accumulated some injuries or strain over the years. On top of that, if you’re up there in years, your body’s natural recovery mechanisms might not be as peppy as they once were. But that’s nothing to fret over - you’ll just have to put some effort into your recovery.
A Soccer Recovery Protocol
- Diet - Eat a protein-rich diet and foods with high amounts of antioxidants, B vitamins, essential minerals (calcium, magnesium), and balanced sodium. Don’t forget to drink lots of H20 as well!
- Supplementation - Supplements can’t replace a good diet, but a diet lacking some nutrients can benefit from supplementation. Consider adding whey protein, creatine (ask your doctor first), vitamin D/fish oil, zinc, and magnesium supplements. Some players wear items such as BCAAs and L-tyrosine, but these are add-ons at best.
- Cool-down exercises - Coming to a sudden stop after a vigorous workout can strain and injure muscles. Light jogging, skipping, and stretching can help prevent these injuries.
- Rest - Make sure to sleep at least 7-8 hours per night and take a day or two off from soccer practices or workouts.
- Percussion gun therapy/massage - Percussion therapy can offer a deep tissue massage that helps improve blood flow and remove toxins better than human hands (in some cases). That one is strictly optional.
- Cold baths - Researchers have found that cold baths (a.k.a cryotherapy) can accelerate tissue repair and reduce muscle pain. Although optional, it may help you recover faster after a challenging practice or game.
At the bare minimum, you should prioritize your diet, rest, and cool-down exercises. These basic tenets of recovery are essential. With that said, it doesn’t hurt to try the other methods listed since they’re backed by research and can speed up your recovery.
Wear the Right Soccer Protective Gear
Last but not least comes the topic of wearing soccer protective gear. You know you need gear, and some obvious pieces of equipment probably cross your mind. Things like shin guards are a no-brainer. With that said, some other pieces of soccer protective gear to consider since they can protect you from unexpected injuries.
List of Soccer Protective Gear for Adult Newbies
- Soccer Concussion Headguard
- Armoured Undershirt
- Padded Crop Top (for women)
- Padded Soccer Jersey
- Anti-Turf Burn Arm Sleeves
- Padded Leggings
- Anti-Turf Burn Shorts
- Shin/Leg Guards
- Soccer Goalie Gloves (w/ Finger Protection)
- Knee Guards
You might not need every piece of equipment on this list, but we will recommend a few as essentials. Aside from the basics, such as shin guards, we highly recommend using a soccer concussion headguard. They can significantly lower the risk of concussions. For example, our ExoShield headguard was demonstrated in a research study to reduce impact forces to the head by 84%. That makes it one of the most top-rated pieces of soccer headgear available.
In addition to headgear, we also recommend using padded leggings and shorts. Sliding on playing surfaces can lead to turf burn, which is abrasions of the skin caused by the friction of sliding. Also, kicks and shots to the legs can easily lead to tissue injuries. Padded legwear can cushion these blows by up to 90%, making impact trauma less severe.
Find Your Footing (Again)
Unlike a sport such as football, resuming soccer or learning it as an adult is a welcome way to get fit and have fun. It’s different from learning it in youth because you can play smarter with the proper guidance. Of course, it can be grueling, so you need to know your limits to protect yourself from injury as much as possible.
Whether you want to become great or just release some pent-up energy, soccer could be the sport for you. With that being said, make sure to visit our blog for tips on conditioning, safety, and performance.
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Looking for more tips on safety and performance in soccer? Be sure to check out our blog for more insights.