Category Archives: Soccer

The History of adidas Soccer

Players all over the world can be seen sporting adidas soccer shoes in their games, but how did those shoes become so popular? It all started in 1936, when Adi Dassler convinced U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his shoes during the Olympics. After Owens corralled four gold medals, Dassler’s reputation as a quality shoemaker was forever cemented.

adidas went on to make apparel and other sporting goods for a wide variety of sports, but soccer, and especially soccer balls, has always been a mainstay for the company. While there have been a number of adidas soccer ball iterations, the company has had a long history of collaboration with the main governing body of soccer, FIFA. Adidas was commissioned to manufacture the official balls of the 2006 and 2010 World Cup matches.

Not only do they make some of the most famous balls, adidas has a long history of producing team uniforms. Almost every professional soccer league in the world has some kind of merchandising deal for adidas soccer jersey use, either for individual players, teams, or the entire league.

An interesting historical note regarding the famous “three stripes” logo that adidas currently uses today, according to Soccer Garage, is that it was not always theirs. It was sold to adidas by Finnish sports brand Karhu in 1951 for a couple bottles of whiskey and the modern equivalent of $1,694.

Soccer Safety: Precautions to Avoid Injuries

Soccer SafetyIn contact sports, the number of sports injuries is always on the higher side. Taking safety measures while playing contact sports will ensure that one does not suffer from grievous injuries, and is also able to avoid causing injuries to other players. One contact sport where these safety measures have an important role to play is soccer, for there are always high chances of injuries happening on the soccer field.

There are many advantages of playing different sports, among them is being healthy and fit. Group sports entice a lot of people for it helps to make friends and instills team spirit. Due to the many advantages, it is seen that a number of people have turned towards sports to keep themselves fit, physically and mentally. However, along with reaping benefits of sports, one will also have to take protective measures to reduce the risk of injuries. In this write-up, we will concentrate on preventing injuries while playing soccer. Although physical contact between players is not a planned part of the game, the contact is inevitable during a sport like soccer. The injuries can range from minor to major.

If one has to look at the sports from the spectators point of view, it may not necessarily seem to be a sport where one can be seriously injured. This can be attributed to the fact that there are some players who have mastered the art of gliding through the matches without any physical contact with other players. However, this is true for very few players as most of them have suffered cuts and bruises or have crashed into the ground or have bounced off due to a collision with another player. Hence, safety precautions to be taken while playing soccer have gained immense importance.

Prevention of Soccer Injuries

In soccer, there is a sudden and quick change of direction which leads to contact with the other players. At times, some players can become reckless. Therefore, safety measures have to be in place to protect the player.

Using Protective Gear

The soccer equipment has an important role to play in preventing soccer injuries. If one observes the players when they are on the field, it will be noticed that very few players will have taken the pains to wear the entire set of necessary protective gear. However, to protect oneself from injuries, it makes sense to wear the complete set of protective soccer gear.

Soccer Shoes: Soccer shoes are available in three types, namely molded cleats, ribbed soles, and screw-in cleats. It is recommended that one opts either for molded cleats or ribbed soles. The use of screw-in cleats should be limited and should be used when one is playing in a wet field or on a field with tall grass in it. It is often seen that players do not use the right-sized soccer shoes. Using the right-sized shoes will help in minimizing injuries to a good extent.

Shin Guard: It is seen that shins are the most injured part of the body in a soccer match. The shin guard helps in preventing the common soccer injury, namely the injured shin bone. They protect the legs up to the knees. They can be bought in plastic, rubber, and other forms. Often socks are used to cover the shins which lends necessary protection to the lower legs.

Mouthguard: Other than leg injuries, it is the dental injuries that are commonly seen in soccer. Although it is not mandatory to wear a mouthguard, it is recommended that one wears mouth guards to prevent orofacial injuries. This will also help in protecting the other players from concussions, in case of a collision.

Goalie Gear: Goalies are prone to injuries, therefore, they will have to wear the goalie gear to protect themselves from soccer balls, kicks, collisions, etc. Equipment is also available to protect the wrist, hand, and fingers, which can get severely injured when the goalie is trying to prevent the soccer ball from making its way into the goal post. The clothes a goalie wears should have light padding, so that the other parts of the body are protected as well.

Protecting Yourself and Others

In all the excitement of playing soccer, soccer players often do not inspect the soccer field before taking to it. Making sure the field does not have holes or any other obstacle which can cause injury is important. Obstacles, if any, should be stored away from the field to keep injuries at bay.

The goal post should be well padded to prevent head injuries caused by possible and accidental collision with the post. Although goal posts are firmly entrenched in the ground, it is important to lock the posts so that it does not trip on the players.

It is the duty of the coaches to make sure that all the rules of the game are followed, while the game is being played. At the same time, it is the duty of each player to make sure that he adheres to the rules of the game. It will not only help in preventing injuries to other players but also to oneself. One of the rules followed by most of the leagues is not to use the sliding tackles from behind. This has caused serious injuries in the past, therefore, it has been prohibited.

Care should be taken when one is using heading techniques. There have been many injuries when a player has tried to head the ball and hurt another player in the process. It can also lead to neck injuries due to the impact. Along with head and neck injuries, one has to make sure that one protects the teeth, mouth, and tongue while heading the ball.

Along with taking care when one is heading the ball, one should be careful and avoid head-on collisions. The first precautionary measure that has to be taken is not to charge down the field without paying attention to the position and movements of other players. The next measure is to keep the head up and always be attentive of the players from your team as well as from the opposing team.

Some Essentials Not To Be Overlooked

Now is the time to check the measures that have to be taken to avoid personal injuries during soccer. The first measure that is to be taken is to maintain the fitness levels. If one is not at the optimum fitness level, the chances of injuries rise incredibly. One must have a fitness program in place, which will include aerobic exercise along with strength training. The other aspect of the fitness program is flexibility. If one has not trained in a long time, it is best to increase the training period gradually. This will help in building up the fitness levels.

Stretching is an important part of the fitness regime, which is a ‘must do’ part of the precautions to be taken when one is playing soccer. However, it is commonly seen that most players do not stretch before as well as after the game. When the muscles are stretched properly, tearing and pulling of ligaments and muscles are prevented. Hence, stretching has to be a part of the warm-up as well as cool-down. However, before you stretch before a practice or a game, it is important that you warm up the muscles a little. If the muscles are cold, it increases the chances of injury manifold.

Dehydration is often the cause of muscles cramps. Therefore, it is important that the player is well hydrated. However, it does not mean that one gulps down huge quantities of water at one go. Water should be consumed by sipping small quantities. Often, dehydration causes cramps. In case of a cramp, it is best that the player leaves the field and comes back only after the cramping feeling has subsided completely.

Following basic soccer ethics will go a long way in preventing soccer injuries. Here is a list of DOs and DON’Ts:

-Passing negative or personal comments about the players from the opposing team can insinuate a verbal battle, which in turn can turn physical and violent. Hence, it is necessary that one refrains from passing any hurtful comments.
-Often fights between team members ensue because a particular player does not pay attention to the spirit of the game. At the end of the day, it is important to note that one is after all playing only a game. Avoid cheating in the game. When a match is lost, you will learn from the mistakes, which will help in improving your game to a large extent, rather than cheating and winning the game.
-As a sports player, each soccer player should have and display sportsman spirit, which is the most important soccer etiquette. This should clearly be evident in case of a defeat. Defeat should be accepted with dignity. It is important that the opponent team is congratulated on their win. While accepting the congratulatory wishes, the winning team members should refrain from taunting the members of the opposing team and remember it is ‘just’ a game.
-Players should avoid getting into brawls on the field as well as off the field. Often it is small spats which become ugly. All that happens on the soccer field is best left there itself.

In spite of taking all the required soccer safety precautions, accidents are bound to happen given the nature of the game. Hence, it is important to have first aid kits handy in case of an untoward accident so that the basic treatment can be handed out to the player before he gets proper medical attention. Last but not the least, it is the duty of the players to protect themselves and the other players during the game of soccer and avoid any untoward incident.

Choose the Right Soccer Ball

All soccer balls might seem the same, but there are some major differences in the brands that you need to consider while buying the perfect one for your playing needs. In this article, you will come to know how to choose the right soccer ball for you or your team.

Soccer, also known as football in some countries, is believed to be one of the most popular sports in the world. Watching professionals play this game is certainly fun. Many people are impressed by the skills and stamina involved in this game and decide to start playing. However, you need to know that professional are trained athletes who have the best coaching and gear. If you are thinking about starting to play soccer, the first thing to do is to choose an appropriate ball. Though it may seem that all balls are the same; they might differ in size, quality, and some other factors. Beginners might go for a particular ball by looking at its color and design, which is not a good way of choosing the perfect ball.

Tips on Choosing the Right Soccer Ball

Seasoned football professionals say that there are four factors in determining a good soccer ball: the type, size, the bladder and brand.

Type of Soccer Sport
You need to decide on the level of playing you would be opting for, that is outdoor playing or indoor playing. Outdoor balls are made as per professional soccer standards and the wear and tear they happen to go through. On the other hand, indoor soccer balls are manufactured to suit indoor conditions. For example, these balls are made in a way that they would bounce about 30% less than their outdoor counterparts. Besides, the covering of these balls is made up with a material that is quite similar to that of tennis balls.

Size of the Ball
Next comes soccer ball sizes, which is generally classified in three, four and five. The smallest-sized balls range from 23 to 24 inches, and are most suitable for children. As per standards, these are good choices for those below 8 years. Balls of size four are a little bigger than the previous ones and are most suitable for soccer enthusiasts between 8 to 12 years. Those which have international standards come in size five which is the biggest. These are appropriate for anyone above 12 years.

The Cover or Surface Type
The cover and bladder are two major parts of a soccer ball, which differ significantly in ball types. Traditionally, the surface of the ball is made out of materials namely the synthetic Polyurethane (PU), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and rubber. Those made with rubber are most suitable for practice and daily playing. Those made up of Polyurethane are more durable and have good water resistance qualities. Soccer balls whose surface is manufactured using PVC material are light and more durable.

The Bladder Type
The bladder is the main material that keeps the ball inflated and in proper shape. It has a valve for filling air. Soccer balls made for practice are manufactured using a combination of butyl and rubber. They do hold air much better than latex ones, but are not light and have a heavy feel on the feet. Professional ones have bladders made with latex, which make the balls more responsive both with the feet and head. They are soft on the feet and maintain the shape of the ball for a long time.

Choosing the Brand
If you are just playing for the sake of exercise, you can simply go into a sports shop and choose a locally made brand. However, if you are thinking about serious matches and practice, there are few good options like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Umbro. Those from Nike and Adidas are used in professional league sports. However, you will have to pay a decent price for a soccer ball from these world famous brands.

For better control, practice with a ball which is of the same size like the one that you are going to play a match with. While practicing for a match, use the complete gear, to get a feel of the game and increase interest. For better control of the ball, choose good quality soccer shoes which fit you well. Choosing a ball with FIFA Approved or FIFA Inspected logo will ensure utmost durability and quality.

Plyometric Drills and Exercises

Soccer is a sport that is played on a large ground, with players taking very little rest during the game. It has been estimated that players cover 8-12 kms during a match, during which they jog, sprint, walk, move backwards and also move whilst in possession of the ball. It sure can be tiring! Strength training increases muscle and body strength, corrects muscle imbalances, and prevents injuries.

Plyometrics

In 1975, American track and field coach Fred Wilt coined the term plyometrics, combining two Latin words pilo, which means more, and metrics, meaning to measure. It is a form of exercise that produces fast and powerful muscle movements. It is designed to optimize contractions of the muscles at the highest speed possible, and aims to improve performance. Following are some exercises that make use of muscle elasticity, strength, and innervations, which in turn enables the player to jump higher, hit harder, or throw farther.

Lower Body Plyometric Exercises

Split Squat Jumps: Stand with feet apart, and take the left leg and step back approximately 2 feet standing on the ball of back foot. Your feet should be positioned in such a way that the head and back are in an erect and straight position. Lower the body by bending at right knee until thigh is parallel to floor then immediately jump back. Switch feet in the air so that the front foot lands backward and vice versa.

Tuck Jumps: Stand with your feet apart, and the knees slightly bent, with arms flung at sides. Jump up, bringing knees close to the chest. Land on balls of feet and repeat at once. Each time you jump, reduce ground contact time, springing into air immediately.

Bounding: This exercise is in a running motion, that focuses more on foot push-off and reduced air time. Start by jogging in a forward momentum. After a few feet of jogging, forcefully push off with the left foot and bring the leg forward, and simultaneously bring the right arm forward. Repeat with other right leg and left arm.

Upper Body Plyometric Drills

Plyometric Push-Ups: Get into a push-up position, lower yourself to the ground and then forcefully push yourself up so that your hands immediately leave the ground. Break your fall with your hands and lower yourself into a push-up again and repeat with force.

Overhead Throws: Stand with one foot in front, and knees slightly bent. Pull the ball back behind the head and forcefully throw forward as far as possible (preferably onto a wall). Catch ball as it bounces towards you, and keep repeating. The time taken between pulling the ball back and starting the throw should be reduced with every action.

Explosive Start Throws: Stand with feet slightly apart, and bend the knees slightly. Lift ball up to chest level. Quickly run forward and throw the ball straight out as far and fast as you can. At the same time you throw the ball forcefully, explode forward in a sprint.

Basic Plyometric Exercises

-Placing feet together, hop side to side, forward and backwards.
-Skip for distance and height, try being suspended in the air for a longer time.
-While jumping pull your legs up into your body.
-Run up and down the stairs, really fast. Hop and skip a few steps alternatively. But be careful, you don’t want to trip!
-Jump as high as you can, and land straight on your feet every time you do so.
-Jump on and off a sturdy platform, initially start with higher elevations, and then move on to a smaller platform.
-Jump over alternatively using the left and right foot. Follow-up with jumps over the ball from front to back.

It’s important to warm up with light aerobic activity followed by some stretching exercises. Though these drills don’t tire one out, it is imperative to take breaks and stick to the prescribed program. All these exercises and drills require professional advice and coaching, so make sure you get it before you embark on a plyometric fitness regime.