Anticipation for the Upcoming Soccer Season!

So, you have recently just registered your child in a FFPS youth soccer league. You and your child have been talking about the upcoming season frequently. Excitement has been steadily growing since you have signed up! Expectations have been building with the first game on the horizon, but now that game-day has come, your child is displaying a little bit of nervousness. This is completely normal! Being intimated or scared, with first day jitters are normal and expected in youth soccer. Here is how you can assist your child and help them navigating pregame jitters for the upcoming Fall FFPS soccer season. 

Understanding and Using First Game Jitters 

It is important to understand that the gradual development of pre-game jitters is created by the building up of adrenaline waiting to be released. Knowing this, it is essential your child uses that initial nervousness as energy for the game. This means that when kids can understand their anxiety and tell themselves that it is excitement, they can embrace their natural feelings before the soccer game and have a more fun, fair, and positive experience!  

These are Normal Feelings to Have  

Anxiety before a big event is part of being human and is experienced by everyone. Learning to understand the signals of nervousness in your child, so that you can have a simple conversation about it, is important. Reassure your child what they are feeling is completely normal and experienced by everyone, even adults! You might use the phrase “butterflies in your stomach” to help your child understand that this is a common feeling experienced by everyone. 

Take a Moment to Breath

Sometimes, just taking a deep breath can help with navigating pregame jitters. A simple calming breathing exercise with some soothing music can go a long way! Plus, this easy exercise is a great life lesson to learn that they can use throughout their life!  

Remember to Hydrate and Eat Plenty of Healthy Snacks

Bring plenty of water so that everyone has the chance to drink water throughout the entire day. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, are great because athletes can replace electrolytes while not intaking copious amounts of sugar. It is also crucial to hydrate your children before practice or games, as well as during and after soccer activities. Be sure that your child gets enough sleep the night before a practice or game and eats a healthy diet to provide energy and mental clarity. 

Youth Soccer For Everyone!

At FFPS, we believe in a focus on fun, not serious competition. This is because we believe youth soccer should not just be about winning and scoring, but also about enjoying the game of soccer in a positive environment. We do not have all-star teams, and our young athletes get equal playing time regardless of their level of talent. 

 

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Safety First

 Preparing your child for the FFPS Fall season? Or do you have a small kid that is interested in starting soccer? Whatever the case, as a parent/guardian, you are going to need to know about the essential gear that is involved in youth soccer. And one of the most important pieces to obtain is shin guards.

What are Shin Guards?

Shin guards are vital equipment in every organized soccer league from pee-wee, youth soccer to elite professionals.  Shin guards are a necessary piece of soccer equipment that protect players against all sorts of leg contact, from potential slide tackles and even unintentional ones. Your child needs practical protection from potential injuries, and shin guards are designed to supply just that. However, choosing the correct shin guards can be a bit tricky at first glance. This is our straightforward guide that will help you determine the right type of shin guards to purchase. First, let’s try to understand the different types of shin guards available for youth soccer players.

Ankle-Shin Guards

“Ankle-shin guards” are shin guards with extra ankle protection and padding. All around the foot and ankle is additional soft padding. This helps players from potential hard kicks and slide tackles to that area. There are stirrups that will slide under the feet and help the shin guards stay in place throughout the soccer game. Obviously, this is the ideal option for younger or less experienced players starting soccer. 

Shin Socks

Shin socks are shin guards and socks combined! This makes it easier for younger players to keep their gear on correctly and in working order throughout the game. The shin guard is pulled on in one piece, just like a regular sock. The downside is less ankle and foot protection compared to ankle-shin guards, but better mobility and are much easier to put on. These are great for our younger players, ages 4 – 6, and they are machine washable, so everything is fresh and clean come game day!  

Proper Sizing

Finally, the sizing of the shin guards is important to keep in mind. You will find the correct size shin guards based on the height of the player. Normally, you will be able to find size guides in stores or online when scoping out the different options. Keep in mind that the more coverage between the ankle and the knee the better. Also, you will want shin guards that fall two inches below the knee. This will help the player be able to run and kick properly throughout the game. 

Acquiring the right shin guards for your child will mean that he or she can focus their full attention on playing the wonderful game of soccer and having a fun, fair and positive experience! 

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Purchasing The Correct Youth Soccer Equipment is Essential 

When you register for an FFPS league across Houston, you will be given an FFPS jersey, shorts, and game socks (included in the registration fee). However, in addition to the jersey/shorts, you will need to buy some soccer equipment for your child to be properly outfitted for the upcoming youth soccer season. Your child will need soccer cleats, practice socks, and shin guards. Official FFPS soccer balls will be provided for games and practices. Although, if you want to get a soccer ball for your child to practice with at home, make sure you buy the right size ball for your child to use. If your child is between the ages of 4-9, then a size 3 ball is great for them. If they are ages 9 and up, then a size 4 ball is the best size for them to use.

Teaching The Basics of Youth Soccer at Home

Although your children will gain more comprehensive, age-appropriate teaching from their official FFPS coach, it is always beneficial to give them a basic idea of soccer before their first FFPS practices. Teaching the basic concepts of passing and dribbling before practice will help them feel confident and have a better understanding of the game overall. Telling your children about sportsmanship and its importance is also advantageous before the youth soccer season starts.

Teach Good Daily Habits

It is crucial to instruct children about adequate sleep, healthy diet, and sufficient exercise. This will help them as they grow older to develop good habits as they slowly grow into young adults. Talk to your child about getting the proper amount of sleep and hydration for their body to fully recover. This is especially important before and after game day. Educate them on essential nutrition and the importance of water. Being properly hydrated for each FFPS practice and game is crucial in the Texas heat!

 Most Importantly Have FUN!

Most importantly, encourage your child to have fun! Players and parents can get distracted by issues such as winning or losing, or how many goals were scored. Youth soccer should be about fun and discovering love for the game. That is why at FFPS, we do not keep score. Make sure to always encourage your child, as well as other players, to keep the atmosphere fun, fair, and positive for everyone! 
  
If you are interested in signing your child up for an FFPS soccer league in your area, click here! 

2021 Fall Soccer League Registration

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Guide to Selecting the Right Pair of Soccer Cleats for Kids! 

If you are starting the FFPS Fall season and need to buy a new pair of youth soccer cleats for your kid, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the number of options at your disposal. You want to get a quality pair of cleats that fit comfortably without spending a fortune. Especially, when you are not sure how much they will grow this season.

This is our straightforward guide to help parents find the right pair of youth soccer cleats for their aspiring soccer player this fall season!  

Comfort Is Always Key 

Before anything else, comfort should be the focal point when you are picking soccer cleats for any young player. The overall goal is to guarantee they fit correctly. Ask them to walk around in them to see if there are any areas of pressure or discomfort. If the cleats are too tight, they will create unwanted foot pain. Cleats that are too loose will cause the feet to slide up while running, causing painful blisters.

Ensure You Have the Right Size 

Since you want the soccer cleats to last longer than a few weeks. Making sure there is enough space to grow into is incredibly important. In general, use your finger as a guide for the max room they should have toward the front of the cleat. Press down on the upper portion of the cleat with your pinky – there should not be any extra space between their toes and the front of the soccer cleat. 

Creating a Positive Experience for Everyone!

Purchasing the correct sized cleats will make certain that your child has a happy and successful soccer season. Make sure to ask the shoe store employee questions to guarantee you are buying the appropriate cleats for soccer, not other sports. Finally, think about shopping online. It is excellent for comparing product reviews from multiple customers all in one location.

Acquiring the right cleats for your child will mean that he or she can focus their full attention on playing the wonderful game of soccer and having a fun, fair and positive experience! 

These are youth soccer cleats that we recommend as great options for younger players. These are suggestions based on feedback I have received from parents throughout my 30 years of experience. 

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