SOCCER ACTIVITY CARD
Parts of the Body Worked
Upper & Lower Legs
Heart & Lungs
Just what does it take to become a soccer All-star?
A ball. Soccer balls come in different sizes depending on how old you are. Kids 8-12 should use a size 4 ball, and kids 13 and over should use a size 5 ball. Synthetic leather balls are best for beginners, because they don't absorb water and get heavy.
If you play in a league, a goal will usually be provided for you, and you can buy a smaller goal if you want to play in your backyard — just make sure it is anchored to the ground. No goal? No problem! Just set up any two objects (cones or waterbottles are good) to shoot between.
Two pieces of equipment you need to wear at all times when playing soccer are shin guards and cleats. Shin guards are designed to protect your legs from the ball, and from being kicked by other players. They are required in most leagues. The right cleats to wear for soccer are ones that are plastic or rubber — they'll help you with your quick starts, stops and turns.
Play it Safe
Be sure to wear shin guards and appropriate soccer cleats during games as well as practices. Warming up, especially your leg muscles, is very important. To avoid headaches and dizziness, use your head and learn the proper technique for heading a ball in a game. Many leagues have strict rules about wearing jewelry, watches, and barrettes during games. Since any of these items can cause you to get hurt if you're hit with a ball, it's a good idea to not wear them when you play. Also, to protect your mouth from collisions (especially if you have braces), wear a mouthguard.
How to Play
In addition to a good strong kick, you'll want to master basic skills like passing (moving the ball to a teammate with a controlled kick), dribbling (tapping the ball with your feet to move it down the field), trapping (stopping the ball with your feet, legs, or chest), and heading (using your head to stop or pass the ball). Once you get these skills down, you'll be unstoppable!
Here are some great passing and trapping tips.
Passing. Pick your target out before you start the pass. Keep your head down to make sure you kick the ball correctly. Plant your non-kicking foot next to the ball and kick the ball right in the center using the inside of your foot and follow through with your leg.
Chest trap. As the ball comes toward you, get in front of it and let it hit your chest. Bring your shoulders around and slightly inward, creating a cavity for the ball. Make sure you keep your arms down, so the ball doesn't accidentally hit your hands and cause a foul. When the ball hits your chest, arch your back, so your chest pops the ball upward and then lands at your feet.
If you played soccer on top of a mountain, you'd be able to kick the ball much further. Why? The air pressure on top of a mountain is lower than at the bottom. When a soccer ball is kicked into the air, the air pressure pushes against the ball and slows it down. Since the air pressure on top of a mountain is much lower, there is less pressure to push against the ball and slow it down. As a result, the ball will go further.
Nikolai Kutsenko of the Ukraine juggled a soccer ball for 24 1/2 hrs nonstop with his feet, legs and head — the ball never touched the ground!
Soccer players can run as many as 6 or 7 miles during the course of a game.
Since 1982, the University of North Carolina women's soccer team has won 14 National Championships.
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