If you’ve been racking your brain to come up with a holiday gift idea for the soccer players in your life, look no further. This list of goodies was assembled with hard-to-please aspiring college competitors in mind.
Whether the players in your life are heading off to college next fall or they still have a few years to go, these gift ideas are sure to excite any player who dreams of taking their game to the next level.
Tickets to a Soccer Clinic
Training in a small group outside of their usual club practice can be a terrific opportunity for players to acquire new skills, learn different positions and formations, and become more comfortable with unfamiliar coaching styles. Small-group training is a fun way for players to add variety to their training regimen and gain exposure to the game scenarios they’ll face as college freshmen.
Private soccer coaching can be a powerful tool to help players fine-tune their strengths and overcome weaknesses. Working with an experienced coach can help players correct technical errors, learn advanced techniques, analyze tactical scenarios and have their questions answered – all in a stress-free setting.
Strength Training Sessions
As a coach, my second-most-frequent piece of advice to players (after “get extra soccer training”) is to start a strength training program to increase muscle mass. Competition for college roster spots is fierce and, unfortunately, the first time a player gets pushed off the ball may be the last time that player sees the college field. Building muscle takes time, so do the athlete in your life a favor and schedule time with a certified trainer as soon as possible.
Flexibility is a crucial component of sustained high-performance in any sport and soccer is certainly no exception. Striking the ball, especially while running at speed, requires power to be exerted through a player’s full range of motion. Yoga is a fantastic way to increase joint mobility, which is also a crucial factor in avoiding injury and performing the fine motor skills required for soccer.
Possibly the most underutilized resource in athletic performance is nutrition. To train and compete at the highest level, your soccer player must consume the right foods in the correct amounts at the appropriate times every day. A licensed nutritionist can help your player follow a diet that’s specifically designed for the unique needs of a young, developing athlete.
Mental Performance Coaching
In addition focusing on their physical development, aspiring college players must also master the mental side of the beautiful game. To that end, mental skills training can significantly improve your player’s ability to manage their emotions, attain goals, stay calm under pressure and bounce back from adversity. Working with a mental performance coach, your player will learn to use powerful techniques including meditation, guided imagery, self-talk and goal-setting to help them reach their full potential.
This gift might be a bit difficult to fit under the tree, but planning a surprise campus visit to one of your player’s top college choices can make for a truly memorable experience. Aside from being a fun family bonding opportunity, a campus visit can help your player narrow down their list of college options and focus on a handful of high-priority schools in the months ahead.
I hope you found some gift ideas on this list that will surprise and satisfy even the most discerning soccer players in your home this holiday season. Whichever holiday(s) your family celebrates, I hope you enjoy lots of quality time with your loved ones and some much-deserved downtime to recuperate after a busy soccer-filled year.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.