Hydration: Why is it important for performance?

Don't wait to hydrate until your feel thirsty!  If your thirst mechanism is triggered, you are already showing signs of dehydration.  Optimize your sports performance by following a hydration plan and make adjusts based on factors such as weather and exertion. 

Dehydration can lead to:

·      ↓ Muscle Strength

·      ↓ Speed and Stamina

·      ↓ Energy

·      ↑ Risk for injury

Avoiding all these negative effects can be the difference between winning, losing and staying healthy. Therefore, it is vital to rehydrate before, during and after practicing or playing games. 

When should I rehydrate?
Before workouts:

·      Close to practice/competition you should be consuming liquid calories, such as, Sports drinks

·      2-3 hours before training, consume 17 ounces of fluids

·      8oz (1cup) immediately prior to competition or practice

During workouts:

·      2-4 cups (16-32oz) of sports drinks per hour (ideally) or

·      1 cup (8oz) every 15-20mins

·      If the practice or competition is longer than an hour try to consume carbohydrates as you hydrate

o   Sports drinks are the ideal method rather than trying to eat foods

Post-Workouts:

·      Aim to start hydrating immediately after practice/competition or at least within 30 minutes post-practice/competition

·      Consume at least 24oz for every pound lost from training or exercise.
 

Over hydration

·      The recommendations above are guidelines and should be used as such. Each individual will be different

·      To avoid over hydration do not drink more than you sweat

·      Try to drink sports drinks because they contain some sodium and carbohydrates

 

Sources: Boston University Sargent Choice Nutrition Center: Nutrition Advisers for Boston University Men’s Soccer.

Villanova University Nutrition Center- http://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/studentlife/documents/healthpromotion/Hydration%20guideline%20for%20athletes.pdf

Ways to get ahead on the recruiting curve

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Recruiting is a fierce competition, both from an athlete’s perspective and a coaches perspective. Everyone is always looking for ways to get an edge and standout. Chances are, if you’re not the next up and coming superstar, you’re among the horde of student-athletes trying to get the attention of the coaches at your desired school. Here’s a few ways to stand out from the pack.

  1. Reach out as early as possible
    Reaching out via email or phone can help put you on a coaches radar even if you do so as a freshman. The coach may not respond or show any reaction to the initial time you reach out, but if you build up a year or two of communication, your name will be hard to forget. Now this doesn’t mean contacting the coach every week, because that looks desperate and can be annoying. But reaching out every few months or so is a good start.

  2. Being Prompt in responding
    If you’re fortunate to have the coaches you’re interested in return that interest, it’s always best to respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible. There’s no benefit in keeping a coach waiting unless you don’t immediately have the answer to their question. And even in cases like that, a simple “I don’t currently have the answer to your question but I will let you know as soon as I figure it out” can go a long way.

  3. Be Polite
    Simply put, Coaches don’t have time for players with attitude. Showing that you’re not a problem kid and that you have good manners can go a long way.

  4. Staying on top of your grades and Admissions
    Having the GPA and test scores to get into your school or schools of choice makes Coaches a lot more likely to recruit you. If they don’t have to fight with admissions, that makes their already hectic life easier. Doing your own research into the GPA and standardized testing minimums of a school can help you select schools where you’ll be a great fit not only athletically, but academically as well.

Student-athletes: What college program is right for you?

Nationwide college graduation rates over a six year period are just over 50%.  It is especially important for you as a student-athlete to research options, know the questions to ask, and take the time to find the right fit so that you are in the graduating 50% and invest in the right athletic program from the start.  If successful, the right choice can save you money, frustration and put you on a fast-track to a successful and rewarding career path. Consider these four categories.

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Athletic Standards:  What level of play suits you?  How much college soccer have you watched, either on Fox Soccer Channel, streamed off college websites or live on a college campus?  The more college soccer you see, the better you will be informed of where you can play!  You don’t want to waste your time pursuing college soccer programs that are totally out of your reach.  Keep in mind that even within collegiate divisions, there is a lot of variation in athletic standards.  

You have to pay attention to the style of play of the school and consider how you may fit in.  Also, you have to pay attention to the recruiting class size and recruiting needs of the school.  Are they looking to play you in your preferred position or do they intend on playing you somewhere else on the field? Don’t be afraid to ask the coach of your incoming year’s recruitment class size and the program’s average retention rate of athletes.

Academics:  If you are seeking a particular major, your may severely limit your college choices.  Keep in mind that nationwide, approximately 50% of college students change majors at least once before college graduation.  Try to find a school that has several majors of potential interest. 

If you do have a major in mind, make sure to compare the prospective program to other schools.  Consider the program's reputation and record of job placement or acceptance into graduate programs.  Take the time to meet with a representative from that program.

Realistically compare your transcript to the acceptance requirements of each school.  If you are being recruited by a particular school, the athletic program may have some influence in assisting in your acceptance, but for the most part, schools have little leeway.  The special athletic "slots" are usually used on the top players being recruited by that school.  The reality is that better grades, rank, and board scores will provide you more college choices, so study hard!

Financial:  You can quite easily find what it costs to attend schools online.  If you are in contact with a prospective soccer program, they may be able to request a pre-read from admissions during your Junior year to estimate possible academic and need-based aid likely available based on your FASFA forms.  Soccer scholarships are few and far between.  Coaches have many ways of dividing money up for recruits and not all programs are the same.

The costs of a college degree are continually rising and vary greatly.  Some programs are so prestigious or have such exceptional job placement rates that they are worth the extra cost.  Others are not.  If money is a concern, evaluate the pros and cons of paying more. 

Location & Size of School:  The school location and student population may heavily influence your college choice.  Each location will offer a unique set of opportunities and experiences.  Do you want the offerings of a large city or are you more comfortable in rural environment?  What resources will you need to access (e.g. transportation, museums, prospective employers, industry and nature)?  Take the time to consider what makes you happy now, what opportunities you want in the future, and how population density and surroundings may influence your well-being.

Some students want to live in the city where there are lots of things taking place.  For instance, Boston has the largest college student populations of any city in the world, with close to 65-schools and colleges in the greater Boston area. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may feel more at home at a school in a rural setting.   

Also, consider is the size of the student population and average class sizes within your proposed major.  You may need to break these numbers down to better understand how the size of the student population may affect you personally.  Consider the student population broken into the following categories: total school, undergraduate, by department and by major.

Foam rolling for recovery

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What is it?

In scientific terms, foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. In other words, rolling helps treat muscular immobility and pain. It does this by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles. The effects from rolling are similar to receiving a massage from another person.

Why should you do it?

Foam rolling has been scientifically shown to reduce post-exercise fatigue, therefore, providing quicker recovery from playing and training. It is important to note though that foam rolling has no effect performance. However, the reduction in fatigue can extend workout time and volume that can then lead to long-term performance enhancements. Remember, the main benefit of foam rolling is quicker recovery.

How do you do it?

Foam rollers are found in many different forms, some are soft, some have ridges, but all are used the same way. Foam rolling can be completed with a specially designed compacted foam roller sold in many sports shops. Alternatively, rolling can be completed with a PVC pipe. All types should give similar effects. To roll you want to apply pressure to the roller as you roll up and down on the roller. Muscle groups to target are calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, IT band (outside of quad), groin, hip flexor (top of the quad), and back (lower and upper).

Here is a demonstration video of how to rollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khC5J1lkC7s

Source: http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2014/01000/The_Effects_of_Myofascial_Release_With_Foam.8.aspx

 

Top Ten Questions to Ask a College Coach

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If you are considering playing soccer in college, we recommend you reach out to prospective programs as part of your college search. Here are some recommended questions.

Q1. How many players have you committed to my recruiting class?  And how many are you hoping to commit?
You need to make sure that the soccer programs you are pursuing are still recruiting prospects for your class. Keep in mind that although a soccer program may be done recruiting scholarship players, there may still be openings on the roster for recruited walk-ons.

Q2. How do my scores (GPA, SAT) weigh up to the general admittance requirements of your college?
You don't want to waste your time talking with a coach if you don't have a chance of being admitted to his/her school.  Some colleges/universities allow athletic programs to admit students with lower scores than the average student while some do not.  Coaches can request (and often do) a pre-admittance read of your transcript/scores to determine if you are likely to be admitted to the school.

Q3. Does the school have the major I want or are there a variety of potential majors?
Some prospects are entertaining schools because of the strength of the athletic program and a chance to play in the professional ranks. The majority of prospects, however, are combining academic pursuits and athletic performance.  Make sure the school offers either the program you require or a degree that facilities your needs.  Keep in mind that nationwide, approximately 50% of college students change majors at least once before college graduation. Make sure the school has a great variety of majors just in case.

Q4. How many of your seniors are graduating this year and what are their positions?  How about juniors?
Knowing this information will help you understand the likelihood of playing in your first two years. For example, if you are a forward and the school is graduating forwards in the next two years, you may have a high likelihood of playing straightaway.  On the other hand, if program is not graduating forwards, you may find yourself on the bench or redshirted?  Check out the program’s roster online and see for yourself.

Q5. What is your program's style of play and how do you see me fitting in?
It's important to know if your abilities fit into the schools style of play.  Prospects should know if you are going to play in a similar role or are the college coaches expecting you to play in a different role or position.  You may want to also ask if the system of play may change in the near future.  Also, you may be able to stream some live games off the athletic program’s website.  Many athletic programs offer live streaming for free.  This is a great way to see firsthand if you could fit into their style of play.

Q6. Which events will you recruit this season/year?
By knowing the coach's schedule, you can make sure to get all your information (resume, club name & squad number, game times, etc.) to the coaches ahead of time.   You may even be able to influence your club manager or coach to register for a particular event where this coach will be present.

Q7. Would you like me to send you updates to our schedule before and during the events, if you are recruiting the event?
In the weeks leading up to an event, coaches are preparing the recruiting schedule for the event.   That means that prospects have to get the schedules, squad numbers, times of games and field locations to the coach early.  Do not overwhelm the coach, but make sure that you get the information to the coach in a timely fashion.  If you send your information to the coach the last few days before the event, the likelihood that you get onto the recruiting schedule is not good.  You can send a coach update emails from the venue of your games and confirm that you will be playing in the next game.

Q8. What is your graduation rate for your program?
A low graduation rate might reflect a high rate of transfers or a lack of student support services.  Be wary of a program with a high rate of transfers, as this may be an indication that players are unhappy with the program.

Q9. How do you decide if a player is to be redshirted during the course of a season?
Some players are recruited because the coaches see the prospect playing minutes straightaway. Some players show potential and the coaches feel they will offer more in the years to come. Some coaches decide at the start of the year who will redshirt the season, while others wait until the season is under way.  Redshirting is sometimes a good idea as prospects may play more towards the latter end of their playing careers.

Q10. How are financial aid, academic aid and scholarship aid earned and/or distributed among recruits and the team?
Financial aid packages can consist of athletic scholarships, academic scholarships, and/or need-based financial aid.  It is important to understanding how this will come together and whether these numbers may change over the four years.  Some programs will increase soccer scholarships if the player performs well during the four years.