December 10, 2021 By Jordan Off

Newsletter (08) Term 4

What an exciting footballing week we have had! Over the weekend our u8, u13 and u14/15 teams partook in the Sydney International Cup which proved to be an invaluable learning expense for all the players involved. Additionally, our training week shifted focus to individual technique correction which the players responded very well to.

The Mini Mongo Train groups are looking more settled into their weekly training habits. This weeks sessions looked to further their individual confidence manipulating the ball. The integration of this technical work within fun based games provides the most effective structure for these young players to develop their skills.

The Mini Mongo Play groups have begun more game like applications of ball manipulation. At this age the development of a strong foundation in passing, dribbling and skills is an essential stepping stone for their future development. This and future weeks will focus on players individual ball address with coaches working closely with individual players to correct their body shape and technique.

The Pre Academy groups had a very good week focusing on technical correction and ball skills. At this age a lot of repetition is required to perfect these fundamentals to a subconscious level. In addition a greater focus is placed on a player’s ability to manipulate the ball in the air and on the ground. Practicing juggling not only acts as a great self challenge for players outside of training but it also works to further a players mastery of the ball. More advanced players in this group are being given the opportunity to train with the Academy groups which provides very valuable lessons regarding focus and intensity in groups slightly older.

The Academy groups had a recovery week of light sessions. At this age load management is extremely important. If players were given the choice, they would likely continue intense training until injury! With this mind lighter sessions after an intense block of training allows their bodies to recover properly as well as teach them lessons about proper management, nutrition and rest.

It was a huge footballing weekend for the players able to compete in the Sydney International Cup. For many of the young ones the weekend was their first ever experience with a tournament format to which all the players seemed to enjoy! In an undeniably competitive tournament the players were happy to snag some wins and score some goals with our u14/15 team unfortunately losing on penalties in the grand final. Regardless of wins and losses a tournament like this provides an extremely valuable learning opportunity for players in both adapting and evolving their skills across the many games of the tournament but also players are able to experience and learn to control differing emotions and self-expectations. A huge thanks to all the parents who volunteered their time to help in the set up, in operations and pack up of the tournament! We are extremely glad we were able to put on an event the kids won’t stop talking about into the future

Stay safe everyone,

Importance of Recovery for Youth Athletes

The demand placed on today’s youth is greater than ever before.  With school, sports, other extracurricular activities, friends, and family, their days are filled from sunrise to sunset. In addition, youth athletes often compete in different sports and/or for a variety of teams, leaving little time for recovery between practices and sport seasons.

Additional hurdles in youth sports is the perception that  “more is better” and youth athletes recover more quickly from hard workouts than adults; however, because children and adolescents are still growing and developing, they actually require more time than adults for recovery between high volume and high intensity training sessions. Without sufficient time for recovery, high-grade stress (practice, training sessions, games, social and emotional stress) over a period of several months can cause an athlete to fall into extreme exhaustion (mental, neural, and adrenal) and increase risk for illness and injury. Athletes don’t often know when to stop or slow down; therefore, it is vital for coaches and parents to understand the importance of recovery and how to incorporate it into the game plan.

Here are a few key points to help:

  1. Both training and rest are needed for muscle development. Training activates Satellite Cells and increases insulin-like growth factor, but muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown, which is at rest. Athletes need 8+ hours of sleep every night. Sleep is key for growth and recovery.
  2. Food is fuel and necessary for cellular repair, growth and development. Encourage athletes to consume a diet of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and whole grains) and to drink plenty of water.
  3. The post exercise meal is vital. For optimal recovery, athletes should consume 20 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbohydrate within 30 minutes after activity.  Excellent options include: turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, Greek yogurt with 1 cup of berries, or an apple with 2 tablespoon of a nut butter.
  4. Be aware of your child or athletes emotional state. Athletes who have reached a state of over training often show lack of enthusiasm and personality or mood changes.
  5. Encourage youth athletes to have 1-2 complete rest days per week.
  6. Incorporate active recovery or lighter days into training. This could simply include reduced load and/or volume of training, or greater focus on mobility and myofascial work (ex. Foam rolling).