Best National Soccer Teams

In no particular order, below is a list of some of the best national soccer teams in the world, based on performance, popularity and FIFA rankings over the years:

Brazil

Brazil holds the tag as the best national soccer team in the world having the world cup a record six times, most recently in 2002. They are also the only national team to have played in every world cup. Brazil has itself produced some of the greatest names in the sport such as Pele, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Zico and Socrates. The Brazilian way of football is always characterized by individual skill, devastating attacking play and an eye for spectacular goals. In every major tournament they participate in, they are usually billed as outright favourites.

Argentina

The Argentinean national team has always been full of talented players; players such as Maradona, Batistuta and Veron need no introduction. Its current team were the gold medallists in the 2008 Olympics and are therefore potential world beaters. Currently, they boast of having the best player in the world in the form of Lionel Messi who now captains the side, and a host of other world class players such as Tevez, Di Maria, Aguero and Higuain. With these current crops of stars, they are surely one of the teams to watch in the forthcoming World Cup to be hosted in their rival nation, Brazil.

Spain

Up to 2008, Spain had always been considered as one of the most under achieving national soccer teams in the world but has silenced critics in the since then. They won the 2008 European Championships and 2010 World Cup in amazing fashion and currently top the FIFA World Rankings. They have two of the best midfielders in the world in Xavi and Iniesta and other household names such as Cassillas, Torres, Silva and Fabregas. With their current status, they are favorites to clinch this year’s European Championships.

Germany

The German national team must be one of the unluckiest teams in the world of soccer. They always manage to reach either semi- finals or finals of major tournaments but somehow miss out on the top prize. They were finalists in the 2002 world cup, finalists in 2008 European Championships and semi-finalists in both the 2006 and 2010 World cups. Current manager Joachim Low has injected a unique brand of compact and possession football that has attracted the eyes of many. Few can dare bet against them in major tournaments and they will surely want to clinch their first European Championship this year since 1996.

Italy

Italy has always produced formidable sides and is well known around the world for their astute defending and counter attacking football. This style of play won them the 2006 World cup. Players such as Maldini, Cannavaro and Nesta and Buffon have been the rock of the Italian defense in the recent past and they have been completed with sharp shooting attackers such as Del Piero, Vieri, Baggio and Totti. With the up and coming star players such as Balotelli, Marchisio and Rossi in their ranks, the future of Italian football looks as bright as ever.

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How Yoga Can Supercharge Your Soccer Game?

If you want to boost performance at your next soccer game, it may be time to pull out your yoga mat. Although it may seem counterproductive to slow down and stretch to increase endurance and ability on the field, yoga can work wonders to support your athletic ability.

Yoga Benefits for Athletes

First and foremost, yoga focuses on total mind-body wellness. As a result, it can improve joint mobility and flexibility to greatly reduce the risk of injury on the field. And as your joints become more flexible and strong, it can increase power and agility on the soccer field. Additionally, it is well known for its ability to hone in focus and concentration through the use of deep breathing. With regular yoga practice, you can open your lungs more efficiently and breathe deeply, improving lung capacity as a result. Greater lung capacity brings increased endurance on the field, allowing you to play longer and stronger in your next game.

On top of that, many athletes are surprised to find that yoga is a serious workout when practiced properly. Although the it may seem simple and relaxing with deep breathing, chanting, and stretching, holding poses in challenging positions for a long period of time can leave you drenched in sweat at the end of a workout session.

Even if you already consider yourself to be in tiptop shape, make no mistake that yoga will challenge new muscles that you may not use in your regular workouts. As a result, you’ll complete a yoga session feeling relaxed and limber with residual soreness for several days afterward as evidence that you worked your body hard.

Yoga for Soccer Conditioning

Since soccer is a fast-paced sport that demands continuous agility on the field, yoga can be used to condition the body from head to toe, while improving overall flexibility.

A soccer player interested in practicing yoga to improve performance should focus on the following areas:

Improving flexibility in the quadriceps and hamstrings for improved running with quick direction changes.Supporting strong ankles to provide more range with on-field speed and agility.Strengthening leg muscles to keep knees safe as the foundation of speed.Opening hips to decrease pressure on the knees and prevent strained joints.Improving flexibility in the back to provide greater torque when shooting on the field.

When starting yoga for the first time, it’s recommended to work with a trained instructor. For the best results, these foundational yoga poses can be used up to three times per week to support everyday sports performance:

Seated forward bend, Lunge, twisted Triangle, pose Pigeon, poseLying, spinal twist Plank, pose with wrist support Seated ,cross leg and twist Frog pose

While many athletes may never consider yoga a foundational part of a soccer workout, adding variety to your regular training routine can improve performance noticeably on the field. Yoga is a proven fitness method to enhance agility, concentration, and stamina, while greatly reducing the risk of injury in an Austin Soccer game.

Soccer Basics Explained

Soccer, or Association Football as it’s properly called everywhere but the United States, is one of the most popular sports in the world for a good reason: it’s very easy to learn and play. There are two teams, two goals, and one round ball. The point of the game is to kick the ball between the opposing team’s goalposts. The rules are not complicated and this is why kids that are as young as four can understand and play the game, even thought there are some rules that are harder to understand, like the confusing offside’s rule.

Another big plus that soccer has over other sports is that you barely need any equipment to play the game. If you have a ball and two goals, which can be trees if you want, and shoes, then you can play the game. In some parts of the world where such equipment is not available, kids will make their own ball, play barefoot, and use rocks to mark off goals.

The first thing that kids learn when figuring out how to play soccer is that you can’t touch the ball with your hands. The great thing is you can use your feet, knees, chest, or head to control the ball. The only player on the soccer team allowed to touch the ball is the person who guards the goal, or the goalkeeper, but they can only use their hands inside the penalty box. The point of the game is to pass the ball down the field and get the ball past the goalkeeper into the goal without using your hands. Each goal is worth one point, no matter how or where it is scored from.

To be proficient at soccer, there are a number of skills you need to become good at to play the game well. These are detailed below:

Controlling the Ball

When someone passes the ball to you or you intercept a pass, you need to learn to control the ball so that you can either pass to another teammate, shoot the ball toward the goal, or move the ball forward on your own. Most of the time you should try to use the inside of your foot to bring the ball under control, but sometimes it is necessary to use other parts of your body depending on how high the ball is when it reaches you.

Passing the Ball

There are many different techniques when passing the ball to teammates. The most common way to kick the ball to someone is by using your instep. For longer passes, a full kick might be necessary using the part of your foot where the laces are.

Shooting on goal

When trying to get the ball in the goal you should use any and every part of the body allowed. when shooting the ball with your foot, usually you will want a lot of power behind the shot, which means utilizing a full kick rather than the inside of the foot.

Defensive Techniques

Another thing you need to work on is your defensive technique. This consists of a number of different skills, including taking the ball away from opponents, intercepting their passes, and tackling them. This last skill takes a lot of practice, because when tackling you need to be sure you are going for the ball only or you will get called for a penalty.

Running

Soccer is a game of running, unless you are the goalkeeper. Running while you have the ball is called dribbling, and this takes a lot of practice to master. The goal is to be able to run almost as fast with the ball as you can without. Running without the ball is equally important, which means you need to learn to be quick and hustle when you need to help out a teammate or track down the ball.

Soccer is a great sport that requires a lot of endurance, speed and strength. Games on a professional level have 90 minutes of game time, with a 15 minute break at halftime. When you are younger, playing times are shorter but still require a lot of running. Compared to other contact sports it is relatively safe, but there is nothing like the thrill of scoring a goal or stealing a pass, no matter what your age or skill level.

How to Talk to Your Child’s Coach?

In the ideal world, your child’s coach would actually approach you before any sort of problem had time to take root. He would explain in simple terms what the problem was, and what he proposed to do about it, which would be a wonderfully kind and reasonable solution, and you would agree with him, and everything would be terrific.

Earth to Mom! Hello out there, are you listening?! This is the real world. Many youth coaches view parents as obstacles to their coaching duties, speed bumps that need to just be driven over. They may listen to you, pretend that they care about your concerns, and then completely ignore the situation once you have walked away. Or they may react negatively to you as you are speaking, and respond either belligerently or condescendingly to your comments. No matter how they react, you do not really know how they are going to treat your questions or concerns, and you may walk away wondering why you even bothered speaking to the coach in the first place.

Effective communication between parents and coaches is possible, though, and should theoretically be as easy as talking to your child’s teacher. (OK, maybe that doesn’t go so well, either.) You should feel free to express opinions and share personal information about your child without fear or repercussions or reprisals.

Here are some tips to keep in mind, which may make the process smoother and less painful.

1. Before approaching the coach, talk the situation over with your child to be sure that you understand the complete context and your child’s feelings about the situation. Do not go into the conversation uninformed.

2. Depending on the age of your child, you should encourage him to talk to his coach himself. This may not be possible with very young children, but by the time your child reaches high school, he should be dealing with his own issues by himself. You can give pointers, such as addressing the issue of not getting enough playing time by asking, “What can I work on to improve my chances of getting more playing time?”

3. Wait for a pattern of behavior from the coach, not one isolated incident. Even coaches make mistakes. Give him the chance to work out issues without parental interference, and only step in if it appears to be something that he is not addressing to your satisfaction.

4. Before approaching the coach on behalf of your child, consider whether the issue is individualized to your child, or can apply to the entire team. You may better influence the coach’s behavior if you talk to other parents and approach him as a group.

5. Make sure your child is present, even if he does not talk. You can model good conflict-resolution behavior for him, and he will also be an eyewitness and not have to imagine how the conversation took place.

6. Choose the right time and place to discuss things with your child’s coach. Just before, during, or immediately after a game are not the right times. And in front of other parents and players is not the right place. If possible, arrange a neutral meeting time and place for your discussion.

7. Watch your tone of voice. Women have a tendency to get emotional, and then their voices tend to get higher-pitched and they often end their sentences as a question, on an up note. Be aware of this, and try to pitch your voice lower and avoid sounding as if every sentence is a question. You want to appear confident and self-possessed, not whiny and unsure.

8. Watch your body language. Stand or sit firmly but comfortably, and do not cross your arms over your chest. This tends to show that you are inflexible.

9. Be assertive and polite, not aggressive. Avoid pointing fingers and placing blame, and try to focus on behaviors and not personality traits.

10. Listen respectfully when the coach is speaking to you, don’t just be planning what you intend to say next. Of course, listening respectfully to him will be a lot easier if he is listening respectfully to you.

11. Be prepared to compromise. You may not get exactly what you want, but you should be able to get at least some of what you want.

12. Know when the battle is lost, when the opposing forces are dug in too deeply. Understand going in that you may not be able to influence the coach at all. If this is the case, then you may have to regroup and re-think how the issue is affecting your child, and what other alternative actions you may have to consider.

With a good coach, a discussion should be friendly and cooperative. With a bad coach, it may be more like a battle. You have to decide which battles are worth fighting, and which are better left alone.

5 Ways To Improve Football / Soccer Coaching Skills

So outlined below are 5 essential coaching skills that you should be incorporating into your training sessions and coaching routine.

1. You should always come up with new and unique football drills and training sessions that follow a structure but have changes in them every now and then to keep the relevant and exciting. Also by doing different football drills it allows the players to learn new moves, drills and gives them a more rounded training session which is critical for them at a young age. A good idea is to allow your players to wear the football shirt of the football team they support to train in. So for example a Real Madrid fan could wear their Real Madrid shirt or their Real Madrid kit for training.

2. When you allow the match in your football training session let them play and make note of the problems that certain players have and what they can work on. Try to refrain from interrupting play to much because it will ruin the match flow and will frustrate all the players. Instead wait till a break or to the end of the football match.

3. When you start your training session it is good to have a huddle round with your team and outline the training session plan so that they feel included in the process. Also it allows for everyone to know what to do next and what they will be working on. By keeping them included and listening to feedback from them on new drills can really show some trust and also you can see what drills they enjoy and what drills they don’t and the reason behind them.

4. When giving feedback to your players you need to make sure that you do this in a constructive way especially if the players are younger kids. This can be the difference between a good coach and a bad coach as many people can be totally oblivious to how they come across. If you come across badly with young people you will kill their self esteem and their desire to improve. So you really need to work on this point and perhaps gets some outside advice on how you come across and how best to say things.

5. As well as offering good constructive criticism you need to make sure that you praise good football when it occurs and also make sure you do not just praise the best players but also the average players. Many of the average players will develop into superb footballers when their confidence grows and this is done primarily through good coaching and praise.