Soccer tournaments present an intense yet enjoyable forum for competitive play. Teams sign up for these events to put their skills to the test, battling through their fixtures in the hopes of making a run deep into the tournament. Regardless of what happens on the field, coaches and managers need to come prepared if they hope to achieve a successful tournament experience for their players. To that end, several key items should be included on any soccer tournament packing checklist.
Rosters and Age Certification
Coaches must assemble the proper documents prior to signing their team up for a tournament. Most tournament committees require the submission of a complete roster before the start of the tournament. Additionally, youth players will commonly have to verify their age to prove that they are eligible to compete in a given age bracket. As such, coaches will need to obtain copies of birth certificates or other acceptable documentation as specified by the directors of the tournament.
Packing all the necessary soccer equipment for a tournament is crucial. Team managers should bring plenty of soccer balls and cones along with a couple of ball pumps. OnThePitch.org also recommends packing extra sets of uniforms, socks, shin-guards and cleats just in case some of the players forget a piece of equipment.
Soccer is a contact sport, and players are bound to get a few bumps and bruises over the course of a tournament. Most tournament committees provide some sort of medical staff to oversee any major injuries that may take place. Still, it's a good idea to pack a kit of first-aid supplies for smaller health issues. Bandages and disinfectant spray provide quick fixes for cuts and scrapes, while athletic tape and sheer gauze offer a simple solution to minor sprains. Ice packs and sunscreen also rank as essential supplies.
Nutrition is another key element to athletic performance. Coaches should bring a large cooler with ice to store drinks and ice packs for the team. Managers will also have to plan for meals and snacks. Some tournaments feature dining hall facilities, while others may require teams to bring their own food. Either way, Springfield MO Soccer recommends that players consume a carbohydrate-rich meal two to three hours before each game. Carbohydrate and electrolyte boosts at halftime can also help. Consider bringing snacks such as orange slices or gummy bears as light and effective sources of glycogen, the fuel that powers the body during periods of intense physical activity. Don't forget the post-game snack either. Springfield MO Soccer suggests eating a mix of carbohydrates and proteins within 30 to 60 minutes after each game to replenish the body and speed rejuvenation for the next match.
As in any sport, hydration is also a key factor. Make sure players have access to water and other sports drinks like Gatorade at all times. Dehydration inhibits performance and poses serious health risks, so players should be encouraged to drink plenty of liquids during the tournament to keep fit.
- Photo Credit youth soccer 2007-001 image by John R. Amelia from Fotolia.com
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