Soon, kids as all over Ireland will be preparing for the next Kennedy Cup. In order to assist players with their physical preparations, Evolutis runs a Sports Performance Program that is specifically designed to help youth soccer players that are planning to participate in the Kennedy Cup.
Since the Kennedy Cup’s introduction in 1976, the Dublin and District Schoolboy League (DDSL) has by far been the most dominant team to enter. They took the title this year in 2017 as well as 2016. In 2015, their 3-year streak from 2012 to 2014 was broken by Kerry Schoolboys/Girls League. All things considered, most people would expect the DDSL to win the Kennedy Cup, but that doesn’t mean other leagues don’t have a chance.
If you are the parent or coach of a child taking part in the Kennedy Cup, it's really important to understand the challenges kids face due to the highly competitive nature of the competition and high turnover of games. The fact is that they’re going to damage their muscles due to overuse and strain, they’re going to feel dehydrated, muscle glycogen is going to be depleted and they will also going to be mentally fatigued during the matches.
If you are reading this and your son or team is going to be part of the Kennedy Cup then it’s best to get prepared for it.
In this article, I’ll be going through 4 survival tips that will drastically change how your child performs in the Kennedy Cup.
1. REPAIR : Muscle Damage
Muscles are obviously going to be damaged during heavy sessions of football. Whether it’s training as a team or practising at home, your child is going to stress out their muscles just to keep their skills on form. To help facilitate muscle repair, it’s important to eat or drink sources of protein after a training session or a match. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to fully repair your child’s muscles so they can be ready to play again for their next Kennedy Cup game.
Keep in mind that if children are pushed to the extreme, it could cause long-lasting muscle injuries or pain that could ruin their chances of playing in the Kennedy Cup or performing at a high level in the future. As a result, make sure you don’t encourage them to train too much and explain to them the importance of repairing their muscles after a stressful game.
2. RE-HYDRATE : Dehydration
It’s important for kids to keep hydrated throughout the games and training because they’re going to need it. Your child can drink more than just water as well. They could drink sport drinks that help to replenish nutrients and they can also mix in some fruit juices. However, its probably best to try to avoid anything with heavy amounts of sugar so that it doesn’t cause your child to suffer an energy crash during an important game. Remember not to drink too much at once. Teach them to take regular sips from a bottle instead.
3. REPLENISH : Glycogen Depletion
Glycogen can be compared to a battery. It depletes during intense physical activity (such as playing sports) and it’s replenished with carbohydrates. This is why you’ll see professional athletes eating lots of pasta and rice—because it helps them replenish their supply of glycogen to enable them to perform better during a match.
Make sure your child eats plenty of protein and carbs so that their energy can be ready in time for when their next big game comes around. Watch the nutrients they are eating and try to cut out “bad” carbs such as sugar and replace them with carbs from oatmeal, pasta and other grains.
4. RELAX : Mental Fatigue
Lastly, we can’t forget about the effects of mental fatigue. If your child has just suffered a loss or is feeling nervous, then change the topic of conversation and give them something else to think or speak about. Try to disrupt their thought processes and take the attention away from the Kennedy Cup because it can induce a lot of stress.
Important decisions need to be made during a match so it’s important to give your child some time to unwind and unplug. Sleeping is also an important part of relaxing your body so that your child is mentally prepared for tomorrow.
If you feel like your child still isn’t ready to participate in the Kennedy Cup and survive in one piece, then feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to offer advice and tips.
David Knowles is the owner, lead Coach & trainer, Dad x 5 & wannabe singer songwriter!