Fit 2 Finish: Keeping Your Soccer Players in the Game

Fit 2 Finish: Keeping Your Soccer Players in the Game

by Wendy LeBolt PhD

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The number of kids who love to play soccer has exploded in the last decade. Unfortunately, so has the number of sports injuries. Why? More games, more competitions, and early specialization have all contributed, but so have our methods of training them. High pressure to perform along with an increased volume and intensity of training has combined to hamper young soccer athletes. They favor one side, overuse one muscle group, and do it over and over again. This is a recipe for injury.

In Fit 2 Finish, Dr. LeBolt takes a sport scientist's eye to the training of our soccer-loving kids. She distills the gems of two decades of coaching and injury prevention training to display the methods that have worked to make her athletes safer, healthier and more effective, all while never losing the fun. Coaches at all levels can apply the Fit2Finish principles to every facet of their coaching: warm up, skills and drills, game play, post game routines, recovery, rest and preparing for the next game. Fit 2 Finish is the training manual and the game plan for the coach who's first objective is to keep kids healthy and in the game.

Yes, we must address the 'too much, too early' in today's youth sports, but while we go about changing the culture, the kids who are currently in it need saving. Today's coaches can start now by taking the Fit2Finish method straight to their practice field. If strong, balanced, healthy, high-performing athletes are what we're after, then Fit 2 Finish will get us there.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630472153
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 08/15/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 10 - 11 Years

About the Author

Wendy Rilling LeBolt brings 23 years of soccer parenting, 15 years of soccer coaching, advanced degrees in exercise physiology and 10 years of college teaching in exercise and sport science. All of this is layered over a lifetime of sports and fitness. This is why she founded Fit2Finish, LLC in 2001 and where, for nearly a decade and a half, she has trained thousands of young athletes and teams in the Washington, DC metro area and mid-Atlantic region. Wendy has published hundreds of articles and columns for online newsletters, magazines and news media on topics related to health, wellness, fitness and sports performance. She writes weekly for, maintains a blog at and posts regularly to her inspirational blog: The Kinesthetic Christian, found here:

Read an Excerpt

Sports are still good for our kids. Or they can be. But unfortunately there is no going back to the old days. Sports done well offer physical, mental,
psychological and emotional benefits to our kids in a real-life, low-risk, right-sized setting. So, if it's so good for them, how come they are getting hurt? Dropping out? Or stuck on the sidelines?

Risks come with taking the field. This has always been true. But I believe the benefits far outweigh the risks. They did for me. I now see how formative my youth sports experiences were. The playing field is where I tried on life to see what fit and what didn't. The value of sport is way too important for our kids to lose/miss.

I want them to play, and play healthy, but how? I waded into the environment of youth sports today with a divining rod and asked:

  • Why are so many kids getting injured?
  • Why are so many kids dropping out?
  • How can we get and keep all the kids playing?

· What can we do to keep the kids playing who want to play hard?

· How can we prepare kids for what the game today asks of them?

This handbook is the result of asking those questions. The examples I use are from my experience working with soccer athletes of all ages and at a variety of playing levels. They come from the ranks of rec leagues, club teams, elite teams and college play. The need for a foundation of healthy fitness is the same for each because their bodies are what's in play and at stake.

I do not set out here to right the culture of youth sports. Many voices are speaking on that subject and participating in that conversation (reading list resources) with a lot of energy. I am, rather, on a rescue mission. We must address the "too much, too early, at too high a price." While we go about changing the culture, the kids who are currently in it need saving. And so do those who will come after them.

We need to do the following:

  • Prepare kids physically for the appropriate level of play

· Balance the demands on kids to allow their bodies to strengthen and grow

· Do this within the time kids have apportioned in their often over-committed days

And by the way, I refuse to lose the fun. Why? Because without the fun, they won't want to do it, and they certainly won't keep doing it. And that's my ultimate goal as a fitness professional, trainer and as a coach, but especially as a parent: to help kids develop bodies they will use well their whole lives, not just because it's good for them but because they want to. Our bodies were loaned to us for just one lifetime; we need to treat them that way.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Fit for the Game

Do today's kids need more than just play to be fit for the game?

1. Kids and Fitness: How we can prepare them

Soccer's physical demands: the fitness kids need for healthy sport performance

2. Sports Anatomy and Physiology: what makes the body work

Movement starts with the basics: structure and function in the young growing body

3. Fitness Prescription for Sports: meeting the demands

How to structure a fitness plan with proper progression for your athletes

4. Fitting in Fitness: without sacrificing the practice plan

How to build fitness training into sport-specific drills, skills and games

5. Flexibility, Stretching and Recovery

Proper techniques and sound principles for flexibility training and maximizing recovery

6. Fueling the Athlete for Performance

Healthy nutrition for athletes' demanding schedules, plus special dietary considerations

7. Benched: Keeping your athletes in the game

Recognition and prevention of common injuries and managing healthy return to play

Conclusion: Fit for the final whistle

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