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Kicking Fit

A health and fitness blog for soccer with many resident and guest contributors. We'll share links from readers as well. Come kick with us.

Coaching to Win: Here’s how to do it at practice, even all winter long

Now that the fall season is complete and winter weather is descending, it’s finally time for a holiday break, a time to recover and re-assess. After all, too much of anything, even a good thing, is not good for us. And if it’s not going well, it can be really, really bad for us. If you could make a wish, maybe ask Santa Claus, for a few things for your team this year, what would they be?

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By | December 16, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

DC SCORES Poetry Slam puts “soccer problems” in perspective

Dr. Wendy LeBolt picked up some valuable perspective when she she visited DC SCORES’ Poetry Slam, where low-income D.C. youth use soccer’s lessons to express themselves — and improve their lives.

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By | December 9, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

LeBolt: Are national team players born or made?

The NSCAA are studying the characteristics, traits, experiences and developmental pathways of U.S. Women’s National Team players in search of methods that can improve U.S. soccer player development. So reports an article published in the November/December 2014 issue of the Soccer Journal. Dr. Wendy LeBolt investigates.

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By | December 2, 2014 | 5 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kristin Schnurr: A minor setback for a major comeback

Are players being lured away from their “home” teams to play for higher profile teams in hopes of increasing exposure and securing a slot on a top college roster? Is it a matter of shallow loyalty and get-the-next-best-thing thinking? Or do the top tier teams offer coaching and support and a style of play that naturally attracts the best talent? One player who made a last-minute team-change decision has me rethinking these questions.

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By | November 25, 2014 | 21 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Players exposed on Twitter may find college coaches passing them by

What harm could a few tweets do? It doesn’t take long on Twitter (or any social media these days) to find out. Dr. Wendy LeBolt takes an eye-opening look at the growing tendency of college recruiters to investigate young players’ social media presences for insights into their character and judgment.

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By | November 11, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

George Mason’s Brenna Connell plays with a disability that is anything but disabling

The first time I saw Brenna Connell, she was sticking her head in the doorway of George Mason University head women’s soccer coach Diane Drake’s office. There was something different about this young lady, and it was more than a bit of extra dedication. I’ll admit, I did a double take and probably a triple take, trying to figure out what it was.

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By | November 5, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

Synthetic turf cancer risk tiny compared to more sedentary lifestyle alternative

With near panic setting in around the issue of synthetic turf’s potential role in cancer reports following a major report by NBC News, our Dr. Wendy LeBolt digs in deeper with some great points about how much real science is still needed.

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By | October 28, 2014 | 7 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

Women’s World Cup TurfGate: FIFA, listen up!

What if Canada threw a World Cup and no one showed up? That might be what’s needed to get FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to give serious consideration to the lawsuit brought against them by Abby Wambach and dozens of other professional women’s soccer players alleging gender discrimination in the decision to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf. Do these pros have a point?

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By | October 21, 2014 | 4 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

Virginia State Cup: VYS Strikers U-17 girls make for unlikely semifinalists

When you’re ranked 22nd, you’re not supposed to knock off the No. 11 ranked team, then the No. 6 seed, then the No. 3 seed. But no one told the Vienna Youth Soccer (VYS) Strikers Red, who have managed to do just that on their run to the Final Four in the Under-17 Girls bracket of Virginia State Cup competition.

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By | October 14, 2014 | 4 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Heading Arms Race: Is unilateral disarmament the answer?

“Someone has to be first; someone has to lead the way. Let’s just adopt a club policy: No heading and no teaching heading, until they are 14 years old.” This was the proposal the coach brought to the parents and it was roundly defeated. Hemming and hawing, the parents said, “We don’t want to be […]

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By | October 7, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

Dr. Wendy LeBolt: Dangerous headers are just stupid

Everyone in youth soccer — parents, players and coaches alike — is fearful of the risk of head injuries. But are we equipping our kids with the skills to gauge and avoid dangerous heading situations on the field of play? Dr. Wendy LeBolt delves into this important topic, where our players need proper technique and sound judgment to head off serious risks.

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By | September 30, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

HopeSoloGate: Why is U.S. Soccer not acting?

Shouldn’t Hope Solo be suspended like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson? After being arrested on domestic assault charges in June, Solo continued to play for her NWSL team, the Seattle Reign, and also for the U.S. Women’s National Team in two friendlies. Dr. Wendy LeBolt digs into the question of whether Solo’s situation is the same as the ones facing NFL stars like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

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By | September 22, 2014 | 14 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

LeBolt: Julie Foudy offers an alternative for our childrens’ soccer development

What if the best way to get your kid on the U.S. National Team was to not attend their games? Or allow them to quit soccer for a season or two on a whim? Both of these techniques worked for Julie Foudy, notes Dr. Wendy LeBolt — might they work for modern youth players as well?

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By | September 19, 2014 | 5 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

Effort Injuries are Taking Kids Out: is “positive” parenting to blame?

The 16 year old slams down next to me on the bleachers. She’s sporting a knee sleeve on her right leg, the one that still bears the scars from the ACL repair she had 9 months ago. Now that knee is poking through the sleeve, and it is purple and obviously swollen. “I got clobbered,” she tells me, “by my own goalie.”

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By | September 12, 2014 | 15 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

Injury prevention made easy: Have your players self-monitor their training readiness

All coaches would like to have more days that click because that’s what will help them toward peak performance, but we are leery of pushing past the peak. Overtraining leads to fatigue and fatigue, poorly managed, likely leads to injury. How can we fine-tune our training? Dr. Wendy LeBolt has some highly useful tips for coaches.

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By | August 26, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

When should your soccer kid ‘play up’? A conversation with youth national teamer Frankie Tagliaferri

“Playing up,” the common phrase for moving talented players into older age groups, is one of the most influential topics in youth soccer at the moment. This week SoccerWire’s Dr. Wendy LeBolt delves into the issue to take a look at the age-old roots of “playing up,” and talks to one talented young player who is using the practice to fuel her U.S. Women’s National Team dreams.

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By | July 28, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

LeBolt: The feeble, sickening art of flopping is getting out of hand

If you don’t know how to dive “properly” there are blogs and websites that will teach you proper diving technique. Frankly, this sickens me, but you can find help to learn how to do anything on the internet these days. Your choice. It’s a free country.

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By | July 24, 2014 | 16 Comments | Tags: , , ,

LeBolt: For America to win a World Cup, we have to do the one thing we can’t bear

The problem: we don’t handle losing well. The solution: we need to let our kids lose. As hard as it is, we must let them fail, without excuses and without shifting blame.

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By | July 8, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

LeBolt: Open letter to Ann Coulter

As I have never met Ms Coulter, I thought I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and presume ignorance. But ignorance gone to seed is a very dangerous thing. I thought she might need some clarification and enlightement, so I wrote her a letter.

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By | July 1, 2014 | 6 Comments | Tags: , ,

World Cup Competition: The best and worst we can be

How can competition bring out the absolute worst in some and the best in others? One head butts for a red card. The other heads it in for a winner. One crumples untouched to draw the foul. The other stands his ground in spite of the mugging. One bites and… What’s going on?

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By | June 26, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

LeBolt: Hope Solo needs us to try and understand

Hope Solo’s arrest, especially coming as the world is at fever pitch over the Men’s World Cup, has unearthed a landslide of publicity about Solo’s checkered, and very public, history.

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By | June 25, 2014 | 6 Comments | Tags: , , ,

LeBolt: Top 10 reasons for World Cup injury attrition

This World Cup is seeing a soaring tally of players who are out, unavailable or questionable to return to action. Who or what is to blame?

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By | June 23, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,

LeBolt: We have a broken system when it comes to dealing with head injuries

Here we go again. In the 60th minute of Uruguay vs England, attacking midfield Raheem Sterling’s knee collides with defender, Alvaro Pereira’s head. We watch it in slo-mo so we can see the moment of impact, the snap back of the head, the crumpling of the player. Oh, we do love drama, don’t we? But what comes next is just too familiar.

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By | June 20, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

LeBolt: Jozy Altidore injury not promising for a quick return

When you crumple in agony in the 21st minute of your first World Cup game, it’s not good. “I was sprinting and I felt something,” Jozy Altidore says. “We’ll see what happens. I’m praying for the best.”

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By | June 18, 2014 | 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,

It will take a lot more than fitness for the USMNT to win the World Cup

Dr. Wendy LeBolt says while Team USA traditionally dominates the world in fitness that can be measured in straight lines and stats, it’s fitness with a purpose that is necessary to win a World Cup.

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By | June 17, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags: ,