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Soccer workouts may be the toughest PDF Print E-mail

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Redskin soccer players pass the weighted ball during practice Tuesday at the Liberal High School soccer complex. The drill was one of many the team performed in preparation for the upcoming season. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

One of the biggest tests to find out who really loves a sport is surviving the first few days of practices. No matter the sport, the conditioning and early season practices push athletes to reach a higher level of performance. alt

Every program has to customize the drills to push their athletes in unique ways in a search for the pinnacle, that magic place where the body is tested to its limits while building stamina, strength and even providing confidence for those who can survive the dreaded conditioning.

Many don’t. One of the strongest tests of an athlete is mental, telling your body to do something you may not believe it can achieve, or that you may not believe you can withstand. Only when we have been pushed beyond what we believe we can accomplish do we realize what our true potential can be.

Athletes learn this, and they take that same attitude into the workplace, or the classroom or other activities, and when they are challenged to accomplish a goal, they have the confidence in knowing they can be pushed beyond their own expectations, because they survived conditioning.

I participated in sports, I’ve been a youth sports coach, and I have covered practices and games for more than 20 years. I can safely so I have never seen anyone work harder or be pushed harder than the soccer team.

That’s not to say football or volleyball, cross country or tennis and all the other sports do not work hard. They absolutely do. I personally wouldn’t look forward to the rigors of a cross country practice.

But soccer has to prepare players to go 40 minutes per half with no time outs, no huddles, no breaks and only a short halftime before doing it again for 40 more minutes.

To prepare for that challenge, Liberal coach Lori Navarro creates athletes.

Tuesday’s practice was an example of why her program has consistently been at the top of Class 5A. By the time these guys get to play in a game, that might seem like recess compared to a practice.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the drills:

• Connect a flexible cord and run against the resistance, placing a cone beyond a designated goal before the power of the cord pulls you backward.

• Wear a weighted vest and place a cone at various distances while back-pedaling between each cone to the starting position.

• Leap over a bar, then crawl under the bar, leap over the bar again, run forward and perform five “burpies” which in include kneeling down, kicking your legs back, doing a push up, bringing your legs back up and standing up. That’s one.

• Weave through a series of poles, pick up a soccer ball, make a pass, then receive the pass back while heading the ball back, then run to midfield and back.

• Lay on the ground in a sit-up position, pass a weighted ball to a partner while sitting up, then receive the ball back and return to starting position.

There were other drills in the mix, and after the clock ran out, the players rotated to another station and started the process all over again.

It was a physical test like none I’ve seen, but these players didn’t sidestep what was expected of them. They plan on chasing a state title, and they will have to outwork every other team in Kansas to achieve that goal.

From what I saw Tuesday, and what happens every day during conditioning, it would be virtually a physical impossibility to believe any other team anywhere in Kansas could be working harder than the Liberal Redskins.

I believe these guys can accomplish anything.

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Liberal coach Lori Navarro oversees a drill during soccer practice Tuesday at the Liberal soccer complex. Navarro is the only coach of boys soccer in the history of the program, and she and her staff we building the endurance of her team with challenging drills that pushed the players physically.

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A Redskin soccer player jumps over a bar before crawling under it and then performing five “burpies” during practice Tuesday at the Liberal High School soccer complex. The drill was one of many that challenged Redskin soccer players physically. L&T photo/Earl Watt

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A Redskin soccer player weaves through poles before receiving a pass of a soccer ball and then running a short sprint as one of the many drills for the Liberal High School soccer team Tuesday at the Liberal High School soccer complex. L&T photo/Earl Watt

 

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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