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Maintaining Strength Throughout the Long Season
Chris Boniol
Article posted on 11/4/2003

November is the time of year when legs start to get tired. Kickers have been at it nearly every day since early August. "Dead leg" starts to set in. How can you prevent it? Or, keep it from getting worse?

Keep in mind that now your diet, sleep habits, and number of reps become even more important than they were six months ago. Pay attention to the following tips:

  • Drink lots of water, lay off the sodas. Caffeine can dehydrate you. Water can clean your system by ridding your body of impurities.

  • Take in a limited amount of fried foods and foods high in sugar. They can make you feel sluggish. Try to keep a balanced diet of proteins (meats) and carbohydrates (pastas, potatoes, etc). Steamed or grilled vegetables are always good for you as well.

  • SLEEP is one of the most important things that athletes need. Late in the season you become physically and mentally fatigued. Be careful of bedtimes, etc. It is crucial to get 8 hours of sleep each night. A late night with less than 6 hours of sleep takes two nights to fully recover from.

  • Endurance is built during the off-season, but it should be conserved later in the season. There were some days in November that I would kick only the amount required to warm up and kick in team drills. After that, I stayed of my feet and watched practice. I don't recommend doing this everyday because you have to practice, just the days when you are feeling pain and/or the ball is not jumping off the foot as good as usual. By kicking too much when you should be conserving, you could be doing more harm than good. (Disclaimer: sometimes you may have to kick through some fatigue to work through a slump or to improve in weak areas of your kicking).

The best kickers in the league are the ones that work hard on the field, in the weight room, AND when they go home. They are very disciplined in their routines and work habits. Their routines consist of keeping a regularly healthy diet, drinking high volumes of water, and going to bed at a decent hour. Their livelihood depends on all these things. Even as young kickers, you should make an extreme commitment to a quality routine that consists of productive habits.

Good Luck the rest of this season.

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