The D2BB Soccer Practice Exercise Program for Parents
by Marshall Brain
I have four children, and soccer season started today. The kids had their first soccer practice. A hundred kids were out on the practice field for an hour and 15 minutes, which meant that approximately a hundred parents have an hour and fifteen minutes to kill. What do parents do with that time?
The purpose of this article is to suggest a third use for that time: exercise, in the form of walking. Soccer practice (and this would go for baseball and football practice as well) can be a chance to take a three mile walk.
- Some parents drop off their kids and then leave to run errands. In the soccer leagues I have been associated with, this practice is generally discouraged.
- The majority of the parents bring a folding chair and sit. They might watch their kids, read a book or type on a laptop.
Here are two of the fields in Raleigh where my kids have practiced:
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View Larger Map
In the first case, there is actually a paved walking trail around the field. Walking around that trail one time is a third of a mile. Three laps is a mile, six laps is two miles and nine laps is three miles. In the second case it is a single full-size soccer field. You can walk around the edge of the field on the grass. That is about a quarter of a mile - twelve laps is three miles.
The advantage of walking around the field during the practice is that I am still right there and able to keep an eye on my kids during the practice in case anything goes wrong. And I am making good use of the time instead of sitting idly. Sometimes I walk alone. Sometimes Leigh comes with me and we walk together. The weather is guaranteed to be nice - if it is raining, they cancel practice.
I enjoy walking like this. It is part of my personal weight-loss and fitness program (the Dukan diet and many other dieting and fitness regimes recommend walking at least 30 minutes every day). It is also a chance to do some thinking or talk with my wife.
I have even discussed this idea with other parents to invite them along. Many of them say that they never considered using the time at practice to exercise rather than to sit, and they really enjoy the exercise. They feel better after the walk. Taking a walk around the soccer field during practice is a great way to make good use of that time.
If you would like to spread this idea to other parents, here is a flyer that you can print and hand out. Print the image, cut it up and hand them out.