Is All This Structured Soccer Training Really Necessary?
In short, yes.
Getting ready for the sports season is only one benefit of a sports training program. With the gradual elimination of many physical education programs in schools, organized sports training is often the only outlet for physical growth that is available to our youth today.
In addition to the sports-specific qualities of a program, studies have shown that proper sports preparation can improve performance in several ways, such as:
- Improved muscular strength
- Improved coordination
- Improved cardio-vascular conditioning
- Improved recovery
- Improved functional range of motion and flexibility…
- Decreased likelihood of injury
A well-designed sports training program helps growing athletes improve coordination. As an athlete changes and grows, his or her nervous system must adapt to these rapid changes.
Sports training plays a key role in accelerating this process.
A stronger athlete is less likely to become injured.
A tired athlete is far more likely to get injured.
What Does A Properly Designed Soccer Training Session Look Like?
The first thing to understand is that the layout of a proper sports training session is never random.
There are very distinct sections; each having a scientifically proven purpose.
Here’s what you can expect from one of our sessions…
- A complete dynamic warm-up.
A proper warm-up is a signal to your body that it’s time to be active.
The warm-up includes the following functions:
- Increase blood flow to the muscles
- Elevate core body temperature
- Increase the range of motion for the muscles
- Activate the nervous system
- Increase heart rate and breathing rates
All of these things combined to get you ready for action.
Unfortunately, a proper warm-up is often blown off or watered down by even the most experienced athletes. This is a major mistake in many poorly thought out training routines.
Never ignore a proper warm-up. It can mean the difference between ongoing success and an unnecessary injury.
Immediately after the warm-up, athletes move on to that day’s skill. We do this at the beginning of the workout because the body is fresh and the nervous system is not yet fatigued from lifting weights or conditioning.
Typically activities here would include sprint technique drills or plyometric (jumping) work.
As we mentioned, jumping work has a higher priority in soccer than in most other sports.
For soccer, this section of the workout is often central to steady progress.
The skills section is a natural introduction to power work, like Olympic lifting or some type of advanced power training, usually with weights.
Again, this is done early in the session because the demands on the nervous system are high.
Jumping ability, as well as sprinting speed, can be tied directly to a well-designed Olympic lifting program.
This section doesn’t mean “core” as in abdominals. We’re talking about the basic strength moves every athlete should be doing.
This includes exercises such as bench pressing, squatting, back work, etc.
How do we determine which exercises are most beneficial to a specific athlete?
Here are the factors we look at:
- Athlete Age
- Athlete training experience
- Physical maturity level
- Sport proficiency
- Testing results and goals
- Injury history
- Length of the training program
Yes, that’s a good bit of information every sports preparation coach MUST know about the athletes they are working with…
That’s what we mean when we say that no sports training program is random!
This section of the training session would focus on injury prevention specific to a given sport. In soccer, especially for females, ACL injuries are the most common and the most significant.
But there is good news…
Studies show that it’s possible to reduce the occurrence of ACL injuries by up to 70%!
Those are career-saving numbers.
Our experience strengthening and rehabbing ACL’s is unprecedented.
Here are some examples of movements we would include to minimize ACL sprains and tears:
- Proper jump landing drills
- Terminal Knee Extensions (TKE’s)
- Deceleration drills
- Hamstring strengthening movements
NOTE: This is down to offset the inherent weakness in female hamstrings to often leads to ACL tears during non-contact cuts and stops.
- Sport-Specific Conditioning
You’d be surprised how many mistakes happen here.
NOTE: If a sports preparation program places conditioning at the beginning of the program, you know that the facility has not been keeping up with the science.
Fatiguing the muscles by doing conditioning immediately, before you ask them to perform highly technical power work, is an injury waiting to happen.
Conditioning should always be at the end of the session. Period.
The other consideration is the requirement of the sport…in this case, soccer.
Soccer is unique in that it requires both maximal bursts of speed and long-slow endurance work. Few sports mix these two ends of the conditioning spectrum, unlike soccer.
Our trainers would therefore blend the following into a soccer conditioning routine:
- 20-40 yard dash speed
- Rapid change of direction (COD)
- Deceleration skills
- VO2 Max work (aerobic capacity)
Additionally, the athlete needs to be able to repeat these high-speed bursts over and over.
This is called “work capacity”, and is the primary goal of any conditioning routine.
As you can see, a lot goes into the design of the right soccer program.
“Cookie-cutter” programs will never work.
Your athlete is unique, and the sports training program needs to match that.
- Flexibility and Cool-down
Finally, we end the session with targeted flexibility work and cool down.
This is when you send your body the signal that it’s time to relax and start the recovery process.
Making sure the shoulders have an ideal range of motion and maintaining that subtle power is crucial.
It also a time to slow the breathing, heart rate, and respiration.
So How Can You Take Your Soccer Preparation To The Next Level This Year?
We’d love to help you prepare for the coming season properly.
Our expert training staff is here to answer any questions you may have…
This Type Of Specificity Requires Up To Limit The Size Of Our Groups. Therefore, Space Is At A Premium…
We don’t have to tell you that the off-season is when champions are built.
Isn’t it time for you to see what you’re truly capable of doing?
Don’t let another season slip by, or risk falling behind…
If you live in the Fort Myers area, Back In Motion Fitness and Performance’s sports training program is your soccer preparation solution!
We strongly recommend you call us today to schedule a full evaluation.
You can reach one of our Sports Performance Training Experts by calling 888-430-2016
We’ll work with you to pinpoint your trouble spots, design a program to get you in peak condition and elevate your level of play.
Here’s our number again: 888-430-2016