A sharp crack as the ball is launched, and it’s decision time.
Play the header forward to a teammate or cradle with the chest and control the ball.
Whatever the mind decides, the only way to win the game is if the body follows suit.
An accessible sport that’s as mentally challenging as it it physically demanding, soccer teaches young athletes about teamwork, sportsmanship and competition.
The elite players playing soccer in the lower mainland, however, are taking their sport to the next level. Training for youth-league soccer is gaining popularity because players and their families are looking for a way to A) get a leg up on the competition and B) improve physics fitness at a young age.
Here are the ten building blocks of effective summer soccer training.
Warming up connective tissues properly prior to exertion is crucial for soccer players of all ages. Movement prep also develops proper sprinting techniques through correct use of legs, arms and vision.
Exercises: hand walk, or achilles stretch, leg cradle
Specific focus on the areas a soccer players exerts most often. This is where potential joint issues are exposed, treated and strengthened.
Exercises: wall sits, lunges, medicine ball overhead squats
Building strength in the midsection gives the entire body an advantage. The greater the increase in core strength, the greater the range and power in the arms and legs. Everything is connected to middle of the body, so improving the power in the core allows the limbs to reach out and execute game-specific skills more efficiently.
Exercises: front and lateral plank, medicine ball squats, stability ball pushups
Youth league, adult or professional soccer players aren’t getting very far on the field without advanced agility training. Agility helps players attack opponents, track loose balls and perform dynamic foot movements.
Exercises: shuffles, standing crossovers, falling starts
Tracking the ball in the air while performing dynamic foot movement while paying attention to teammates and opponents requires plenty of coordination.
Exercises: running starts, agility ladder acceleration, foot hurdles
Stabilizing strength in specific muscles through static positions creates a base of strength to build from.
Exercises: balance boards, stability ball routines, one & two-legged squats
More explosive players win races to the ball, execute shots and passes better and react quicker to on-field situations.
Exercises: sprints to the ball, hurdle hops, lateral and linear agility ladder work.
“ One of my favourite exercises uses headers and sprints. The athlete will head-bump a ball in one location and then have to react to a new ball tossed in a different location. This builds explosiveness, coordination and agility all in one simple and fun exercise.”
- Romeo Gerhardt, ISIS Fitness Instructor & Soccer Camp Coordinator
A combination of agility, coordination, stability & balance and explosiveness, quick response & reaction introduces game-like progression of movement.
Exercises: split squat jumps, rapid response base rotations
Before a skill can be performed quickly (in a game), it must be performed slowly and properly. Perception exercises train the upper body and lower body to function independently of one another.
Exercises: two inch quick feet (arms move slow, feet move fast), double control (controlling the ball with chest and while running)
Proper recovery is healthy for the body as well as the mind. Regeneration is a natural cool-down and a chance for the body’s internal systems to return to an average operating state. In short: if you worked hard enough, you owe it to your body to cool down properly.
Exercises: aerobic flush such as a stationary bike on an intensity low enough to talk, foam roll self massage, static stretching
Soccer is a sport that doesn’t need much in terms of equipment, playing conditions or highly-specialized skills (like shooting a puck or swinging a racquet. Just a soccer player and a soccer ball. So, if the body and mind is all a soccer player has, it stands to reason that running every internal system we have at optimal levels gives us the best chance to succeed on the field.
Create lifelong habits, build respect for the body and train the mind this summer.
Romeo Gerhardt is coaching this summer’s youth soccer training camps. Interested in summer soccer training?
CTA: Email Romeo now ->
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