SOCCER

STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR SOCCER

Most conventional training programs are based on the fact that if you practice soccer foot skills over and over that all other variables in the sport will be enhanced as well. While improving skills is critical, especially at younger ages, it is the improvement of the player’s athletic skills that will elevate the athlete to the next level.

Athletic skills include strength, speed, power, endurance, agility, balance, and quickness. Conditioning is a great equalizer. It could make the difference as to whether you start or sit, or whether you can advance to the next level.  When one looks at the various athletic qualities, more often than not strength is at the core. Strength is the ability to exert force at a given speed. Let’s take a look at speed, power, and agility.

Power  is the product of force, therefore strength, and velocity. This quality is needed both at the plate and on the mound. Power is the ability to exert strength in a given time frame. A good example is a vertical jump. It takes about .2 seconds for most athletes to go from flexion to extension at the knee before leaping. Why do some athletes that weigh the same amount and extend their knees in the same time frame jump higher than others? They can express more force via strength and motor recruitment in this time frame. Speaking of vertical leap, we can improve it here. A program utilizing methods to minimize power loss through the torso will be used in conjunction with plyometrics. The key is stabilizing the pelvis, hip abductors, adductors, and external rotators. We also need to analyze your jump for proper knee tracking and to prevent what Chicago Bulls strength coach Al Vermeil calls back jumping. The low back is comprised predominantly of slow twitch fibers and will not get you vertical fast enough. Important to get those headed balls. Glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps should be used to provide power for jumping. Agility is the body’s ability to change direction while maintaining speed. Power, and therefore strength is at the root of agility. Key areas are the legs, hips, abdominals, and low back.

5 things we’ve noticed over the last 20 years working with soccer athletes.

The total program is affected by and should be planned in accordance with at what point of the season the athlete is in. Generally speaking, the program moves from very generalized in the off season to more specific as the season approaches. Initially strength gains and muscle mass, if needed, are emphasized. As the season approaches, more emphasis is placed on translating these gains to sport specific speed and power. The younger the athlete, the more skills training should be at the forefront. Provisions should be made in programs to blend skills and conditioning accordingly.

SFAS SOUTH

PLEASANT HILLS FACILITY

5000 square feet.
2500 square feet of turf with a mini basketball court.
2500 square feet dedicated to
strength and power.

Hosmer Supply Industrial Park
347A Old Curry Hollow Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
412-653-7970

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