Soccer Specific Strength and Conditioning
Soccer is widely accepted as one of the most popular sports in the world, with a growing number of soccer enthusiasts and players worldwide.
Despite this fact, strength and conditioning programs for soccer are often neglected or outdated. Except at the professional level, many athletes and coaches still focus only on skill development and endurance training (i.e.-running), and ignore the other important elements of fitness such as:
- Flexibility, warming up and cooling down
- Agility training
- Strength and strength endurance training
- Speed and power
Athletes of other popular sports such as hockey or American football typically understand the importance of a complementary strength and conditioning program (especially off-season) to improve their performance, but it seems that some soccer players don’t believe that elements such as strength or power development are necessary for their sport. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
At Erie Premier Sports, we recognize and understand the different components of fitness involved in this sport, and we created a high performance training program with the athletes in mind (F.A.S.S. program). Small group training allows our instructor and athletes to work together successfully. Sessions are 45 minutes long but very intensive. Aspects that our program will cover are listed below.
Flexibility in Soccer
An important aspect of fitness to discuss is flexibility. Maintaining a healthy range of motion can be beneficial, however, few people understand the most effective methods of stretching or when to use them. Many athletes still do passive stretching before their workout or practice, when actually this can diminish performance and increase risk of injury!
The safest and most productive way to integrate flexibility training into your routine, is to do a dynamic warm-up (walking lunges, bodyweight squats, high knees, butt kicks, arm circles, etc.) before a workout, practice or game, and then spend some time stretching at the end.
Speed & Agility in Soccer
Another significant component of a soccer fitness program is speed and agility training. The speed of play in today’s game is quicker than ever. While endurance and strength are very important to improving your performance, faster players have a definite competitive edge. You may have better endurance than the next guy, but if he makes it to the ball first it won’t matter that you can run marathons!
Power is the combination of strength and speed. A more powerful player is a more formidable player. To improve your speed and explosiveness you should include power movements in your program, such as jump squats, high pulls, power cleans, and push presses, as well as plyometric drills .
Because it is important to have speed endurance, I recommend incorporating these exercises into a circuit training program with high intensity intervals. A typical workout would alternate between power movements for lower body and upper body, with plyometric exercises as intervals. You can conclude your training session with sprint drills and agility work (such as the ‘ladder drill’).
Endurance in Soccer
A soccer fitness program should be built around developing a good aerobic base. Several studies into the physiological demands of soccer have shown that outfield players can travel up to 6-8 miles during a 60/80 minute game.This places a significant demand on the athlete’s cardiovascular system and muscular endurance. Having said that, I believe this is one aspect of training that is already over-emphasized in this sport.
It’s not uncommon to hear of soccer players running for at least an hour at a time several days per week in an attempt to improve their performance on the field. However, if you start to analyze the ‘sport-specific’ requirements of the soccer athletes, you will realize that they are actually engaging in varying intensities of activity for different durations while playing, including:
- And in various directions.
Incorporating interval training into your program, that involves high and low intensities of activity, will provide better results than long duration, low intensity jogging alone.
Strength in Soccer
Strength is an important component of fitness that can benefit athletes in any sport, although it is often viewed as of little importance in soccer. However, strength forms the basis for power and speed. Soccer players also need strength to hold off challenges from opponents. Other benefits of strength training include:
- Injury resistance
- Leaner body composition
- Faster metabolism
- More energy
- Greater explosiveness
- Improved balance, stability, and agility
- Faster recovery
Your strength training program should focus on compound, functional exercises (such as lunges, squats, step ups, pushups, dips, chin-ups), and take into account balancing the strength of opposing muscle groups (i.e.-quadriceps vs. hamstrings).
Don’t waste your time training solely on machines, and avoid useless, non-functional exercises such as leg extensions. The majority of your exercises should be ground-based, using bodyweight or free weights as resistance, and should involve movement of your full body.
Train all the major muscle groups, with emphasis on lower body and core.
|Cost||$60.00 per player|
|Ages||Boys and Girls U9-U18|
|Number of Players||Max of 10 players per training group.|
|Deadline||Registration is open until groups are full.|
|U9-U14 Boys and Girls||Monday 8:00pm|
|High School Boys and Girls||Monday 8:45pm|
- Additional training options may be added if necessary.
|Session||Start Week||End Week|
|Fall||October 17, 2016||December 5, 2016|
|Winter 1||December 12, 2016||January 23, 2017|
|Winter 2||February 6, 2017||March 13, 2017|
|Spring||March 20, 2017||May 1, 2017|
*Fall 2016 – no session October 31, 2016*
*Winter 1 2016-2017 – no session December 26, 2016*
*Spring 2017 – no session April 17, 2017*