Becoming an Elite Soccer Player- Part One

Elite Soccer Training- The Basics

As a young soccer player who has dreams and hopes of playing at the next level, it is absolutely essential that you become involved in some sort of strength, agility, speed, and injury prevention training program.  Today, one of the quickest ways to separate yourself from your competition is through strength, speed, and durability.  In my experience, soccer players who entered the Division I level with some sort of consistent strength training background begin at least 4-5 months ahead of someone who didn’t.  For soccer, 4-5 months can be an entire off-season.  Strength training and conditioning does not require a lot of equipment, space or time, but does require persistence and dedication.  The effort you give to developing your athleticism should be nothing less than you would contribute to enhancing your soccer skills.  Quickness, reactive ability, speed, and the ability to remain healthy, are not gifts- they are trained!  

If you want to improve any of these areas you must train them!

Some important things to understand about athletic development:

The Dynamic warm-up should be performed prior to doing all physical activity.  The purpose is to prepare the muscles involved in doing explosive athletic movements.  Static flexibility is also important but should be completed following a workout, practice, or game.    

            Joint stability (prehab) is an extremely important, yet consistently under-trained part of athletic development.  Connective tissue and joints generally take about twice as long as muscle to develop and are almost always more susceptible to injury. In college, a freshman soccer player is at a disadvantage if she hasn’t done any joint stability or strength training because the season starts immediately.  With the volume of running, changing direction, and decelerating that college soccer players perform, they are at risk for stress fractures and ligament tears if their bodies aren’t prepared for the amount of pounding they will endure in a college season.  Generally, I will prescribe a few joint stabilizing exercises per day.  They should be completed following a dynamic warm-up