| This article
is based around an interview with Justin Leduc who is a Certified Athletic
Trainer/Strength & Conditioning Specialist. We would like to express
him our thanks for sharing some of his knowledge of soccer training.
Q1/ Before undertaking weight training, most coaches recommend a warm-up, can you give us a few tips on warming up for this particular type of training.
A proper warm-up is an essential component of any conditioning program,
weight training included. The warm-up should consists of exercises that
mimic the patterns of movement used in the sport or activity to be performed.
When developing strength and conditioning programs it is important to
take age, and gender into consideration. When working with younger athletes
I do not use chronological age as the deciding factor as when to begin.
It is necessary gauge an athletes based upon maturity, or biological age.
Here is an example that will illustrate my point. An early maturing athlete
is finished with his growth spurt. He is about the same height as his
parents and his voice has deepened. Another 14 year old is tall yet his
parents are above average height, his voice has not yet deepened and he
has a slight build. I would begin weight training exercises with the first
athlete, and not with the second even though they are the same age...
That is not to say I would not train the second athlete, our focus however
would be different. We would hold back on the weight training but would
focus on balance , body control , core strength (abdominal /low back),
and body weight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups.
In the past
I would train male and female athletes the same, However I now make some
modifications. Female athletes are at a 2 - 6 times greater risk for sustaining
a serious knee injury. Several risk factors have been identified. Some
of those factors can be addressed through a properly designed strength
and conditioning program. Muscular strength imbalances between the hamstring
and quadriceps muscle along with technique when performing cutting and
landing maneuvers have been identified as a potential risk factors. Keeping
this in mind we focus on developing hamstring strength utilizing many
single legged exercises, since majority of soccer skills are performed
while the athlete is supported on one leg ( shooting, passing, trapping).
I differentiate strength training from power training to the coaches parents,
and the athletes I work with by telling them Power training is athlete
specific training. In a sport such as soccer a player needs to be able
to "explode." Power has to deal with the amount of force placed
upon an object and the distance the object covers and the speed or time
it takes for that distance to be covered. This is what occurs in sport.
Lets take a closer look at how this applies to soccer. Kicking a soccer
ball the athlete applies a force to the ball (taking accuracy out of the
picture) what is important is how far and how "hard " the kick
is. A perfect example of the role of power in soccer. Here's another example.
Soccer is a sport in which players are required to change direction quickly.
How does this occur ? Force is applied by a single leg in one direction
"pushing the body in the opposite direction the greater the applied
force the quicker the body will move.
Yes. When I train an athlete I want to develop the entire athlete. A restart
in the game of soccer is an important goal scoring opportunity having
a player who can make a long accurate throw-in can be a lethal weapon.
Upper-strength also plays a role in speed development, take a look at
a Olympic sprinter what does there upper body look like? From an injury
prevention stand point it is important to keep your body balanced. So
yes I feel it is important to train both the upper and lower body even
through the majority of work is performed by the lower body in soccer.
I spend a large amount of time training the "core" ( abdominal
/ low back) I believe it is often neglected, or trained improperly perhaps
we can discuss this at a latter date.
In order to develop a successful training program you must have an
understanding of "sports science." All of the variables of a
training program must relate to soccer. Which exercises to perform? How
many repetitions, How long to perform a drill or exercise? How much rest
to take? The answers all of these questions can be found in sports science.
If you are designing a program be able to answer why to everything you
chose to have your athletes do. Having a player go for a mile run as part
of their training. Ask yourself what part of the training season are we
in? What is the focus of this part of the training season ? How is this
going to help my athlete. Here's a hint if the player has a good fitness
base I very rarely ever have them go on a continuous steady paced run.
Look at the sport soccer which requires many bursts of speed.
Q6/ I do feel it is important to individualize a training program. In order to individualize a program I find it necessary to test players throughout the year. Improvements can be noted and weaknesses identified. With that said I will then develop a program based upon that individuals strengths and weaknesses as they relate to other players, not necessarily players of particular positions... Developing a better athlete should be the first goal, especially at the younger ages.
expert fitness information, please contact Justin below:
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