Over the last two decades the speed of which soccer is played has changed dramatically. For instance, there has been an increase of distances covered at high speed. Additionally, players have had an increase in speed and power so the game is now played at a higher intensity. Further, there has been a change in body type to muscular mesomorph as higher levels of body strength is now required. Furthermore, the number of sprints per game has doubled since 2002 (Bate 2008). Thus, soccer now places many demands on the physiological systems of the performer. The endurance capacity of the player must be high to support the sustained demand for energy, particularly as outfield players may travel up to 12km (Cable, 1998). Therefore, elite soccer teams have identified the importance of conditioning players. For example, SAQ (Speed, Agility and Quickness), training and conditioning has been successfully introduced and implemented at such clubs as Arsenal FC and Manchester United FC.
Premier UK recognizes the importance of conditioning players. Therefore, we have developed a ‘Soccer Supremacy’ programme which aims to develop young players’ soccer fitness which they would require at a higher level. The training will consist of the following training methods;
Plyometrics Training Quickness – This type of training aims to develop players muscles to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible. The ‘Soccer Supremacy’ programme will incorporate training techniques for optimizing the use of the stretch shortening cycle, which are important for developing superior performance in soccer players. Furthermore, lower body plyometric exercises will be included in the training to develop quick feet movement and the ability to quickly get off the ground. For example, standing jumps, box drills, depth jumps and bounding will be utilized to enhance a players’ explosive power. Upper plyometric training will involve the use of medicine balls to train the muscles to respond to external forces more quickly.
‘This in turn makes the soccer player run quicker, jump higher and turn faster’!
Training the Core – Premier UK has identified that training the core is vital in order for players to be stronger when in possession of the ball. The programme will focus on the abdominals, oblique’s and lower back to enhance a player’s balance. As a result their performance will significantly improve. For example, they will be able to shield the ball more effectively. Moreover, a stronger core will decrease the risk of injury as the players movement patterns will be significantly improved.
‘A stable, balanced core allows the soccer player to be stronger on the ball and generates potential in all aspects of the game’.
SAQ – As already stated in the modern game of soccer, explosive pace and the ability to change direction quickly are significantly important. The SAQ training methods will develop the qualities that all players now require in order to compete at the elite level. The programme will implement techniques to improve the players’ explosive power in all directions. For example, it will not only focus on linear movement patterns but will also include training the players’ lateral movement, diagonal reverse as well as vertical movements as soccer is a multi directional game. Thus, each players’ ability to move at speed in all directions and environments will be enhanced.
‘To be the total soccer player, you must refine and continually train all aspects’
Flexibility – Good flexibility has many positive benefits. For example, it aids with injury prevention, helps to reduce muscle soreness and improves efficiency in all physical activities. Furthermore, good flexibility aids in the elasticity of the muscles and provides a wider range of motion in the joints (Nelson & Kokkonen, 2007). Therefore, ‘Soccer Supremacy’ will incorporate stretching exercises that are specific to the needs and demands of soccer. For instance, dynamic stretches (stretching on the move) will be implemented to increase each players’ range of motion and flexibility.
‘Be flexible…Be Faster….Be Stronger’
Check out the statistics above!!
This is Lake, a 10 year old player from Morehead City who took part in a Premier UK Team Academy. Throughout the week Lake covered over 25 miles, 15+ hours of training time, every day recorded a ‘hard effort’ reading and received valuable knowledge in the art of soccer.
Bate, (2008). The Evolving Game. Presentation at FLYD Seminar by Dick Bate, F.A. Coach, Nov 05, 08.
Cable, T. (1998). Agility in Football. Insight, The FA Coaches Football Association Journal. Vol. 2, Issue 1
Nelson, A.G. & Kokkonen, J (2007). Stretching Anatomy. United States. Human Kinetics.