Wednesday, August 8, 2007

JT's Blog - Soccer Fitness - August 8

JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.

You may or may not know that we at US Youth Soccer’s Coaching Department are asked to review books, articles, websites and videos. I thought I would share some of the comments from the Fitnessforsoccer.com. In reviewing this site, I found that it provided some very good information on several topics. Highlighted are five areas of concern from the Fitness for Soccer website.

Soccer Stretches Dynamic warm up exercises should be the staple for every soccer practice warm up. However, knowing which sequence and which stretches and movement patterns are best for your soccer players can make all the difference. We already know quality of movement and movement speed are some of the secrets to soccer success. However, the flexibility of individual players can have a significant impact on their ability to move on the field as well as protect themselves from injury. Another important issue is how players warm up before practice, before critical games and what they do before and after exercise can either add value or detract from their results. All too often I see players spending way too much time performing static stretch (holding a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds). While this may have a place in the role of warm-up, research has shown this can tire out your nervous system and pre-fatigue a muscle. The result is that the player can start the game feeling flat and result in a greater chance of injury.’

Mental Coaching Playing to your full potential and achieving your best effort in soccer performance must involve a comprehensive approach. Our philosophy is to “prepare your body…prepare your mind…to play your best”. Gaining a mental edge over your competition has to do with unlocking the true power of your mind. If you are feeling frustrated with your exercise plan or current level of play, count on this library of articles to pull you through to another level. No matter where your difficulties lie, whether they are with stress reduction, emotional control, game strategies, mental imagery, breaking out of your comfort zone or mental preparation, inspiration and guiding force to motivate you to your best soccer performance ever.

Sports Nutrition Championship performance begins with making great nutritional choices. What are the best snacks before play or practice? Are there foods that can help my performance during play? Whether you need to change your body composition by losing body fat and/or gaining lean muscle or just learn how to fuel your body properly to optimize your performance on the field. Remember that mentally your brain needs to stay conditioned to tell your body what to do. So, which foods produce champions and which foods can hinder play?

Soccer Fitness What about agility drills, soccer specific balance and deceleration and transitional movement training? Deceleration training is as critical as acceleration techniques. Remember that soccer players decelerate quickly as they approach the ball and then quickly change direction! Learning how to decelerate quickly could give your players a very significant tactical advantage.

Soccer Injuries Imagine feeling pain in your low back every time you play, getting sidelined with an ACL injury, a hamstring pull or groin injury. The passion you feel for the game is sometimes overwhelming yet the idea of not being able to play due to an injury can be devastating, not only for yourself but for your team. Learning how to manage and treat injuries, how to know when something is serious and how to take care of your body and protect it form injury is the secret to longevity and consistent, powerful performance is key.

What are your comments of this information, would it help you to have more understanding of this information?

1 comment:

Zac Crawford said...

Our club recently had a discussion the other day about pre-practice stretching. I brought up what we discussed at the Youth License and how it was good to do dynamic stretching and not static stretching. I think this website will be useful to share with my fellow coaches.
-Zac