Flexibility Importance In Soccer

Soccer Flexibility Performance

Flexibility is an essential exercise for a soccer player, and specially at the youth level.  It helps prevent injuries, muscle recovery, and preparation for the demands of the game.  A proper warm, stretching, and cool-down is underestimated at the youth level.  We all know about the impact and consequences,  but still avoid applying them.  

Anywhere you go, for a game or tournament, or any academy soccer camps, you will come across a team or a player not warming up properly. Coaches (role model and leader), need to make sure every player is properly stretching, and take every step necessary to ensure they are ready to compete. After all, it is the players responsibility to give flexibility the importance it deserves.  

Players need to get educated on how to properly stretch, and warm up from the moment they enter the world of soccer. Coaches and trainers, have to apply all they have learned theoretically as well as practical.  Soccer coaching goes beyond winning, as the importance lies on effectively applying every principle; but most importantly applying proper muscle preparation to avoid any injuries, and extend their presence on the field.  

Player Development Over Winning

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For years giving priority to winning, over player development has been hurting our youth.  The importance given to the number of trophies, rather than the number of quality first touches has proven that there is a big technical gap compared to other nations.  It's time to impose a technical culture instead of the winning culture at a youth level.  As a player and coach, I have seen hundreds of players with a curriculums that are very impressive.  But after watching them play, their level can't match of what is written on the curriculum.  Alike, I have seen players with no curriculum, but with an outstanding technical ability which goes beyond a piece of paper full of accolades.       

One of the most famous soccer coaches in the world and currently the manager of Arsenal F.C. (giant european club) once said 'building a top player is like building a house,' Arsene Wenger.  Developing a player requires detail and specific training in order to fill every gap.  It allows to develop a strong foundation which will be enough to support all other aspects encounter in the formation process.  Soccer coaches need to realize that the foundation needs to be developed before the age of 14.  The following are few of the essential soccer technical elements, that need to be strictly developed, starting at an early age and in detail for it's future maturity:

  • Proper passing
  • Proper dribbling
  • Proper receiving 
  • Proper running with ball 
  • Proper turning
  • Proper heading
  • Proper shooting 
  • Proper juggling
  • Proper body part control 
  • Proper body to ball locomotion or so call coordinartion 
  • Proper upper to lower body movements to perform signature Skills

Once the player foundation has been properly developed at a younger age, it's expected a promising maturity with outstanding long term rewards.   

We would advice parents to focus on the individual development at the youth level because the rest will come along in the process. Winning hundreds of tournaments at the youth level can only and only benefit the the clubs' reputation.  But the individual development is like a life time tattoo that will benefit your child in the long run.  After the development process has been completed, then wining every competition will matter and will have its respective rewards.  

Soccer Technical Conditioning - Important For An Elite Player

For years soccer has been one of the most played sports worldwide, and now among the most popular sports in the U.S.  Throughout all the years of playing in the U.S. at various soccer training programs, I've noticed that there is missing the idea of combining technique and conditioning.  We (parents & coaches) need to take a children development seriously, as the world will rejoice to have one more healthy in mind and body athlete to inspire others and help them achieve their goals.  The importance of soccer training conditioning (speed & agility, strength & endurance, flexibility) combined with the technical foundation (passing, dribbling, receiving, heading, shooting, juggling, controlling, etc.) should be implemented at the youth level.  What sets apart an average soccer player from an elite player, is undoubtedly a proper detail training addressed to fill every gap of their development. 

Soccer conditioning is nowadays an important component and probably the second best ingredient for an elite player performance.  This essential component (when applied properly) combined with a ball soccer training has helped many soccer players reach their full potential.  It will also allow soccer players to avoid any type of sport related injuries such as: Meniscus Tear, ACL, etc.  Injuries like 'meniscus tears,' and 'ACL,' which are common among soccer players due to the distress placed on a players knee during change of directions, change of rhythm, and different types of pivots made in short/long distance sprints during a soccer game.  Soccer conditioning and technique combined, requires a continuous chain of specific sport related functions to be performed during on-season and off-season.  We advice players to do their homework to extend their career and spend more time on the pitch rather than on the bench or stands.