3 Things Every Soccer Player Should Be Doing This Winter!
Let's talk briefly about the need to continually take care of yourself in the "off" season.
Regardless Of Your Soccer Plans
Whether you are a young elite soccer player, playing recreationally, or taking the winter season off completely, there are a few things you should do in order to maintain your physical health and prevent future sport related injuries.
Soccer can be a high intensity sport and requires skill, speed, agility, strength and power in order to perform at your peak. Here are a few things you may want to consider trying this winter season in order to stay in soccer shape or improve your baseline health.
1. FIFA 11+
FIFA 11+ is an injury prevention program that has been designed to prevent specific soccer related injuries. It was developed by many health care professionals that specialize in the sport of soccer. It can be implemented into a warm up or a cool down, or can simply be a form of exercise that you can add into your weekly schedule.
What's amazing about the FIFA 11+ program is it only takes 20 minutes to complete and it is recommended that you do it 2x per week.
This program focuses on 3 separate components of the game of soccer, which include, running, strength, plyometrics and balance. There are 3 different levels of exercises offered depending on your experience and physical ability, so it is quite flexible and allows for progression.
Here is a link to the FIFA 11+ Program and within a few short days, you can be doing the program on your own.
2. Strength Training
Participating in regular strength training will assist in the development of muscle as well as increase positive adaptations in both physical and mental health.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Guidelines (ACSM), performing strength training 2x per week for about 30 mins or completing up to 10 exercises (at one set of 8-12 reps), can be sufficient in promoting physiological changes within the whole body.
If you are a higher level athlete, implementing the appropriate and sport specific training loads can help improve speed, power and endurance within the body.
These changes in muscle can then be translated into your specific sport, in this case, soccer. Increasing muscle strength can also increase power and speed, which can help you kick the ball a bit harder and run a bit faster.
It is also important to train different systems in the body. So implementing cardiovascular endurance and agility exercise with strength training shows maximal and global benefits, according to the ACSM. Focusing on speed and agility is highly beneficial and directly transferrable to soccer, no matter the level you are playing at.
3. Play another sport!
Whether you are a young athlete finding “your” sport or an older recreational/social athlete, a lot of skills are transferable from sport to sport. Also, some of the best athletes tend to play multiple sports in order to avoid "over doing" it.
These days, it is very common to find young athletes becoming “burned out” in one particular sport, therefore, it is nice to participate in a few different sports that may spark your interest.
Finding different ways to move in different seasons of the year is beneficial to both the mind and body and can help contribute to the goal of reaching your peak level of performance in the game of soccer.
Remember, physiotherapy is as much about injury prevention as it is injury recovery.