- Soccer Specific Resistance Training
This is a specialized resistance training approach to prepare your body for the demands of soccer. While athletes initially start the off-season with non-specific resistance training exercises to build a base development, the focus of resistance training eventually needs to be determined by the demands of the sport. Sitting down and performing leg extensions might help build strength, but it is not functional strength. Soccer requires multi-joint muscular actions across multi-planes of movement. Soccer is also a ground-based activity, so athletes need to use exercises that will enable them to apply force against the ground with their feet. The idea is to utilize resistance training exercises, which will best transfer to the actual playing conditions of soccer.
- Plyometrics (Speed-Strength Training)
An athlete utilizes plyometric exercises to train muscles to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible, or simply put uses plyometrics to develop explosive power. Plyometrics involve techniques and training programs for optimizing the use of the stretch-shortening cycle, which are important for developing superior performance in athletics. Lower body plyometric exercises are utilized to develop quick feet movement, and the ability to quickly get off the ground. Lower body plyometric exercises include jumps-in-place, standing jumps, multiple hops & jumps, bounding, box drills, and depth jumps. Upper body plyometric exercises involve the use of medicine balls to train the muscles to respond to external forces more quickly.
- Core training (Abdominals/Obliques/Low Back)
All force generated by the musculoskeletal system in the upper and lower body either originates, is stabilized by, or is transferred through the trunk and low torso. Given this fact, if athletes are to develop their full strength and power potential, then a significant portion of a strength & conditioning program should focus on the abdominals/obliques/low back. A good example of this are athletes who have a strong, powerful lower body, but do not reach full potential in vertical jumping due to weakness in the core part of the body.
- SAQ (Speed/Agility/Quickness)
Speed is the ability to cover a certain distance from point A to point B in the shortest time possible. The two components of speed are acceleration and top speed. Acceleration is defined by how much time it takes to reach top speed. Top speed is defined as the most possible yards per second a person can run. Speed is the product of stride length and stride frequency. Stride length is the distance covered with each step during a run. Stride frequency is the number of steps taken per second. A well rounded speed training program will target the improvement of both stride length and stride frequency, along with correct running technique. Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and quickly change direction while maintaining good body control. Quickness is determined by the athlete's ability to perform specific movements in the shortest possible time. Quickness is also determined by the ability of the nervous system to process and produce rapid contractions and relaxations of the muscle fibers. Quickness is a key component for fast, explosive movements of the whole body, which occur during the starting and acceleration phases of sprinting. It is also an important factor when a body part needs to start a new movement or rapidly change direction.
- Footwork & Balance
Footwork involves quickness and control of the feet during athletic movements. Without good footwork, it is impossible to be a good athlete. Balance is the ability to regulate shifts in your body's center of gravity while maintaining control. Balance is the single most important component of athletic ability because it underlies all movement whether, that movement is dominated by strength, speed, flexibility, or stamina. Because athletes are constantly moving, it is vital to develop balance not from a stationary standpoint, but while the body is in motion.
- Metabolic Training
Metabolic training prepares the body to best utilize the energy sources, which are needed for a particular sport. The two types of metabolic training are anaerobic training and aerobic training. Anaerobic training consists of the phosphagen system (instant energy source) and the glycolysis system(lactic acid). Athletic events that are short in duration(5-30 seconds), rely primarily on the phosphagen system. Athletic events, which are 30-90 seconds in duration, rely primarily on the lactic acid system. Aerobic training is used for athletic events, which are 90 seconds or longer in duration. For athletes in power sports, it can be detrimental to train aerobically as this type of training will lead to a decrease in power and strength. However, interval training, which primarily will improve the stored phosphagen and lactic acid systems, can also secondarily benefit the aerobic system. All three energy systems are used at any time, however the energy system, which is primarily used during that time is determined by the intensity and duration of the athletic activity.
- Flexibility (Sports Specific)
All serious athletes need to make stretching a vital component of their strength & conditioning program. Sports specific stretching benefits the learning, practice, and performance of several skilled movements. A proper stretching program may also decrease the possibility of musculotendinous and joint injuries. The stretches utilized by athletes should be relevant to the needs and demands of their particular sport.