I'm on threshold of soccer culture, devoted, but not yet fully immersed. It's a good perspective from which to pause and make note.
Here are 5 training consideration for soccer players (and their parents).
1. Game Changers are Like Lightening.
In soccer, like many sports, the moves of precision and power change games. The best players are fast on the fly and accelerate quickly in all directions. They create separation from other players, fill gaps, and close angles.
Of course, endurance is also important. Endurance is usually required for the athlete to be in a position to display precision and power. The best players repeatedly put on powerful starts, stops, and runs. The average player covers four to six miles in a 90-minute game. I would argue that sufficient endurance is relatively easy to achieve. And being that the far majority of actual in-match sprints are less than five seconds, athletes should devote more effort to improving peak speed and acceleration. It is my opinion that many high level soccer players are the ones able to maintain powerful speed and quickness despite all the endurance work they are put through.
But how does improvement in speed and quickness occur?
It does not happen through running timed miles, 120s, the beep test, or through cross training death circuits. I understand that these (and similar tests) are a common means for coaches to gauge an athlete's fitness level and separate the devoted, hardworking athletes from those who don't truly want to be there. But...
|Pepe HATES quality movement ; )|
Identifying individual weaknesses and teaching the athlete how to improve the quality of their movement is usually fairly straightforward. But it's not directly related to soccer and does not make for good Instagram photos. And so athletes often altogether miss this step.
What qualifies as "heavy resistance" is definitely relative to the individual athlete. Most soccer players would benefit by gradually working their way into powerful, total body movements of low repetition and relatively high resistance.
Then, they may take a solid, powerful machine into the pre-season, condition for power-endurance, go out there and tear it up!