With so much info on the internet, TV and magazines you must understand these 5 common myths about strength and conditioning for youth soccer fitness training.
This is a must before your child is ever going to be successful at improving their strength, power, speed and fitness on the soccer field.
Myth 1: Soccer is an endurance / “cardio” game so you need to go for a 20 to 30 minute jog for soccer fitness.
Truth: Soccer is a power and speed game. Sending your child out for a 20 to 30 minute jog is “old school, outdated” soccer fitness training and will only teach them to be slow, weak and put them at risk for overuse injuries. Short burst interval training is the current soccer fitness training solution.
You need to find a soccer fitness program that includes interval training to maximize your child’s short and long term conditioning needs.
Myth 2: Sit ups and crunches will tone my stomach and build my “core”
Truth: Abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit-ups, and abdomen machines are actually the LEAST effective method of building the core. They do more harm than good. Sit ups cause increase pressure on the “jelly” discs in the back. Over time this may lead to back problems.
Myth 3: Weight training or lifting weights will cause growth plate damage. Lifting weights will “stunt” growth.
Truth: Growth plate injuries are result of unsupervised weight training. Soccer Athletes who perform strength training or resistance training exercises with proper form, technique and progression develop stronger joints, improve stability, increase strength, power, speed, confidence and are more dominating on the soccer field.
Myth 4: Children shouldn’t weight train until they are 14 or 15.
Truth: Absolutely false. Most people think of body building when they think of weight training. A young boy or girl of the age of 8 may start a properly designed soccer resistance training program with significant benefits.
Myth 5: My child will become “bulky” and “lose their flexibility and ability to move” on the soccer field.
Truth: This is absolutely false. A properly designed program for both young soccer girls and soccer boys improve body composition (body image), overall health and athletic performance on the soccer field. An effective youth soccer strength and power program has the following components built into it:
1) Exercises to prevent anterior cruciate ligament tears. i.e. Single leg squat
2) Exercises that closely resemble the actions on the soccer field. i.e. Lunges
3) Total body exercises for base strength. i.e. Squats
4) Exercises that build power. i.e. A progressive plyometric (jump) program
5) Conditioning that includes intervals and sprints
6) Exercises that include stop – start and change of direction.
7) Sound nutritional guidelines. i.e. Pre and post training and game meals.
It is vital that you look for these components in any strength and conditioning program for your son or daughter.