Strength speed and agility the keys in Soccer

Published: 05th August 2009
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What to Focus on in Soccer Training
Strength, speed, and agility are all important abilities when it comes to the game of soccer. It is obvious why speed is important in soccer: soccer is a fast-paced game. The more ability you have to keep up with the ball and outrun other players, the more likely you are to achieve big plays for your team. Soccer demands lots of fast spurts of speed within a general marathon-like running session, so develop your speed over both short and long distances. Agility is also important in soccer. This will help you dodge other players, protect the goal, and make contact with the ball. Soccer training does not often focus on strength, but it is an area that will allow you to really help your team. Developing your strength will also allow you to perform soccer skills better, over a longer period of time, than your opponents. Focusing on these three areas will allow you to be a threat on any soccer field. 

Flexibility is important to soccer players; without it, they are at risk for injury. It is all too easy for soccer players to overextend themselves and cause muscle or ligament damage. All soccer players should learn how to stretch properly, and do so daily. Coaches need to educate themselves in proper stretching techniques and then pass that information on to their players. A good stretching session should last about 15 minutes. Stretching should take place before practice, and cool-down exercises should take place afterwards. Some stretches soccer players need are pretty simple; others are quite complex. When trying a new stretch, players should always know what muscle groups they are supposed to be focusing on. Remember to stretch well and stretch often to ensure muscle flexibility. 

Playing Soccer with the Family
As an athlete, you must realize that your expertise and skill as a soccer player is ultimately determined by yourself. Practice both on and off the field is key. Each of us, no matter how much we try to hide it, has her own strengths and weaknesses on the field. Practice at home can give the double benefit of spending time with family and improving your game. Even if you only go through drills that your coach has taught you, you will increase your ability on the playing field. If you practice at home, it is likely that other family members will become interested in soccer. Extend an invitation to your parents to play with you or to come to your games. Even if all you do is dribble the ball to and from practice, this in itself will increase your ball handling ability. 

Repetition Encourages Perfection
Soccer practice is all about repetition. It is both typical and smart for a player to repeat a drill about twenty times or more before beginning another drill. All of these drills will also likely be repeated from practice to practice and from season to season. Most drills are created to focus on developing and refining the basic moves in soccer, including shooting, dribbling, and passing. It is important for players, coaches, and parents to understand that this repetition will encourage perfection on the field. Coaches should expect the performance level to increase with repetition. If a player does it wrong, a player must repeat it until he or she can do it right. The end goal of repetitive drills is for a player to become so good at a certain skill that he or she can perform it flawlessly and reflexively. 

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