Youth soccer players need SPEED – technique and sprint practices will only go so far to increase speed. This is where strength training can help gain more speed on the soccer field.
Every athlete’s body gets used to training and starts to plateau. Then at some point, youth athletes grow and during this phase of life, the body can decline in speed because the muscles are growing and elongating. For some soccer players, confidence on the field declines as their speed cannot keep up with their teammates and opponents. Doing extra sprints at the end of practice will always help maintain and build sprint endurance to a certain point. This is where strength training can make significant gains for the growing body. As the muscles are growing, completing a strength training program with various resisted exercises will increase the strength and power of the muscles. As this is happening, the muscles will start to grow and fire more rapidly during the sprints. Not only will the soccer player get faster on the field but their confidence will rise as they actually feel stronger.
How long should a youth soccer player engage in strength training?
Strength training can be completed throughout the entire year, making changes to the training program when in-season begins and ends. Youth soccer players can start exercises with balancing and strength work as young as 8 years old. As the body changes over time, the strength training should change to accommodate the growth plates and the natural changes that occur with soccer as it becomes a more aggressive, physical sport.
One of the greatest benefits of strength training is injury prevention. Every athlete can sprint their tastes and last a whole game of sprinting if they are free from injuries. By developing the muscles in a proper strength training program, injuries reduce and healthy habits are formed for years of playing soccer.