Have you ever had your coach ask you to come early to warm-up?
After your game or practice, have you ever had a cool-down session?
These are universal things in the game of soccer, because it is so vital!
Soccer is a very intense sport, where you are often moving and changing directions at your quickest speed. Additionally, it is very physical which often results in clashing legs with other players. These factors, may put a lot of pressure and tension on your muscles.
As a player develops through age groups, the game becomes much more physical and faster paced. Therefore, it is harder to recover. So, as you grow it is crucial to develop good habits, and a good stretching routine. Doing this will allow you to be at your best as you continue to develop.
Benefits of Stretching
Helps Prevent Injuries
Keeps Muscles Strong and Flexible
Decreases Muscle Soreness
We recommend every player to take stretching very seriously, not because we just listed a few of its benefits or nothing ... *hint hint*!
But also, if it is not taken seriously, there may be consequences. As previously mentioned in the article, it is very important to develop a good stretching routine.
So, you may be thinking, what is a good routine? There are three parts every player should add to their routines:
Before getting to stretching, it is important to first warm the muscles up. Stretching cold muscles, is not very effective and can lead to pulled muscles.
We recommend our players to do some type of movement (not too intense) just to get their muscles loose. This can be anything from light jogs up and down the field, high-knees, or opening and closing the gates. You can even warm up with the ball at your feet.
Once warmed up, you can begin your stretch. It is best to do dynamic stretches prior your training/games.
Make sure to stretch your groin, gluteus*, quads, calves, and hamstrings. Not only should you target all the muscles in the legs, but also target areas like the back and shoulders.
For Dynamic stretching, hold every stretch anywhere from 2-5 seconds. Make sure to breathe as you're stretching as well because that allows oxygen to get to your muscles, which inflows more blood into the muscles.
And now you are stretched and prepared to perform at your best ability!
Cooling Down (Static Stretching)
The same way you have to prepare your body before a training/game, you need to calm it down as well. The cool down is used to bring your body back into normalcy. Doing this will go a long way in helping your body recover from a workout, and also preventing probable injuries.
It will help you prevent getting muscle strains, and just overall help to avoid soreness in your muscles after a game or practice. For static stretching, we want to make sure to hold our stretches anywhere from 10-30 seconds.
These are some very important tips that you can take from this article to prevent further injuries, so make sure to apply this to your day-to-day routine.
See, you might have dreams of one day playing at a collegiate level, or even professionally.
So, focusing on these little details is very important in order to make it at the highest levels.
Again, it can’t be overstated on how important it is to take care of your body. Making sure you do these steps exactly in order to allow you to keep injury free and available to keep on improving!
How We Can Help:
At FuturElitez Soccer, we focus on EVERY aspect of the game to ensure all of our players improve their overall performance level. With that being said, we take stretching very seriously, both before and after our sessions, of course one is to warm up the body and the other is to cool down the body after an intense soccer training session.
*Gluteus - The largest of the three muscles and makes up most of the shape and form of the buttock and hip area.