Flexibility is one of the most undervalued of all the components of fitness. Not only can it help to reduce the risk of injury, good flexibility also improves athletic and technical performance. To maintain and increase flexibility it is important to stretch regularly. The minimum recommendation is two to three times a week. Spend ten to fifteen minutes stretching at the end of a training session or match. Here are some of the reasons why: • Muscles can apply force over a greater range of motion which in turn increases speed and power. • Rebound movements such as kicking and jumping can become more explosive. • Greater range of motion helps players reach further for the ball.
Flexibility training also helps to prevent and reduce the severity of injury (acute and chronic). How does it do that? • Reduces muscle tightness and increase range of motion making tears less likely. • Helps to improve posture and prevent low back pain. • Increases tissue temperature, blood flow and nutrient supply within joint capsules helping to keep them healthy. • Increases elastic strength allowing muscles and tendons to better cope with impact and forced extensions. • Acts as an important part of a rehabilitation program following injury. • Can help to maintain balance between the left and right side of the body preventing possible chronic pain and injuries in the future. Despite all these important benefits, studies have shown that professional soccer players have poorer flexibility compared with other athletes. Flexibility training should be given high priority in any soccer conditioning program – and not just as part of the warm up or cool down.
Soccer Fitness Flexibility Conditioning To increase your range of motion, keep to static stretching exercises. Dynamic stretching is ideal during a pre-match or pre-training warm up. You can finish a static stretching session with some dynamic stretches if you wish just to loosen limbs and help flush out any lactic acid that may have pooled in the muscles.
General Static Stretching Guidelines • You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these exercises • Stretch to just before the point of discomfort • The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch • Breath out into the stretch. Avoid breath holding • Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds • If tightness intensifies or you feel pain stop the stretch • Shake out limbs between stretches • Complete 2-3 stretches before moving onto the next exercise
PRE-GAME MEALS 3-5 hours prior to games/training: 1. Eat a meal that is familiar to you and easily digestible. · Choose easily digestible food options that are low in fat, moderate in fiber, high in carbohydrates, and low to moderate in protein. · Select food choices with high-quality carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, bagels, English muffins, tortillas, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain cereals, fruits such as bananas or apples, and starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, and potatoes. 2. Drink 16-24 oz. of water. Do not drink caffeine or energy drinks!!
PRE-GAME SNACKS 45-60 minutes before a game or training, eat a small snack that is high in carbs, low in fat, and contains moderate amounts of protein, such as: · 1 bagel with 1 T peanut butter · 1 piece 100% whole wheat bread, 1 T jelly, 1 T peanut butter · 1 low-fat yogurt, 1/4 cup low-fat granola · Peanut butter & jelly sandwich & 1 cup 1% milk · Bagel & 2 T peanut butter · Turkey & cheese sandwich & 20 oz. sports drink · 1 low-fat fruit yogurt with 1 banana & 8 oz. sports drink
FLUIDS DURING GAMES A key goal to improve performance is toprevent dehydration and muscle cramps. To do so, regulate your fluid intake by drinking according to a schedule rather than by your perceived thirst, as follows: · 4 hours prior to game/training: 10-15 oz. (1-2 c) · 15 minutes before game/training: 8-16 oz. (1-2 c) · Every 15-20 minutes during game/training: 6-12 oz. · After game/training: 16 oz. (2 c) for every pound of body
POST-GAME RECOVERY – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT? Carbohydrates and protein should be the main emphasis for an athlete’s post-game/training snack. Keys to successful recovery include: 1. Eat a high carb snack within 30 - 45 minutes after your game/training. 2. Include a protein in your snack. 3. In extremely hot weather, drink a minimum 16-24 oz. of water Successful recovery guidelines: 1. Fuel up Fast! Don’t wait. Consume carbohydrates immediately after games/training, which is when the muscles are primed for quick absorption. 2. Concentrate on Carbohydrates - But Don’t Forget Protein! During games/training, amino acids are needed to help repair muscle damage. Protein consumed post-games/training will provide amino acids that aid in rapid recovery. All that is needed is 10-35 grams of protein, depending on the size of an athlete. Good protein choices include eggs, milk, yogurt, canned tuna, beans and low-fat cheese.
Rochester Soccer Club 6841 N. Rochester Rd Ste. #301A Rochester Hills, MI 48306