The 5 secrets to Becoming an Elite Soccer Player | Total Performance Physical Therapy

The 5 secrets to Becoming an Elite Soccer Player

July 8, 2015
  1. Practice the little things
    1. While drills may seem boring, they are the fundamentals to becoming a good soccer player and you cannot be a great soccer player without having your body be able to do the little things great. The little things are what makes the great soccer players great.
    2. Having basic skills, the fundamental skills perfected to a tee will allow your muscles to perform them without even thinking about it.
  2. Have unbreakable core strength
    1. The core is the hips and the stomach muscles make up the core. Having a strong core is essential to being a great soccer player.  It separates the good from the greats.
    2. Having a strong core will give you every advantage over your opponent.
    3. Great players are able to change direction without letting their opponent know it. Most of us must look in the direction that we are headed.  Great players with strong cores do not have to look in the direction they are heading they can just move in that direction and completely burn their opponents.
  3. Speed and Power Development are part of their training
    1. Many young athletes accept that running drills and doing sprints on the field as part of practice is enough and this is not the case
    2. Elite athletes train with trainers outside of the soccer field and outside of the coaches, they seek out specialists that understand the muscles and how the muscles working effectively needs to happen. This is not your run of the mill personal trainer, this is not someone who coaches soccer and was a soccer player in college.  This person requires an advanced degree to truly gain the most out of training.
    3. They understand that developing this attribute of their training will lead to a decreased risk of injury. Sport specific training developed by physical therapists are 41% more likely to prevent injury than just a regular training program alone.
  4. Mental challenges are part of their training
    1. While it seems simple to say, think about the game that you are playing this is a very difficult task for most. Staying focused and not letting the mind slip for even a second is a skill that needs to be trained.
    2. Elite soccer players will train this during practice, during sport specific training and during rest times. Training yourself to stay calm and focused will allow for you to stay focused throughout the entire game and make the intricate plays that need to be made.
  5. Recover
    1. Elite athletes understand better than anyone the importance of recovery. Novice athletes view recovery as sitting on the bench and just resting your legs.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.
    2. Recovery is foam rolling, stretching, walking, massages, proper nutrition, etc. The purpose is getting the garbage that accrued in the muscles out.

How do you become one of the elites?

  1. Make sure when you are at practice you are focused. It’s easy to get distracted by team mates but when you are at practice concentrate on each aspect with intense focus.  You should be mentally and physically tired after practice.
  2. Talk with you coach and get drills that they feel you are deficient in that you can work on at home to make sure that you are honing the basic skills so that they become perfected and your body can do them without thinking. While you may be able to do some basic moves without really thinking can you do them perfectly?  If the answer is no, then everything built on those fundamentals will be less than elite and therefore you will not be one of the elites.
  3. Hire a training specialist. This is someone that is not your coach and generally the ones that are the best are not the soccer coach.  They are specific trainers that understand speed and development and the muscles that are needed to work in synergy in order to make you an elite athlete.  They should have some medical training so they understand how to incorporate injury prevention.

With so many options for trainers, how do I pick the right one?

Not all trainers are created equal.  Here are a few questions you need to ask in order to make sure that you are dealing with someone who understands what it takes to make an elite soccer player enough to transform your body and your soccer game into one of the elites.

  1. What types of training will you focus on?
    1. This answer should contain many different answers. There are different trainings for in season, out of season and late preseason.  If the trainer does not offer this right off the bat and only talks short term it may not be the best fit.
  2. What are you going to do to develop speed and power?
    1. The answer is core work, lateral work, first step quickness, body weight work that progresses into weighted work. Ladder drills and box jumps while a part of it, are not all of it and a good trainer will be able to lay out the frame work.
  3. Do you do testing pre and post and what tests are they?
    1. Surprisingly most trainers answer, no that they do not do testing pre and post. And if they do they test in terms of a 40 yard dash or a bench press.  These while popular things to measure, won’t identify any areas of weakness.  The trainer should be able to have an in-depth conversation with you after your first meeting on specific muscles that are weak, specifically to you, and how the program is going to concentrate on these muscles.
    2. Most people just by doing some generic training with a random coach will get faster because just by introducing training it will allow you to be a better athlete. However, most trainers will train muscles that are already strong and this will cause you to reach a plateau very quickly and also set you up for injury.
  4. Do they work with a physical therapist or medical doctor so monitoring aches/pain or injury prevention is a part of their program?
    1. Many trainers will advertise injury prevention and this means they have pulled exercises off the internet that say ‘injury prevention for soccer’ but this again is very specific to each athlete and needs to be identified. Doing generic injury prevention exercises won’t decrease your specific risk of injury.  These specific risks need to be identified to the individual and worked on during training.

 

Want answers to all of these questions?

Want to be one of the elites?

Call Total Performance today at 215-997-9898