Many kids enter their season with no off-season training, and their bodies aren’t prepared to play again. A preseason conditioning program should include proper full body warm-up, strength training, agility drills, and stretching. (Read blog #1 to see what a good full body warm-up consists of, and also to see some agility drills.)
Strength training is one aspect that can be easily overlooked. Strength training is important because it helps improve coordination, confidence, and help protects the body from injury. Here are some examples of good strength training exercises for young soccer players (recommended for ages 10+). Below are a few pictures of the body row, plank, and partner squat.
Legs: Partner squats, walking and side lunges, one and two leg bridges
Core: Leg Raises, side bends, planks (front and side), and crunches
Upper body: push-ups (done correctly), Dips, and body rows.
Notice all these are body weight exercises, so kids don’t need a gym or any equipment. They can do these at home or on a soccer field. They should start with 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise and then can increase to 3 sets of 15 reps as the repetitions get easier. Correct form is very important, so make sure these exercises are done under supervision of a parent or coach.
By: Jenny Jurkowski, Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Youth Soccer Coach