Fundamentals are the foundation to everything.
No matter what sport you play - basketball, hockey, or soccer – fundamentals are the building blocks to improving performance.
With soccer, specifically, it is important to focus on mastering passing, receiving, dribbling, and shooting, as these skills are directly transferable to the game.
Some of my fondest memories during my playing days are when Becky Sauerbrunn and I were training partners. We would train together every day during our off-times with the women’s national team. These sessions had a singular focus - our common goal was to master the basics and the areas that would have the most carry over to elevate our game....
I don’t know about you but I absolutely love the Olympics. The games are only a few days away and if you’re like me – you’re ecstatic! In my opinion the Olympics are the pinnacle of sport that is a wonderful showcase of years of commitment and hard work from the athletes. Plus, it reminds me of some of my most favorite memories from my playing days with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
Four years ago on August 9, 2012 we won the gold medal match against Japan at the London Olympic games.
The year prior we had just lost to Japan in the World Cup final so there was a lot of excitement and redemption to be had.
Our second U.S. professional domestic league had folded a few months after the World Cup final so going into the games we had six months of preparation solely as a team and we were ready to showcase all of our hard work. We were eager to compete, and win gold after our heartbreaking loss the year prior....
The best soccer players I played with were not only strong, stable, and skillful, they were the most powerful
athletes. Think: Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Crystal Dunn.
Their ability to use their strength and convert it to speed and power on the field is second to none. This is apparent through their ability to jump higher, sprint faster, accelerate and decelerate more efficiently, and change direction on a dime compared to their opponents.
If said qualities are what separate good athletes from great athletes then training for power
should be an essential component of your training....
There are times when the "past repeating itself" is a wonderful thing - for example when the U.S. Women's National Team won the World Cup last summer for the third time and the first time since 1999.
And, then there are times when the "past repeating itself" is better if the past, well, just stays in the past - for example when women's professional soccer teams play on a "field" that is the outfield of a baseball field.
Let me explain....
Photo Credit: Cressey Sports Performance
Want to be a better athlete - a better soccer player, perhaps? Want to stay healthy, injury-free for the long haul? Perform better on and off the field?
If you answered yes to one of those questions - then a proper warm-up is vital.
The primary goal for training is not only to improve performance, but to stay healthy while you're doing it.
As the above quote, "Durability is more important than ability" states, no matter what your goals are or how talented you are if you can't stay healthy and injury-free then it will be very challenging to reach these goals.
Too often though athletes/clients overlook their warm-up and leave out this vital training component. Whether it is not performing a warm-up at all or skimping through it with a few stretches here or there with no real direction - you're missing out on a critical component that can help take your performance to the next level....
With Pride Month coming to an end this post couldn’t be more timely. The majority of my posts consist of me talking about my passion for soccer and how strength and conditioning played an important role in my development as a player and reaching the highest levels of the game.
Although these are topics I’m passionate about there’s another piece of me/my career that has also been critical to my success. As a member of the LGBT community I’ve faced my own personal challenges and triumphs as an out athlete and my aim to inspire others through sharing my story....
Sled training is where it's at.
The sled is a fantastic tool that can be used to improve conditioning, build strength, and test your will power.
It's fair to say that
everybody has a major love/hate relationship with the sled. But in all honesty, I wish I had found this amazing performance tool earlier in my career. My first sled experience was definitely one of the most humbling experiences I've encountered in my athletic journey.
If you have ever used or heard stories about the sled then you understand what I'm talking about. There is a term called Prowler Flu (prowler is a specific type of sled) and the name speaks for itself - I've been hit with this bug on multiple occasions - bent over in exhaustion and heaving into a trash can. Yeah not fun.
It’s a wonderful time to be a young female athlete – especially a female soccer player. There are so many more opportunities to participate in soccer today compared to when I was growing up. No matter your age, where you live - there is a league, team, or school program to play on. Not to mention, there is unlimited access to watch professional players train and play live and via television.
Plus, there are amazing role models from the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) our U.S. based professional league and U.S. Women’s National Team to be inspired by - like myself. ;) Subscribe to my newsletter here.
Photo Credit: Slate.com
Last week I was catching up with a good friend from my pro soccer days. In the past year she has moved cross country and in the past month relocated again to a new city. While reminiscing and catching up she informed me that she's been struggling to keep a consistent training program since retirement and asked how I've continued to train post-soccer.
Whether you’re a current active athlete, a retired wash-upped athlete like myself, returning from injury, or haven’t seen a pair of weights since 2010 it can and will be challenging to maintain consistency in your training. To help my friend and to share some tips that have worked for me, here are four ways you can create the support and foundation you will need to stay consistent, focused and have fun....
If I had to choose one area in my training that made the biggest difference in enhancing my performance and keeping me injury free during my playing career it would be: single leg training.
Of course I think bilateral (performed on two legs) exercises like squatting and deadlifting are vital, I mean I didn’t get the nickname “Quadzilla” from watching the weights pick up themselves, but it was the single leg work that was the game changer.
Think about it, the majority of life is spent on one leg: walking, running, jumping, change of direction or cutting in sports all happen on one leg. Therefore it only makes sense to train on one leg....