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....
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....
A lot has changed since my childhood in the 80’s.
Some obvious examples are, there were no cell phones, people actually used payphones or home phones, pen to paper was a thing - computers were just being introduced into schools, my mullet was in fashion, and Fuller House
was on television, Oh wait. Full House.
But I’m here to talk about sports, soccer specifically.
The opportunities for young female soccer players today are remarkable.
There has been considerable growth in the participation of female soccer players. According to U.S. Youth Soccer there were roughly 400,000 active youth female soccer players in the mid 1980’s compared to the 1.6 million currently.
It’s an exciting time to be a female athlete and simultaneously a difficult time as well. Due to all the opportunities and options at every level of play it seems we have created a fear based model for our athletes. We have them specializing in one sport at a much earlier age and feed them with nonsense such as “If you don’t play on this team you won’t stand out. If you don’t go to this tournament you won’t be seen by college or youth national team coaches.”...
Talking to young Samoan soccer players. Photo credit: Ola Thorsen
I just returned from 2+ weeks of travel to New Zealand and Samoa. I was traveling in conjunction with the U.S. State Department and U.S. Soccer. We packed a ton of work into a short amount of time and besides the fifteen-hour flight to and from Auckland there was quite a bit of travel within the travel.
Needless to say, I was busy, but overall the trip was fantastic. I trained young athletes, met with educators on how to grow the sport of soccer, and spoke to LGBTQ advocates about my experience as an out athlete.
I love this work. As I’ve been afforded so many incredible experiences through my playing career it’s wonderful to be able to share my stories and help those who haven’t been as fortunate or need a bit of guidance in their journey....