Physical Preparation for Soccer: Quickness

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When a player accelerates, a great deal of force has to be generated and transferred through the foot to the ground. This action is similar to rolling up a towel (i.e. the leg), holding one end in your hand and flicking it out to achieve the ‘cracking’ noise from the other end (i.e. the foot). Quickness (and acceleration) occurs in a fraction of a second and takes the body from a static position to motion. Muscles lengthen and then shorten instantaneously; that is, an eccentric followed by a concentric contraction. This process is known as the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC).

Physical preparation and soccer-specific conditioning programs concentrate on improving the neuromuscular system that impacts on this process, so that this initial movement—whether lateral, linear or vertical—is automatic, explosive and precise. The reaction time is the time it takes for the brain to receive and respond to a stimulus by sending an electrical impulse signal to the muscle, causing it to contract. This helps a player to cut right-left-right and then accelerate down the sideline... or the goalkeeper to make a split-second save. Ongoing physical preparation training reprograms the neuromuscular system and removes restrictive mental blocks and thresholds. As a result, all messages from the brain have a clear path to the muscles; thus resulting in an instinctively quicker soccer player.

Physical Preparation Components

United Soccer Academy’s Physical Preparation program consists of 8 key components:

Speed Agility Quickness Reaction Strength Power Plyometrics Dynamic Flexibility

Click here to download the Physical Preparation Curriculum.

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