Soccer requires a lot of speed as well as explosive movements such as setting up a goal, performing a header and a lot of short, sharp motions such as bounding, kicking and jumping during the game. Plyometrics training can help the athlete to develop greater strength, power and speed to perform these skills at a greater level and intensity.
Remember to follow these points when carrying out this form of training:
• Before beginning plyometrics training, ensure that you have a well-established strength base, otherwise your muscles will not cope with the exercises. The aim of the training is to convert strength into power so if there is not a base strength then this cannot be achieved.
• Perform plyometrics at the start of each soccer training session when muscles are fresh and not fatigued.
• Warm up properly with a 5–10 minute light cardio session. This could consist of jogging, cycling or skipping followed by a 5–10 minute stretch to all major muscle groups (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back and upper body).
• Exercises should be performed at high speed and intensity while also maintaining correct technique.
• Only complete two sessions per week due to the high intensity of the training.
Some plyometrics training drills:
• JUMP RUNNING – Run in slow motion and land on alternate feet, aiming to get as much height and distance as possible.
• BOUNDING – Set out some hurdles about 1m apart over a 20m distance. Using as much bounce as you can, bound over the hurdles with out touching them.
• TRAVELLING JUMP SQUATS – (Also with hurdles) Using both feet, jump over the hurdle, landing in a squat position. From there, take off again and repeat until the end of the hurdles.
• EXPLSOSIVE LUNGES – Begin with feet underneath hips in a lunge position. Jump up and swap leg positions in the air before coming back down into a lunge. Repeat, swapping legs.
• TWO-FEETED BOX JUMPS – Place a box or step in front of you. Using as much momentum and power as you can, perform a two-feet jump up onto the box. Make sure both feet are flat on the box.
• LATERAL JUMPS – Stand alongside a bench, box or cone approximately 30cm high. Keeping your feet hip distance apart, jump sideways as high over the obstacle as possible. Immediately jump back to the start position, minimising contact time with the ground.
Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions for each exercise and make sure that your core is strong and back flat at all times.
Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler