Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
Want to start competing at a higher level on the soccer field? A new infographic from Mayo Clinic takes a closer look at three core areas soccer players can drill down on for better performance on the field: movement, strength and nutrition.
Consider adding some of these exercises and strategies to your daily routine this soccer season.
#1 Improving Movement Performance
Power and speed are critical on the soccer field. These two aspects of your game may improve when you maintain a triangular base position, which can help maximize power and speed when changing direction.
To get this triangular base position…
- Lower the chest, putting your weight on the front of your feet and lowering your center of gravity.
- Keep the shoulders aligned over the knees for better balance and stability.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your knees, keeping your weight on the inside balls of the feet.
- Toes should point forward, maximizing foot-to-ground contact.
Practice quick and powerful movements by standing in this base position and alternating forward drives with your left and right feet.
#2 Building Strength
Increasing strength not only improves the quality of your play, it can also reduce your risk of injury. Many soccer players will appreciate these benefits of increased strength:
- Generate power quickly
- Run faster
- Change direction quickly
- Kick harder
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that in one experiment, soccer players who engaged in strength training experienced 66% fewer injuries in a season.
So, what can you do? The basic lunge is a great exercise for the lower-body muscles used in soccer. Consider working with a trainer to fine-tune the number of reps and the use of additional weights for even better results.
#3 Eating Right for Better Performance
Lastly, nutrition is a key component of performance enhancement. One to four hours prior to training or a game, fuel yourself with:
- Complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, beans and vegetables
- Lean proteins, including lean poultry, fish, legumes and low-fat dairy
After game/training, focus on replenishing and rebuilding with:
- Simple carbohydrates, including fruits, milk and simple starches
- Protein-rich snacks: nuts, yogurt and egg
Check out the full infographic below…
Find a Sports Medicine Doctor Near You In Houston
To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine doctor near you, contact Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics at (713) 756-5546. Online scheduling may also be available.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.