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Weight Training for Soccer – WARNING Don’t Do It! »

Should your child be lifting weights to improve their strength for soccer? As a soccer coach, have you incorporated a soccer weight training program into your overall training program for the team? If you have, is it being properly supervised? There has been a lot of comment and discussion regarding resistance training for younger players. Some have said that it will lead to injury, others have said that it will damage the childs bone development. If done incorrectly, yes, these things may occur. Read on to find out what type of program you should put in place for the youth soccer player.

A child has probably a greater chance of sustaining an injury while playing the game than what they would undertaking a supervised resistance program. It is actually beneficial for a child to participate in such a program as it will assist in the prevention of injuries. Soccer players require strength in both the lower and upper body. When playing a soccer game, just about every muscle in the body is used, it is therefore essential that a player has good core strength.

I think one of the problems is the terminology. As soon as someone mentions ‘weight training’ or ‘weight lifting’ there is a mental image of some big body builder bench pressing 200 kilo! Not the case for soccer. Bone development is the reason why children pre puberty and during puberty should not be lifting heavy weights. Their ligaments are actually stronger than their bones and lifting heavy weights may cause damage to their growing bones. However, a properly supervised soccer weight training program using lighter weights can assist in the prevention of injuries.

The implementation of any weight training for soccer youth players should only be done under strict supervision. The emphasis should be on the use of coaching proper technique as opposed to lifting heavy weights. Focus on light resistance and a small number of repetitions. The following are some basic guidelines that should be implemented when undertaking soccer weight training:

• Ensure there is supervision at all times
• Warm up prior to the resistance work and a cool down afterwards
• The focus of the resistance work should be specifically on the core muscle groups
• The player should be educated on the proper techniques to be used

A number of months ago I was looking to implement some form of soccer weight training program and fitness regime for my teams. After much searching and talking to fitness trainers I came across a book that has proved to be a tremendous resource. This book has broken down the weight training for soccer players by age group for 8-11 yrs, 11-15yrs and 15 – 18 yr olds. The book covers all the exercise you will require for core, upper and lower body including the number of repetitions, amount of resistance along with diagrams illustrating the correct techniques to use.

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