Know when to say No. Injury prevention, especially for teenage girls, is essential not only for their playing but their health. There are certain ‘Speed/Agility’ companies that offer such training all year long & they don’t know what they are doing. Instead, they are business owners and trainers who never played soccer and acting like they are experts. I don’t think a soccer player needs to be doing strength/speed training All Year! There needs to be that time off of this training so that the joints are not taking a pounding for 1 hour all year long. I do believe it’s okay to maintain the strength by doing natural body weight strength like crunches, lunges and push-ups. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Be careful & stand up for yourself!
Certain school districts have a curriculum the coaches have to follow, which often include weight training for volleyball, soccer and other female sports. Parents need to politely tell the coach their kids will not participate in these activities due to precautionary reasons. It’s no disrespect but it’s your child not theirs.
There is a ton of proof that HS kids should not be lifting weights due to their constant bone growth. If it is American football… fair enough 🙂
Injury prevention is what I’m all about, but I don’t think there is enough buz from the parents. There needs to be a voice when it comes to keeping high school girls lifting heavy weights. I know if my kids play high school sports I will be keeping them out of weight lifting, unless it’s lightweight. The trick will be how to we not make the coach feel disrespected. The coach is the leader, but health for the kids should be on their mind.
Why H.S. girls should not lift heavy weights
High School girls should NOT be doing heavy weight training! Why? These girls need proper strength training, but not weights. Injuries are more likely, form is difficult to achieve, bodies are in the middle of growing & changing, and more!
I have heard stories of girls injuring their back because the coach has them doing 135# squats & power clings with No Belt. In my opinion they should not be doing this even with a belt. And if they are going to do it they should only use the 45# bar!
Lifting weights is only going to make them stronger for a short time! When they stop the training they will go back to the same strength. Proper strength training for soccer players is conditioning while strengthening. Weight training & lots of turf training is beating up the joints & muscles.
Sand pit training to build strength
I have been doing sand training ever since I started GFT in 2008. One reason is because when I lived in California, I would go train with the FIFA US Men’s Beach World Cup team in Santa Cruz, CA. After a few weeks of training with them on Saturday’s my then sore knees started feeling better. Not only did my knees feel good the whole time I played sand soccer, but they healed up fast. Just think about how low the impact is, which means your joints don’t take a beating like they do on hard ground.
What is the right strength training for HS girls?
Core, Natural Strength (sit-ups / push-ups), Resistance Bands (like THESE or THESE), BOSU (yes – a pink one; I’m a dad of 2 young girls) :-), Sand Pits, Trampoline, & Coordination Drills.
Soccer injury prevention
Warm up, agility, soccer strength, rest, & the correct mix of different training elements is all important for soccer players, especially for injury prevention. There also needs to be the right amount of rest (not too much, not too little)! Girls especially need to keep their legs and knees strong because they are more susceptible to injure their ACL.
This type of training includes use of a Speed Ladder, Beach/Sand Training, Bungee Cords, Lunges, Squats, Squats for Women, & Core strengthening exercises. In my Small Group Training & Privates with the High School & College Athletes, we add in strength training during the sessions and also dedicate the Winter & Summer for specific soccer strength training.
- Ice (until numb), not to exceed 20 min on muscle and 10 min on joints (particularly around the outside of the knee)
- Before training or game heat
- After training or game cold
- Ankle Sprain Rehabilitation – Learn 2 easy ankle strengthening exercises – video
Hot & Cold:
The Best Treatment & Experience. Great for blood circulation and fresh contusion type injuries. Start in the Ice Bath 45 secs, Hot Tub 30 secs, Ice bath 45, Hot Tube 30, Ice Bath 45, Hot Tube 30, End on Ice Bath 45 secs.
Great for older players High School, College & Pro for when you are in heavy training or 2 games in 2 days. After the Game or Training spend 7-10 mins in the Ice Bath. Make sure it’s icy – don’t cheat with that sonic-style ice that melts fast. 🙂
Warm up before training for injury prevention
Warming up before you play is vital for soccer players. Especially older players and players who are sore. Tournament play is also a very important time for proper warm up. When players warm up the body before they play, the muscle soreness & stiffness goes away, making you feel like a new person. You can learn 5 reasons your body needs a warm up on this guest post by Dr. Khan.
Games: Warm up 45 minutes before the game starts. Warm up should be 5-10 minutes of forward, backward, side shuffle, touch the ground with hands, quick 5 yard sprints, jumping, 360 and change of direction. Stretch each muscle for 15 – 30 seconds. Follow with 5 v 5 in a 30×15 yard area for 5 minutes. After you have warmed up you should have 15 to relax and get ready for the game.
Training: 5-10 minutes of light running along with side shuffle and all the same things as game warm up. You can do a light stretch with each muscle and your ready to play 100%.
Cool down after soccer practice
Cooling down is also very important for injury prevention, especially High School, College and Pro soccer players. A good cool down will allow your heart rate to go back to its resting rate and aid in the dissipation of waste products – including lactic acid. This is a very important time to stretch (Post training/games).
Cool downs can be changed up, but make it similar to a warm up and end it with a good stretch. The first time I ever saw a cool down, besides the stretch was with Coach Mike Jeffries, who was the head coach at FC Dallas when they drafted me in the 2002 MLS Draft. Not every pro team does a cool down, but all stretch after practice.
Why warm up & cool down for injury prevention
- Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
- Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
- Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
- Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
- Facilitated nerve transmission & muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
- Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
- Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
- Mentally focused on the training or competition
Injury prevention starts with knowledge
When you understand more of why players get injured, it’s easier to manage it.
5 things to cap off what you need:
- Warm up good before you play
- Stretch after your warm-up
- Make sure you get proper rest each week
- Strengthen your core and legs doing body weight training
- Eat the proper foods and amounts
*REMEMBER: I am not a doctor. You should ALWAYS consult with a physician or trained healthcare provider before beginning or stopping an exercise and nutrition program. Make sure you are healthy enough to begin a training program, regardless of age. Verify with your personal physician any nutritional product, especially if you have diabetes or other special dietary considerations/needs.