Getting Prepared for Soccer Tryouts
It’s that time of year again- soccer tryouts are here! It’s exciting and can be nerve-wracking, but this is the time to have fun and show the coaches what you’re made of. In order to put your best cleat, I mean foot, forward, you need to be fully prepared.
Soccer Specific Fitness
Make sure that you are preparing yourself physically for tryouts. Often time soccer tryouts occur in the middle of the summer, after a lot of teams have had a small break from practices and games. It is important to train for tryouts with and without the soccer ball. It can also be beneficial to perform your fitness on grass or turf while wearing your cleats. A few ideas for soccer specific fitness include shuttle runs 5-10 yards apart (forward-backward and side-side), full field sprinting, and speed interval training (walk, jog, sprint). You can incorporate the ball into these fitness drills as well to work on your foot skills. In addition to these exercises, you can add lunging forward and sideways (with good form of course), jumping drills on one and two feet, and burpees (everyone’s favorite exercise, right?!) in between your running repetitions. Focus on your form when doing these exercises as it can reinforce sound loading/unloading mechanics, thereby possibly decreasing the risk for injury. When reviewing the scientific literature on injury prevention, the one consistent factor investigators have found as a cause of injury is fatigue. So, the more “soccer fit” you are at tryouts, the less risk there is for injury!
Soccer Specific Ball skills and tactics
For a few weeks leading up to tryouts, try to perform foot skills on a daily basis, even if only for 5-10 minutes. This can include juggling, touch sequences, and working on technique with passing against a wall or with a friend. Not only will this help with your dribbling abilities but it can do wonders for your first touch as well. Work on your long balls, shooting, and crossing, and if possible, try to get some friends together for some small sided pick-up games. Make sure to include some dynamic stretching on a daily basis including standing leg swings forward-backward and side-side.
Hydration, Nutrition, and Sleep
It’s obviously very important that you prepare yourself physically with fitness drills and ball work, but sometimes the things you do when the ball isn’t at your feet can be even more important. Taking care of your body by staying hydrated, eating well, and getting enough sleep are HUGE factors when it comes to making sure you can perform at your highest level. Research shows that paying attention to these components of your health can also decrease the risk for injury!
If you have any questions or would be interested in more specific soccer specific fitness drills, stretching, and nutrition information, feel free to contact Omaha Physical Therapy Institute, PC at 402.934.8688.
Good luck to everyone at tryouts!
Contributors to article: Sara Loeffelholz, PT Katie Cordery, PT