Regular workouts are a must for soccer players, who need to stay in top physical condition year-round to do their best on the field. If your kid can’t make it to the gym, working out at home is the obvious choice -- where he/she can create his/her own alternative program for soccer success.
The best way to improve the vital skill of ball control is to practice ball mastery drills -- which are so easy to do at home. Your player should perform inside and outside circles, dribbling the ball in a circle using either the inside or outside of his/her foot. Your child needs to keep the ball moving yet controlled in a small area with a freestyle dribble. He/she will keep the moving tap-tap going with insides of his/her feet to pass the ball quickly between them, continuously hopping from one foot to the other. Practice juggling -- tapping the ball up repeatedly with his/her feet -- as well. Soccer players move the ball with the knees, chest or head as well as their feet, so practicing juggling with these areas can work to your kid’s advantage on the field.
Soccer players need lower body and core strength exercises and even arm strength to balance well. Certain exercises rely only on your kid’s body weight for resistance, so your player doesn’t need any special equipment to do them. Pushups and planks work your child core, shoulders and arms, and he/she can do variations on these as well, such as side planks or one-handed push-ups. Squats and lunges work the lower body, and these can also be slightly altered by performing jump squats and lateral and reverse lunges to work different muscles. Doing a workout that includes 30 seconds to one minute of each of these will take about 20 minutes if your player does each exercise twice. He or she needs to move immediately from one exercise to the next, but give one minute of rest between the first and second round.
Your player can easily perform plyometrics drills at home to achieve improved explosiveness, and thus vertical jump and kicking power -- vital traits for a soccer player. These drills consist of a lot of jumping, hopping and bounding exercises, and proper landing with bent knees is essential to lessen the impact. Forward and lateral bounds can be done by leaping forward or side to side, while jumping up and jumping down drills are done using a step or box. T-hops are done by hopping with two feet in a T pattern, forward and back and side to side.
To work on the agility at home, perform cone drills. Your player needs to set up a line of cones -- or use items he/she has on hand -- spacing them about 2 feet apart. He/She dribbles the ball as fast as he or she can, weaving in and out of the cones from one end to the other. Another version that focuses on turning and cutting requires two rows of six cones each, spaced so your child can run diagonally between them. Starting at the first cone, run to the next cone on the opposite row, turning or cutting to switch directions. Skipping exercises and speed leader drills can also improve agility. For the ladder drill, create a ladder using rope or chalk and hop or leap from side to side or front to back.
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