When working with large teams, as a coach, there are always opportunities and various methods to incorporate some sort of strength training, mobility work, and stretch circuit daily. Nowadays, it seems that sport-seasons are a year-long event for younger athletes as there is a philosophy that playing the same sport is in the best interest of kids. I will gladly disagree as using the same movement patterns associated with that sport are not conducive to adequate skill requirement for later years. Most of top athletes in sport today played multiple sports during their younger years. I also have a soccer background and know many who played club or travel soccer all their lives and the schedules were brutal and most of that time is spent simply playing soccer, more specifically, the attitude is typically one that believes playing with a ball (juggling, dribbling, shooting) constantly is only needed to make the higher levels. What most may forget is that anything that is repetitive as specific movements for a sport (soccer-kicking, hockey-skating/rotational movements) can lead to overuse of these patterns and consequently, overuse of the require musculature.
One of the best ways to increase players longevity (staying healthy), strength, power, and movement quality is to incorporate just those same qualities at the end of a training session. It may be one of the best things that coaches can do if they really care and want the best out of their players. The question becomes, “What can we do at the end of our session to make it worthwhile?” If there are funds to buy 1 foot foam rollers (only 8$ for the one foot long), then please do so. Improving soft-tissue quality is one of the most overlooked aspects in keeping athletes healthy and buying a 8$ foam roller will drastically help. Perform Better has the most durable ones here. If you do not have a roller, even a lacrosse ball works well, but it can be a lot more intense since the ball is smaller and more dense than the roller.
Here is some exercises and progressions to what you can do if there is no equipment and practice is almost done.
Foam Roll (10 slow rolls-approx. 30s each body part)
- Front thigh
- Lateral thigh/IT band
- Adductors (groin)
- Lateral Hamstring
- Glutes/External Rotators
- Upper Back (between shoulder blades)
- Lats & Posterior Shoulder
A1) Split Squats (3x sets)
- Front knee stays over the ankle, drop back knee straight down, chest tall
- Week 1: 8 reps/side, add 2 reps each week for 4 weeks.
- Regressions- Bodyweight Squatting–>BW Squats w/ Miniband around knees, Split Squat Isoholds (do 5-10s/holds per side for a total of 20-30s/leg)
- Progressions-after at least 4 weeks of great form, incorporate pauses at the bottom (ex. 3s hold) or rear foot elevated split squats (back foot on bench)
A2) Incline Push-Ups (3x sets)
- Use a bench on the field : Week 1: 8 reps, add 2 reps each week for 4 weeks or go 8, 8, 10, 10.
- Butt and belly tight, elbows tucked, chin tucked, lead with chest down to bar, no hip sagging at all
- Regressions-Push up isoholds (hold at top of push up position for desired time), if you find something higher than the fence, do it.
- Progressions- once incline push-up is mastered, you could either add in pauses at bottom (2-3s), do negatives (lower in 3s then up in 1s) or start doing normal push-ups
A3) Side Planks (3x sets)
- Ankle through ears in straight line, butt tight, belly breathe the entire time, elbow under shoulder
- Regressions-bend knees and then go up
- Week 1&2: 10s/side Weeks 3&4: 15s/side
- Progressions-Feet Elevated Side Plank (feet stacked on bench). Same time principles apply
B1) Inverted Reach (3x sets) rep progressions are the same as above
- Slight knee bend, get as long as possible from arms to foot, keep chin tucked, weight shifted towards heel. Pull through heel and squeeze butt to return to start position.
- Regressions-learn normal hip hinge with two feet (could use inverted reaches and part of warm-up)
- Progressions-if anyone has 5 pound plates or something to hold in hands, use it.
B2) Prone T or W holds (10-15 2s holds)/1 or 2 Leg Glute Bridges (20s holds or 8-15 reps w/ 2s pause) – 3 sets
- Since there is no weights then this will have to do for now.
- Prone T holds-chin tucked, thumbs up, butt tight, squeeze shoulder blades back and down, do not arch lumbar spine
- Glute Bridges- feet straight, squeeze butt cheeks together for desired time or reps. Do not arch through lower back and drive heels into the ground/1-Leg version: Knee up to chest, toe pointed up to shins, drive through heel, do not leg hips sag or twist
B3) Front Planks (3x sets) holds can last anywhere from 20-30 seconds or can be broken up into 2-3 10s holds
- Legs locked straight, butt tight, chin tucked, breath through your belly
- Progressions-you can either elevate the feet or do front plank marches where you lift one leg a few inches off the ground, then drop, and alternate between legs
- Regressions- front planks on bench (forearms on bench)
These are very simple exercises but they need to be addressed at a young age and the better you can get them moving with these exercises the better they will be able to progress and move more weight as they get older. It is about moving well not necessarily more. Hope the program provide some simple insight into a training session without equipment as well as some proper progressions. Thanks for all the people who had videos of the exercises, I think I need to get a camera for myself!