There are several dynamic movements that can be added in to your existing pre-game or practice warm-up routine. Start with plyometric activities to get the heart rate up and increase muscle temperature. We encourage you to use soccer balls as much as is possible during these routines: –
- Tuck Jumps (3×20 seconds). Hold the ball in front of you with your arms out. Jump legs up into tuck position. Land correctly.
- Lateral Hop Over Ball (3×20 seconds). Ball on the ground, hop from one side of it to the other.
- Forward/Backward Hop Over Ball (3×20 seconds). Similar to previous but starting behind or in front of the ball.
- 180 Degree Jump Turn (15 on each leg). Groups of 3, 2 on outside with ball. Middle person receives it out of the air and volleys back to partner, does 180 turn, repeats volley from other partner. Advanced players can do it all on one leg.
It is also important to do strength training during some practices to help develop the muscles that can prevent non-contact ACL injuries. Strengthening activities include:-
- Walking Lunges (forward and backward). Keep the front knee behind the front toe so you don’t put too much pressure on the knee. Have the back knee almost touch the ground each time. Add in a knee tuck.
- Single Leg Bidges (4×15 seconds). Looks almost like a push up position, with one foot resting on top of the other one. Elbows on the ground. Hold the position for 15 seconds, working the core to maintain balance.
- Plank with Leg lifts (2×30 seconds). Flip over from previous, shoulders on ground and one foot flat on the ground. The other leg is parrallel to the rest of the body, pointing at 10-20 degrees elevation, arms by sides on the ground.
After the plyometric and strengthening activities can come the agility activities (or these could be before strength training if they have not had long enough to warm up). Lay out all of the activities with cones so you can quickly move from one to the next: –
- Forward/Backward Shuttle Run (x4 each). 4-5 stations, 8 yards distance between each cone.
- Ladder or Cone Drills (4-5 patterns). If you have ladders, use them here. If not, use cones to get the same movement. Give players one pattern to try at a time, build in complexity.
- Box Drill (x3 minimum). 5×5 cone box which players go around the outside of. Spint forward, shuffle sideways, backpedal, shuffle sideways. Can add a ball to the side shuffle parts. Have 2-3 people in each box.
There are thousands of other exercises you can add to these or variations to the ones we have suggested. We encourage you to read some books, watch some DVD’s, and attend some courses where professionals go through more detailed routines.