Five Myths about Strength Training for Youth Soccer Players: How to Develop Soccer Power, Strength, and Fitness

These 5 myths about strength and conditioning are common in youth soccer fitness training.

This is essential if your child wants to improve their power, speed, and fitness on the soccer pitch.

Myth 1: Soccer can be endurance or “cardio” so you should do a 20-30 minute jog to improve your soccer fitness.

Truth is that soccer is both a speed and power sport. Going out with your child for a 20-30 minute run is not the best way to train for soccer. It will make them weaker and more susceptible to overuse injuries. The current solution for soccer fitness is short burst interval training.

To maximize your child’s long-term conditioning, you should find a soccer program that incorporates interval training.

Myth 2: Standing up and crunching will tone my stomach, and strengthen my “core”.

Truth: Absdominal exercises like sit-ups, crunches and abdominal machines are the least effective way to build the core. They are more harmful than beneficial. Sitting ups can increase pressure on the “jelly discs” in the back. This can lead to back problems over time.

Myth 3: Growth plate damage can be caused by weight training or lifting weights. Weight lifting will stunt growth. Truth: Unsupervised weight training can cause live score growth plate injuries. Correct form, technique, and progression are key to soccer athletes who do strength training and resistance training with greater skill and dominance on the soccer field.

Myth #4: Children shouldn’t start weight training until they turn 14 or 15.

Truth: It is completely false. When people think about weight training, most people think of bodybuilding. An 8-year-old boy or girl may begin a soccer resistance training program that has significant benefits.

Myth 5: My child is going to become “bulky” or lose their ability to move on the soccer field.

Truth is, this is completely false. Both young soccer boys and girls can improve their body composition, overall health, and performance on the field by creating a well-designed program. These are the components of a youth soccer power and strength program:

1) Preventing anterior cruciate ligament tear. i.e. Single leg squat
2) Activities that are similar to the ones on the soccer pitch. i.e. Lunges
3) Total body exercises to build base strength. i.e. Squats
4) Power-building exercises i.e. A progressive plyometric jump program
5) A conditioning program that includes sprints and intervals
6) Practices that involve stop-start and change of direction.
Sound nutrition guidelines i.e. Pre- and post-training and game meals.