Strength is an important factor in both performance and reducing the risk of injury. A recent article in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research identified the importance of strength as a factor in reducing non-contact ACL injuries. Scott Moody at Athlete Fit does a nice job of breaking the article down here. Increasing strength to body weight ratios, especially for taller or heavier players and, strength training combined with neuromuscular training like plyometrics or agility training are correlated with a decreased risk of injury.
Strength is factor in performance as well, helping players start, stop, accelerate, change direction and hold posture and position against an opponent. A study on 112 youth players in Germany found that players who participated in a twice a week strength training program improved their change of direction performance by 5-10%. Jay Williams breaks down the study here. In a nutshell it means gaining an extra yard or two on a cut – a big advantage for any player.
Now that the outdoor season is here it’s important to maintain those qualities. The best players know that. You can see that in this video of the Arsenal Ladies doing their in-season strength work.
Or, this one of AC Milan continuing to work on speed and agility.
A lot of our young players worked hard to develop their strength, agility, speed and skills over the winter. It’s important to maintain that now that the focus has shifted to practices and games. A well designed and supervised program that emphasizes good technique and is developmentally appropriate can make for a safer and more successful season. Do you have a plan to stay strong this season?