Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds.
Static stretches are slow and controlled.
Stretching is part of the pr-practice warm up because it helps to prevent soft tissue injuries.
There are many stretching techniques, but the type that needs to be used before practice is a static stretch.
- Static stretches are slow and controlled positions that are held for 20-30 seconds without bouncing motions.
- The bouncing type stretches are called ballistic stretches and can be dangerous for the muscles and tendons before they are properly warmed up.
Warm Up Guidelines
A short period of stretching should be done first. Again, all stretches should be held for 20-30 seconds. It is important to stretch the main muscles that are going to be used for playing soccer.
The main soccer muscles include the:
- Lower back
After the short period of stretching it is now time to start the warm up jog/run. It is usually best to participate as a team to ensure that all the players are getting the proper warm up their muscles need. The warm up session should slowly increase in intensity and should produce a sweat.
After the warm up jog/run is complete it’s time to stretch again. The second set of stretches should be more concentrated and held for at least 30 seconds. The stretches should be repeated 2-3 times for the same muscles groups that were listed above in the first session of stretches.
Flexibility is another very important factor in injury prevention.
The majority of soccer related injuries occur to the soft tissues:
If soccer players warmed up correctly and their muscles were flexible, then many soft tissue injuries could be prevented!
It’s no secret that soccer players are not known for their flexibility especially in the hips. Due to the strength it takes to run, cut, pass and strike a ball, soccer players develop very strong hip and thigh muscles. If not stretched frequently, the muscles tighten the joint and predispose the soccer player to numerous types of injuries.
For example, many soccer players suffer hip flexor strains due to the tightness in their muscles and the biomechanics of striking a soccer ball.
Soccer players who are more flexible and have a greater range of motion in their soft tissue are much less likely to suffer from a muscle/tendon strain.