Soccer plyometrics are a type of specialized exercise regimen designed to improve speed and power, and are normally practiced to improve a soccer player's performance. When done regularly and correctly, soccer plyometrics can improve a player's reaction time, flexibility, and power on the field, which could give them an advantage. Before beginning plyometric training, athletes usually should be in good condition with a regular workout routine in place to help avoid injury. Some exercises routinely used in soccer plyometrics include stretches, jumps, lunges, and kicks.
Plyometric training uses moves to toughen the tissues and train muscles and nerves to build a specific muscle contraction pattern. To accomplish this, plyometric exercises involve muscle lengthening, brief resting periods in the lengthened state, and then a rapid muscle-shortening movement. This creates unity in muscle movement and allows repetition of actions commonly used in sports. Many athletes and trainers also refer to this as "muscle memory training."
The movements involved in soccer plyometrics training largely focus on the leg and core muscles of the body. These exercises normally include jumps, lunges, stretches, and kicks of various types and are usually performed with the use of a soccer ball. Jumps and stretches are performed to simultaneously maximize distance and height, while kicks are used to improve a player's skill with the ball.
Soccer plyometrics are used to harness surges of energy and convert them into power, so the exercises generally involve explosive movements. The main goal is to shorten the time it takes the muscles to stretch and contract. This typically makes the muscles all work fluidly in one motion.
Players of all types and skill level can benefit from soccer plyometrics, and light plyometrics can be performed even by young players with the appropriate supervision. The general rule of any training is the earlier a player begins, the higher the advantage. This training can start off quite simple and change in complexity as a player evolves.
Plyometrics of any kind are not, however, designed to be an athlete's sole workout plan. Instead, this type of workout is typically used in conjunction with a regular exercise regimen. It is best to give plenty of rest time between plyometric workouts and maintain proper nutrition.
When practiced correctly, plyometric regimens can be tailored to each player's current level and desired results. Soccer plyometrics generally should not be attempted before a good warm-up routine and are best performed on cushioned surfaces with cushioned footwear. These precautions can prevent joint and ligament injuries, which can be detrimental to an athlete.