I decided to write my first blog post and something that I am seeing in our culture right now and what may happen in the future...
I have been noticing a growing trend as soccer players are posting on social media for the past six weeks in quarantine. It started out as the toilet paper juggling challenges, then turned into normal juggling challenges, and now is turning into videos of players practicing on drills or doing trick shots. Now, I am not opposed to juggling and the like, but I feel like there can only be so much of it. It just does not translate well onto the field. How often are you juggling the ball on the field to get around a defender? Seriously, please tell me the last time that you have done this in a game???
"But Mike, you forgot to talk about the drills that I am doing now!" Well, no, I didn't forget. I do like that coaches and parents are teaching the soccer athletes drills with quick footwork, I do, but there is one major problem that I am seeing with this. So many of these drills are done in the house or on pavement. This does not work well for when you finally get to play this great game again.
There is a time and a place for everything. Yes, it is fun to work on juggling, but we rarely use it in a game. Yes, footwork drills are great, but you need to practice them on grass. The ball bounces differently on different surfaces and our cleats dig into the grass different that sneakers on pavement.
So...what the hell is the point? There is a thing called sport-specific training. We must train what the sport demands. If not, what the hell is the point? You may be able to do the drill on your carpet on pavement in your basement, but can you still do it at that speed on the field with cleats on?
So please, get out into your backyard or local field and do that training in your cleats and on the field!
"What if I don't have the option of grass close to me?" Then now is a great time to do some cross-training. Build up strength and power in your legs and abs. Work a little on upper body strength. Yes, it all plays into what is going to happen in a game soon enough.
If we don't do any of this the correct way, there is going to be a huge increase of injuries in our athletes when we return to sport. There will be quad strains, there will be Achilles tendonitis, there may even be in increase in ACL tears. Yes, the letters that no soccer player even wants to read: ACL tear. If we don't train with cleats on for 2+ months, when you put them back on and you are not used to the studs digging into the grass, your body won't know what is going on and your risk for non-contact ACL tear is gonna sky rocket.
Please, please, please, use this as a PSA and change the way you are training now! If we don't get back to training on the field with cleats on, we are going to see too many injuries in a short time frame.
Always remember, Strike through the Competition...