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Cal South E-News // October 2009 PERFORMANCE TRAINING

October 19, 2009

Performance Training and Injury Prevention content provided exclusively by Velocity Sports Performance

Getting A Leg Up on the Competition

by Ken Vick
Executive Sports Performance Director/Co-Owner
Velocity Sports Performance, Redondo Beach, Irvine & Santa Clarita

Along with another of our Velocity Sports Performance coaches, I spent a few weeks recently as the Performance Coach for the US Women's National Team. As we evaluated the players and talked with them about their training, one of the glaring needs was increased strength and stability on a single leg. This is something we also see in younger developing players. The good news is that any player can improve it.

One element of our Velocity training programs is to develop all aspects of single leg strength and stability. Optimal performance on the soccer field requires development of a number of different qualities including:

• Stabilizer strength in the legs, hips and core
• Explosive strength
• Eccentric strength - the ability to absorb forces
• Reactive strength

One of the problems we encounter in athletes is that they have a program that develops some of these qualities, but not all of them. In soccer, if you don't address all four, your performance will suffer in speed and agility, and your risk of injury will increase. Here are four exercises designed to help develop each of these qualities:

Stability -
Single Leg Squat

Maintain your core, hips and knee alignment as you slowly squat down to a box on a single leg. Stand back up explosively without any shifting.

Maximal -
Bulgarian Split Squat

With one leg elevated behind you on a bench, slowly lower into a deep squat position. Maintain core, hip and knee alignment and keep your heel down. Hold for a second in the bottom, and then explode up.

Eccentric -
Single Leg Landings

Using a cone or a hurdle, practice jumping and landing on a single leg. It's important to have a soft and smooth landing that drops into at least a half squat, while still maintaining your alignment.

Reactive -
Hexagon Agility

Using a hexagonal pattern, progressively work around the hex by jumping out and back in over each line on one leg. You should work in both directions.

The key is in developing well-rounded strength and movement qualities on a single leg. This will help you move faster on the field, and also prevent you from being on the bench with an injury. Stay in the game by training smart on one leg!

Ken Vick is an expert in athletic development and the Executive Sports Performance Director/Co-Owner of Velocity Sports Performance in Redondo Beach, Irvine and Santa Clarita. He has worked with thousands of athletes, including players from the US National Soccer team, Olympic Medalists, NFL, NHL, NBA and college and youth athletes.

About Velocity Sports Performance:
Velocity Sports Performance is a national network of training centers where athletes of all sports, ages and skill levels go to improve their core athletic skills - speed, power and agility. Athletes train in small groups with degreed and certified performance coaches. Velocity Sports Performance is the Official Performance Training Partner of Cal South Soccer. Players who train with Velocity Sports Performance can expect to get to the ball quicker, cover more of the field faster, increase their shot power and reduce their chances of injury. Velocity Sports Performance has training centers throughout Southern California including Irvine, Redondo Beach, Anaheim, Carlsbad, San Diego, West LA and Santa Clarita.