The Myths Regarding Male and Female Players

Strength and Fitness Training has always been a point of contention among soccer players and coaches, alike. For years the argument went, “Soccer is played with the legs, and we run enough. Nothing else is necessary!”

Well, to that I say, “Beans!”

As you are by now well aware, the contention regarding whether soccer players should engage in soccer-specific strength and fitness training goes much deeper than whether soccer players need strength training or not, the argument as to whether female athletes would benefit from such training has also been hotly debated. Their can be little doubt, given the findings of several recent studies by such prestigious institutions as the Cleveland Clinic, that the benefits are many and there are really no disadvantages whatsoever!

The fact is, the belief that soccer players were fit enough and strong enough without soccer-specific strength and fitness training was completely wrong. It has been proven, not only in the lab but on the pitch, soccer players play better, are more fit, are a more formidable force on the pitch, play with more confidence and assertiveness, and can do things they couldn’t do before a strength and fitness program was integrated into their training routine; and, they are less injury prone!

It is a well known fact that female soccer players suffer a greater number of knee injuries than their male counterparts. There are myriad reasons for this difference and we will address many of them as we progress. The interesting thing about this, as it pertains to this article, is that female athletes who have engaged in a regular, supervised soccer-specific strength and fitness program were 73% less likely to sustain a career shortening or career ending knee injury! The statistic, supported independently by several studies, is staggering and puts to bed once and for all the notion that soccer players, male or female, need not engage in regular strength and fitness training.

The data supports the notion that sex-specific and soccer-specific strength and fitness training not only helps the athlete develop into a better athlete but it keeps the athlete playing longer by significantly reducing the incidence of injury. There can be little doubt that such a training strategy benefits the players, the coaches, and even the fans by keeping their favorite players on the pitch that much deeper into their careers.