- 4 cones about 15 yards wide in a rectangle formation
- Perform the following stretches for 20 seconds:
- right over left, left over right
- stretch your right quad, then left quad
- right leg in, left leg out. Then left leg in, right leg out
- air butterflies
- stretch your right calf, then left calf
Hi, I'm Chai Nakpiban and welcome to basic stretching for soccer. In this lesson, we'll be exploring a basic stretching routine, which should be done after a warm-up routine.
First off, let’s talk about why you should stretch before engaging in a game of soccer. According to Harvard Medical School, “Stretching promotes flexibility and helps your joints maintain a healthy range of motion, and in doing so, also lowers the chances of joint and muscle strain.” With that being said, and along with observation of all professional athletes – stretching will help you perform body movements which typically put more strain on your body than your normal activities.
The basic stretching routine begins with a stretch called “Right over left.” You’ll want to put your right leg over your left leg and slowly go down until you feel resistance. Once you feel resistance, hold it for about 20 seconds and then switch stretching positions. Put your left leg over your right until you feel resistance and then hold it for about 20 seconds. So, we’re doing the same stretch for each leg for the same amount of time.
Next, while standing straight up, pull your right leg behind your body and hold your foot with your hand to stretch your quads. Now, if you have trouble balancing you can put your hand on your partner for some stability. Younger kids tend to start hopping and can lose balance so I would say teach them the hand on your partner trick. Again, hold this stretch for about 20 seconds and then switch legs. This time, hold your left leg and do the same stretch.
The next stretch is called “Right leg in, left leg out.” You’ll want to have your team sit down for this one. First, put both legs out and then fold your right leg in…. and with your left arm, slowly reach toward your left foot until you feel resistance. Once you feel resistance, hold it for about 20 seconds and then switch feet. Same thing with the other foot here – hold it for about 20 seconds and then, we’re ready for our next stretch that everyone loves – butterflies.
For butterflies, while sitting down, put the bottoms of your feet together and form a “butterfly” shape with your knees. Like our other stretches, slowly lower your knees closer to the ground until you feel some resistance. Gravity should be doing the majority of the work here.
The next stretch is an alternative to butterflies. We call this one, “air butterflies.” Like the original butterfly stretch, it also stretches your inner thighs. To do this stretch, squat and point your knees outward. For balance, put your hands on the top part of your foot. To get a good stretch, slowly extend your elbows outward until you feel some resistance and hold it for about 20 seconds.
Finally, we’ll end our basic stretching routine with stretching our calves. For this stretch, get in a pushup position put your left leg over your right leg. With gravity and the pressure of your leg on top of the other, you should feel your calf muscle being stretched. And finally, after about 20 seconds, switch legs and stretch out the other calf by putting your right leg over your left leg and hold for 20 seconds.
This wraps up our basic stretching exercises.Just a few more notes here for coaches – your stretching routine should always be the same throughout practice and games. Getting into a good stretching routine will make your players more flexible and help them get into the mindset that they are about to be giving 100% on the field. Also, to get that roughly 20 seconds of stretching for each exercise, have your team count out loud to 20 for each stretch. These basic stretches should get your players ready to play for each practice and game and should ideally follow your warmup routine.