By Zoid Fitness Team on Dec 10, 2019 11:13:00 AM
Soccer is a sport that is beautiful in its simplicity, which may have something to do with its rising popularity. In fact, some predict soccer may soon displace baseball as America's 3rd most favorite sport, which, as far-fetched as that may once have sounded, is likely due to its increased attention from younger athletes.
However, this does not mean that only kids are playing it, or that only they can benefit from its training techniques. This is because soccer is not only a sport which can be played nearly anywhere and with minimal equipment, it also requires a great deal of speed, agility, balance and finesse to be competitive in.
And, these are all attributes which can not only help you be better in other sports, but in improving your daily balance, poise and finesse while reducing your risk for accident as well.
Adding Soccer Agility Drills to Your Training: 11 Great Reasons
You don't need to play soccer to enjoy its benefits, which include the supreme fitness that running up and down a pitch for 90 minutes and for an average of 7-miles per game produces. However, the nature of the game also means that it isn't merely 7 miles of casual jogging, but rather, 7 miles of hard sprinting, slowing down, sprinting and slowing down again--an HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, in other words.
And, it doesn't stop there since soccer players need to constantly change directions, use their entire body to stay balanced and have the speedy reflexes to react with the ball and opposing competitors. This keeps the challenges of training for soccer high and intense, since only those in top physical shape can keep up with such grueling demands. This includes keeping the small supportive muscles and tendons in leg joints strong and supple to keep up with the demands of your much larger and more powerful leg muscles to avoid injury.
And, here are 11 more great reasons to add soccer agility drills to your workouts, whether for improving your play in another sport, reducing your risk of injury, or simply being in your best possible shape even if you don't play sports:
- My, what big lungs you have!--It is without doubt that cardiovascular health is important in most sports. Even a low (physical) intensity sport such as golf requires aerobic fitness to swing clubs, walk the course and yell "Fore!" before slicing into the woods. Add in tossing clubs in frustration and climbing out of sand traps, and you have some pretty reasonable need for cardio fitness on the course. In all seriousness, pumping up your cardiovascular fitness through soccer agility drills not only gives you better endurance and power against the competition, it is also essential in avoiding chronic diseases such as heart attack, stroke and COPD. Plus, extra oxygen means more for your brain to use since it requires around 20% of your body's supply. This helps you think better and more clearly while avoiding age-related cognitive decline.
- It makes you smarter--Okay, let's dispel the myth of the dumb jock, since in addition to boosting levels of brain-friendly oxygen, agility drills usually require memorization and concentration to go along with other physical aspects. And, this makes you smarter! For instance, in a recent Air Force Research Lab study, military personnel were divided into two groups, one of which performed "standard" physical training such as jogging or calisthenics while the other performed agility drills. The study was performed over a 6-week period, and while both groups improved their endurance and fitness by the end, the group performing agility drills also improved memory and concentration along with their athletic footwork. According to study coauthor Erica M. Johnson, PhD, this is because "Agility training incorporates components of learning, focus, balance and coordination," and this type of training stimulates rich connections through multiple brain regions causing them to work together. In other words, next time you have an important test to study for, you may want to add agility training to your cram-sessions!
- It helps you avoid burnout and plateaus--Nothing is worse than falling into an exercise rut in which workouts become boring and you find yourself working harder than ever only to see your performance flat line. However, soccer agility drills can help, since not only do they provide a variety of footwork, balance and coordination drills to keep things fresh every day, they also work your muscles in new and different ways. This keeps things fun and fresh while getting you past those frustrating plateaus and helping you reach your next level of fitness.
- It makes you a better American football player, basketball player, baseball player, runner...--Most of the skills you pick up with soccer agility training can help you in other sports. For instance, quick, agile feet can make you harder to tackle than a greased pig on the gridiron, and an improved sense of balance and coordination can help you nail those off-balance fade-a-way jumpers despite a face-full of defenders. Even trail runners can benefit from soccer agility work since having light, fast, nimble feet can make the difference between gliding gracefully over rocky terrain or doing a face-plant. In fact, no matter the sport, so long as it requires footwork and athleticism there is a strong chance soccer agility exercises can help make you better at it.
- It makes you a better dancer--Don't knock it! Good dancers are lithe, agile and light on their feet, which are all aspects soccer agility drills can help to improve. By helping your ankles and knees stay strong for lightening-fast direction changes, agility drills will have you dancing hot salsa while looking as graceful as a swan--not to mention giving you the endurance to boogie the night away!
- It improves your on-field decision making--Having the ability to change direction more quickly than your opponent means having extra decision-making time. This means more effective dekes, quicker getaways, and more opponents left sprawled on the turf wondering how you just burned them yet again? This is because soccer agility drills not only make you nimble, but also strong and fast. Add in the memory, concentration and brain-friendly oxygen supply which agility training boosts, and on-field decision-making becomes a snap. Altogether, this gives you the rapid thought and extra split-second of time necessary to go left while your opponent is committed to right, and the results speak for themselves.
- It lights up body fat--Got an extra pound-or-so to burn away? The same HIIT workouts which keep soccer players fast, agile and lean can turn you into a fat-burning machine. This is because HIIT involves intense bursts of energy followed by periods of active recover which activates both fast and slow-twitch muscles. This not only accelerates calorie burn during your workout, but long after as well--even when you have your feet up relaxing later that night.
- It helps keep you injury-free--The type of directional drills involved in soccer agility training don't just strengthen thighs, calves, hips, etc, but the small supportive muscles and tendons in the ankles, hips and knees as well. This makes joints stronger and less prone to hyper extension, strains and sprains. Plus, by improving reflexes, quickness and balance, soccer agility drills can reduce your risk of injury from accident--not to mention dazzling everyone around you with your nimbleness, grace and poise.
- It keeps your bones strong--Your bones need weight-bearing exercise to stay strong, which the up-and-down motion of running, stopping and running again provides. Since your bones are living tissues, they also benefit from the the increased blood flow and oxygen uptake your body gets through exercise. Plus, with your added coordination, balance and foot speed, there is less chance of you falling and breaking a bone.
- It can be performed nearly anywhere--Soccer agility training is a lot like soccer in that it can be performed nearly anywhere there is an area open enough to run and move around in. This includes your backyard, city parks or even parking lots or school playgrounds. Since agility training equipment such as Zoid's ultra-versatile agility tool can be easily transported and set up almost anywhere, you have the freedom to take your workouts along with you when you travel, or simply want to take an exercise break during your day.
- It's fun--Of course, one of the best reasons to add soccer agility drills to your training is also the best reasons for you to do most anything: for fun! Sure, you can look at your training as a regimented grind meant only to help you reach certain goals, although who wants to do that? By adding elements of creativity and allowing you to take your workouts into the great outdoors (or almost anywhere else), you have the option of meeting your goals without turning your workouts into a second job. No, this doesn't mean that soccer agility training is all fun-and-games since you still need to put in the physical effort to see results, although think about it: you're training to play a game, so shouldn't your training be a game as well? By using Zoid's unique agility tool, the number of patterns and workouts you can come up with are limited only by your imagination. You can also add the fun of competition when you train with a partner and challenge them to agility races, or you can see how many different patterns you can memorize and master on your own. The bottom line is, agility training almost never falls into the category of mundane exercise such as jogging on a treadmill or doing yet another rep on the bench press. By including elements of the games it is helping you train for, it becomes a game in itself--and a game with loads of benefits at that!
Yes, soccer is a beautifully simple game which requires great deals of agility, speed and balance to excel in, and Zoid makes the perfect agility tool for improving all these attributes. Not only can this make you a better soccer player, but better trail runner, football player, basketball player or even dancer.
In fact, soccer agility drills are one of the best ways for you to stay in top shape for any sport, even if your "sport" is just looking and feeling your leanest and best.
Even better, using Zoid's agility tool means using a tool which is nearly indestructible and can be easily transported to any workout location. It is made using 100% recycled materials so that you can not only feel great following your workouts, but satisfied in knowing that materials which would have otherwise gone to landfills are being put to good use in keeping you fit.
So, why not add soccer agility training to your workout routine to help you reach your next fitness level? With Zoid's agility training system, it is now easier than ever to reap the many benefits of the beautiful game.