JustKickin’it Podcast: What is the biggest mistake that strength coaches make when they start to work with soccer players?
Andrew: I’m very much from the view that we need to be optimally strong and not maximally strong. Yes, there is a place where players need to add a bit of size but sometimes we go all out and start incorporating powerlifting and body building when that is probably a little bit the other end of the spectrum. If a player is carrying too much mass, they are probably going to lose it somewhere else. That is probably the biggest mistake that I see. Also, not having a holistic view and realising that it’s not all about the strength work as well. There is other work that needs to be done. There are so many qualities; your speed, your strength, your power. While they are all interrelated, they all take different kinds of training and that has to be factored into one week which cannot be easy at times.
JKP: Well, it’s funny. Something that you just brought up there. Brian and I talk about all the time the misconception between size and strength. A lot of times you’ll hear coaches say “make him or her bigger”. Can you talk a little bit about that fallacy where being bigger and having more muscle mass doesn’t necessarily mean that 1) you can use that strength and 2) that it is useful.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. I was talking to someone last week about this where there needs to be some sort of transfer into the game (what you do in the gym). I’ve seen a lot of players, mainly on the men’s side, that want to be big or massive and do body building style training with as many protein shakes to be big but what I say to them is “yes, you might need that bit of size but you must transfer it into the game. You have to be able to turn it into power and exert force. If you want to run quicker you’ll need to exert more force.” Going back to Newton’s 3 laws. It can be a tricky conversation to have because let’s be honest a lot of people want to look good. The way I try and spin that is that it is functional to your game. Your training should end up that you look great but also you’ll transfer that into a game and that’s far more important. It’s far more important to be strong for the game rather than strong so you look good for the beach.