Unleashing the Ultimate
Elaborating more on why Dynamic Soccer Player exists. I would like to explain further as to how exceptional soccer performance can be developed from another perspective, and what was to become a pivotal moment for me not only with regards to how soccer players should be trained, but how the game could progress in the future.
The Shape of Things to Come
For 9 years from 1981 to 1990 I was a member and athlete at Haringey Athletic Club, which at that time produced some of the most talented athletes in the UK, if not the world, and this was a golden age for the club.
I was very privileged to train in the company of many top Olympic sprinters, long jumpers and high jumpers etc, and had the opportunity to learn new and exciting ideas for speed, endurance, strength and power training. These athletes were also talented in other sports, and I would often see them participating in a small 5-a-side soccer or basketball warm up games prior to engaging in their own specific training programs.
It was while watching these highly tuned individuals on a regular basis that I witnessed how well they adapted and executed certain moves within those small sided games especially basketball, and I began to ask, ’What If’ ?
What If…. Soccer players adopted similar training regimes that world class sprinters, long jumpers and high jumpers used into their own training programs ? Techniques that these athletes had been using for nearly 2 decades and which had proved highly effective in their athletic development.
From that moment on I began to envisage the possibilities of a super efficient soccer team / soccer player with good or exceptional soccer skills that could out jump, and out manouvre any opposition in all soccer positions.
A concept that has stayed with me since the mid 1980’s.
Brief History of Soccer Conditioning in the English Football League
Today of course many aspects of this way of training a soccer player has become an integral part at most professional clubs in the English football league, and forms the foundations at both youth and senior development.
This is mainly due to Arsene Wengers appointment and reign at Arsenal back in 1996 when he introduced many cutting edge elements into the game from Europe. Thus paving the way for a total overhaul in coaches and players attitudes towards conditioning and nutrition from a performance point of view.
In all due respects, he can be regarded as the man who invented soccer conditioning in the UK as we now know it. And was instrumental in promoting a more systematic and regimented approach to the professional ranks, and at all levels of soccer.
Before then, and up until the conception of the Premiership in the English football League back in 1993. Soccer training in the UK with regards to proper conditioning was pretty generic to say the least.‘Use your own ideas on creating new ways to improve the function of the body ….the hell with conventional methods and opinions’Bruce Lee
There was no real structure or procedure in its approach as far as specific training was concerned, and important aspects such as SAQ (Speed,Agiity,Quickness) strength, power, and nutrition were more or less non existent.
It was the same very much across the board, whether you played at the top of the old First division or you were bottom in the Forth Division, and from that moment on I began to view the game in a totally different light.
The Need for a More Creative Approach to Soccer Performance
These days soccer conditioning is run on a far more professional level.
Yet I still detect that a large majority of clubs still don’t dedicate enough time and effort to this side of soccer, and are dragging their heels when it comes to innovations that could literally create a new precedence in the game.
My suspicions became prominent when a friend of mine who is also a trainer, mentioned a conversation he had had with a well known Premiership striker. And what this soccer player disclosed to him may surprise some of you.
At the time my friend was training clients at a small private gym and was curious to know why he was working out at the gym instead of at his soccer club. The player then disclosed to him that other than small sided games and tactics there was no proper strength and conditioning programme, and that he was having to seek out a private trainer for that side of his game.
I had always suspected for some time that this particular Premiership Clubs approach to conditioning was not being utilised to its full potential. But I was never the less shocked to hear that there had been nothing in place from the beginning.
If this is the case, and most Premiership Clubs are operating in more or less the same way, especially those mid / bottom of the table. Is it any wonder why the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have dominated our domestic league for so long.
Therefore you must conclude that the top three to four teams in the country recognise the need to invest in carefully constructed programmes, that implement the use of many innovative forms of conditioning.
We all accept that there must be winners and losers every season, but when the usual suspects are involved in relegation battles on a consistant basis. You need to ask questions.
The argument for limited financial resources has always been an excuse for a clubs demise and performance.
Where the main consensus among the majority of struggling club managers is that by signing a world class soccer player or more, is going to make a significant difference to the team. When in reality what is required, is a total overhaul of their conditioning programme.
It is also worth mentioning, that the large sums paid out by the big clubs for certain individuals, is only a perceived value. With regards to how much a particular club or manager may think that a soccer player is worth to his team. Invariably creating bidding wars where you get highly inflated prices.
In most cases, the players concerned are not worth anywhere near the amounts paid.
For far to long now the English Premier league has been fed the ideal that to survive you have to spend big.
Yet there is an abundance of talent in the UK alone and in the lower leagues waiting to be unearthed. Who with a different approach and focus could make a massive difference !
To my mind the secret lies in being more open minded and dedicated to new ways of training. and that if players of all standards really focus on embracing and broadening their horizons to ideas that are outside the box.
Then they can train their bodies to adapt and be more receptive to every conceivable scenario while on the field of play. And have the confidence and physical attributes to more than compete effectively at a higher levels.
Radical Changes for Outstanding Performance
For many years now I have been a great advocate of Cross training.
A form of physical activity that integrates many different disciplines and movement patterns, combined with a variety of holistical and meditational tools. Thus complimenting an athletes performance and creating a higher level of Functional fitness.
Over the pond in the USA, the NBA (National Basketball League) and the NFL (National Football League) are prime examples of how this approach to conditioning has produced highly dynamic athletes and legendary individuals.
Personalities have literally trailblazed their way to amazingly high levels of physical and mental ability, by using many similar techniques and conditioning methods to be found on this website.
Now you may feel that I am going off at a tangeant here, but in simple terms nearly every aspect of movement in whatever other sports or activities you participate in, is intrinsically linked to how you move as a soccer player.
For instance its no coincidence that NFL Legends like Barry Sanders, Hershel Walker and Bo Jackson could move and perform like they did, without incorporating many other elements and conditioning tools from activities other than American Football.
Activities that vastly contributed to how they achieved such incredible feats of sporting endeavour.
To give you an example Hershel Walker
was a 6’1” 225lb football player for the Dallas Cowboys, and he regularly included a multitude of different disciplines into his training regime.
These included:Track and field
where he broke the world record for the 60 yard dash in 6.15secs in 1982 (and nearly qualified for the US Olympic Sprint Team) , Tae Kwon Do (a Korean Martial Art)
achieving 6th degree Blackbelt status, Being part of the USA Bobsleigh team in 1992 and even performing .... Ballet !!
He is now presently competing as a MMA fighter at the age of 47 where he is more than holding his own. And after extensive fitness tests, has been told he has the body of a 22 year old !!
Hershel walker mma interveiw ( the body of a 22 yr old !! )
This attitude more than describes the ethos ofDynamic Soccer Player.Bo Jackson
He is regarded as the greatest college football running back ever. Yet states that even though he will be always be remembered as a NFL Player, to be a successful athlete you must incompass as many facets of sport to excel in whatever you compete in.
is another similar legendary NFL player who had blistering speed and power, and combined both Baseball and Basketball as fulltime occupations.
A Nike ad compaign labelled him as ‘The Patron Saint of Crosstraining.
Barry Sanders probably represents all the physical attributes that you would wish the perfect athlete to possess.
Exhibiting a limitless supply of natural talent and strength.
He demonstrated not only breathtaking speed in a linear plane, but also incredible lateral quickness and agility, to become one of the most elusive and productive players in the game of NFL.
Generally, a great athlete will often have either good linear or good lateral speed, but vary rarely do you come across an athlete who possesses both to such a high degree.
You also have to remember that these players are not small individuals,and that super agility is not normally associated with sportspeople who are tall or stocky.
Also, the NFL players were used to wearing about 25lbs + of body armour that restricted movement, which makes their sporting achievements even more remarkable.
Take a look at the clips below to witness the incredible speed of movement that each of these players demonstrates. And then envisage how you could develop the same kind of ability on the soccer field for whatever position you play.
I strongly believe that training and conditioning your body this way and developing this in your face all round strength and ability will lead to unparalleled performances.
Not only as an individual soccer player but as a team collectively, and will automatically enhance your ball skills as you progress.
You will attain better manoeuvreability and explosiveness and be able to adjust far more efficiently to whatever comes your way. Ultimately achieving playing in the ZONE, a high energy and effortless state that allows you to ultimately play at a spiritual level on autopilot !
Of course, having a great range of ball skills to begin with is very important, but your ability to be able to move dynamically can always compensate for a lack of technical ability. And if you watch live soccer tv regularly, very often you will see soccer players even at Premiership level who do not respond efficiently to various movement demands.
So in other words, a team could be far stronger with players of average skill but with explosive all round ability, than maybe a soccer team with amazing ball skills but average movement.
The situation you will find in most soccer teams is where you have good standard defenders, midfielders and strikers, who are competent in their respective soccer positions. This may be tackling, ball distribution, or goal scoring.
But they have limited ability to adapt to anything out of their comfort zone in the way of movement.
Yet by concentrating their efforts on introducing a more radical approach into their physical conditioning, they will create additional movement patterns. Or to be more specific :
Synaptic Facilitation - ( the repetition of an activity that facilitates the transmission process of neural pathways, that leads to an increase in agility, speed and power )
This is the form of training that many of the sporting elite have adopted stateside, and that will transform soccer playersinto incredibly versatile athletes.
How a Soccer Player can Benefit from the Integration of Multiple Disciplines
The human body as a unit is a very complex mechanism, and in no way shape or form is it designed to perform in any generic fashion or motion.
In fact, such is the rate of sports related scientific research these days, that not a day goes by without some report or website publishing their findings. Revealing that guidelines for fitness that were virtually cast in stone, are now obsolete.
Or, various experts in the field submitting articles and blogs, purporting that they have discovered that the body responds better by executing a certain exercise, that goes against the grain.
One thing i will say though with regards to this website, is that the intergration of the many movement patterns from different disciplines has definitely worked for me.
And at 51 I can move just as good as I did at 21, if not better !
Which brings me further on to how combining different disciplines and movement patterns can lead to effective transitions within sports and primarily soccer.
I would like to state as an example Qi gong ( an ancient Chinese system for conserving and building energy) and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training.
In practical terms both are from opposite ends of the spectrum. Qi gong being a totally relaxed form, concentrating on helping the mind and body to create chi energy through the execution of various simple almost static movements and breathing exercises.
While with MMA you have a combination of raw power and muscular endurance with the body experiencing forces from multiple planes of motion and impact.
When these two disciplines are combined together however, they more than compliment each other. And play a significant role in assisting the body to absorb high impact contact, through breathing and relaxation techniques.
By introducing specific and relevant conditioning concepts from these two disciplines alone, soccer could benefit considerably. Helping a soccer player to respond to random and spontaneous body contact and movement throughout the game, and therefore reduce serious injury.
Just recently, Rugby league clubs have recognised the benefits of this kind of conditioning and have introduced elements of Jujitsu into their training mix. Jujitsu similar to MMA, concentrates on various armlocks and restraining techniques, and has proved very beneficial in scrum situations.
Although these particular techniques are not so prevalent to soccer, they never the less go to show that a little ingenuity can have a big impact.
The Ultimate Soccer Team
Try to imagine each and every soccer player honing their physical and mental ability to exceptional levels. Combined with good / excellent ball skills and a simple but effective playing formation or system.For instance try to imagine having the raw speed and power of Walker and Jackson, combined with the agility and lateral quickness of Barry Sanders.
Now imagine you are a soccer player in a team that contains 9 other skillful ball players, but with the same explosive ability in every position.
In essence this model has the potential to become an impregnable force both in attack and defence.
Of course the tactical logistics of such an arrangement would need careful planning, and there would need to be a certain consideration of compatability for the positions themselves.
Yet there is no reason as to why in the future that soccer cannot ultimately evolve into a full on attacking game and where high scoring is common. A similar approach to basketball but without the double figure scores.
With the advances in sports science this could become more than a reality !!
Breaking Rules and Setting Trends
At the moment the nearest comparison would be the Brazil soccer team, who for decades have indoctrinated a methodology of unique principles into their conditioning programs to produce exceptional players.
Players who are not only of a similar ability and physical prowess but also comfortable in a multitude of situations within a game environment, with and without the ball.
Again this is all down to introducing practical modes of training that at first may seem out of place, yet reap incredible results.
In Brazil for instance, soccer teams are well known for implementing samba and rhythm training into their conditioning programmes together with Capoeira a Brazilian Martial Art.
So why can’t British or European soccer adopt an equivalent to the Brazilian way of conditioning at club and international level ?
In the UK, and especially with English managers, soccer is still more or less stuck in a time warp of the same old beliefs and adages. Advocating that - ‘We must play to our strengths’ whatever they may be. Or the other old cherry of - 'building a team around one particular player'.
Surely it makes more sense in progressing the potential of all soccer players with a ‘can‘t beat um, join um’ attitude, and committing to a completely new way of doing things.
Even if on paper they might seem irrelevant as I’ve previously mentioned.
How many teams do you know who stagnate, using the same methodlogy and attitude to training for years on end, and become to dependant on tactics and skill. Then wonder why they are in the wrong half of the league tables, season after season.
There is also another myth in British soccer that advocates that midfield players and strikers who have similar ability are not compatible when playing together.
Yet the brazil example would tend to suggest otherwise.
Proving that if you develop not just a very good technical side to your soccer skills, and introduce and experiment with conditioning from other activities with time and effort. Then your potential for moving, reacting, improvising and relaxing to almost every scenario during play in whatever soccer positions, will double.
If every soccer player can elevate their conditioning to an exceptional level within the team. Then that will go a long way in helping develop a 6th sense between each soccer player, where everybody knows what the next move is on an almost telepathic level.
That way the age of the super team and soccer player will be just around the corner !
I hope you find much of what I believe in and have explained above, together with the methods within this website as a great source of information. That will add variety to your soccer conditioning programme, and assist you significantly in your progression as a dynamic soccer player. Possibly paving the way to a new wave of thinking and training for soccer players and soccer coaches in the near future.
Yet at the same time it is not my intention to promote most of the methods herein as the ‘be all or end all ‘ on the path to soccer excellence,
As these are only my views which you may or may not agree with, and at the end of the day there is never really a right way or wrong way of doing anything. Especially in the field of sports science which evolves so quickly.
However in my honest opinion and experience many of these concepts have been highly effective for me over a number of years and also for many other sportsmen and women. Where with the right attitude, commitment, and belief, you can genuinely reach heights you probably never thought possible, as an individual soccer player and as a team.
Return to Dynamic Soccer Player Home Page