Stretching increases flexibility, prevents injuries, and improves performance.
Most players stretch wrong.
They stretch before playing (use soccer warmup drills instead), hold stretches for the wrong length of time, and do the wrong stretches for soccer.
This guide will teach you how to stretch properly to develop flexibility and provides 6 of the best stretches for soccer players:
How to Stretch Properly
You should feel a slight strain when you stretch. You are stretching too far for your current flexibility if you feel pain.
Repeat each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds for 3 to 6 sets. Rest for 10 seconds between each set.
6 Soccer Stretching Exercises
Stretching may seem boring at first, but over time you will start to enjoy the feeling. When you see improvements in your game you will be motivated to continue stretching regularly.
Use these 6 stretches to unwind and relax after training sessions, games, and practices:
Building quad flexibility will increase your power and speed. It will prevent a quad tear or strain (horrible injury). Use this stretch:
Stand up and curl one of your legs towards your butt. Grab your foot (on the curled leg) and pull towards your butt. Repeat with the other leg.
Tight hips will limit your effectiveness as a player. You will be slower and limited in movements.
Tight hips will force you to overcompensate with other muscles (causing injuries) so perform this stretch regularly to loosen them up:
Lie on your back and lift one leg towards your chest. Cross your opposite leg (your foot should touch a little above the knee of your non-crossed leg).
Pull your non crossed leg towards your chest. You will feel a stretch in your hip. Reverse and repeat.
A pulled or strained groin is a frustrating injury. It can take a while to fully recover, and it’s often strained or pulled again and again.
Use this stretch to prevent this annoying injury and improve your movement on the pitch:
Sit down and pull your legs close to your body. Your feet should touch. Lean forward and push down on your knees with your elbows.
Tight calves will decrease speed and make jogging with proper technique difficult.
Tight calves will get pulled, strained, or torn. Avoid injury by performing this stretch:
Stand up and raise your foot so your heel is touching the ground. Lean down and try to touch your foot. Try to touch the ground once you can touch your foot. Repeat.
Your hamstring helps you sprint and kick a ball. Developing hamstring flexibility will improve your technique and speed.
Pulling or straining a hamstring is common, painful, and will put you out for weeks or months – depending on the severity of the injury. Avoid injury and boost performance with this stretch:
Sit down. Cross one leg and straighten the other. Try to touch your straight leg’s foot. Reach for the space beyond your foot once you can tough it. Repeat on the other leg.
6. IT Band
The IT band is rarely stretched. This is unfortunate, considering it’s important for moving around the soccer field effectively.
A tight IT band can result in IT band tendinitis (a painful injury that takes months to heal) and other injuries due to overcompensation of other muscles. Try this stretch to loosen your IT band:
Stand facing a wall. Put both hands on the wall and cross your legs. One leg should be ahead of the other.
Move your hips in the opposite direction of your leading leg. If your right leg is leading, move your hips left and vice versa. You will feel a good stretch. Switch leading legs and repeat.