5 Off-Ball Exercises To Do From Home

For a soccer player, 99% of the game happens away from the ball. Here are five off-ball exercises to do from home to help improve gametime performance.

Do you know how long on average a player interacts with the ball in a 90-minute soccer game? About a minute and a half. That means 99% of the time, they are playing without the ball. Yet so much of our training focuses on ball manipulation –controlling, passing, scoring, and so on.

If we train so hard for 1% of game time, how can we put that same dedication into preparing for the rest of the game? These are five off-ball exercises you can do from home to help improve your gametime performance.

1. Backpedal
This is easier said than done. From short bursts to long distances, backpedaling involves several muscle groups often overlooked in team sports. This backwards form of running is a great way to focus on proper development of the hamstring and knee ligaments.
How To:
  • Backpedal between 25 and 50 yards. Lean your torso forward while your hips sit back. Focus on reaching far back with each step to cover as much distance as possible.
  • Perform 4-6 repetitions with 1 minute of rest in between.

2. Acceleration and Deceleration
Most knee injuries occurring during a change of direction. Cutting, stopping, accelerating –these put serious torque on the joints. Training your body to handle these movements on a consistent basis will provide strength and stability.
How To:
  • Accelerate as fast as possible and sprint over a 10-yard distance. When the distance is covered, come to a stop in a ready position as if you were defending an opponent.
  • Perform 6-10 repetitions.

3. 20-Yard Sprint
Train with purpose. Most sprints in soccer occur for a duration of approximately 2.5 seconds –or about 20 yards. Pair this exercise with the previous one to accumulate 120-240 yards of sprints.
How To:
  • Accelerate as fast as possible and sprint over a 10-yard distance. When the distance is covered, come to a stop in a ready position as if you were defending an opponent.
  • Perform 6-10 repetitions.

4. Jumps
Soccer requires athletes to produce power to strike the ball and make tackles. Jumping is one of the simplest exercises someone can perform to increase their power.
How To:
  • Stand tall with your hands on your hips. Jump as high as possible, reset your stance from the top and repeat for 5 repetitions.
  • Repeat for 3-5 reps with 1 minute of rest in between each.

5. Lunge Holds
Deep isometric lunge holds are a great exercise to strengthen the ligaments in the knees and help with stability of the hips/pelvis.
How To:
  • Get into a deep lunge stance by straightening your back leg and leaning into the front leg with your hips at or below knee height.
  • Focus on sinking into the front leg, keep your torso over your front foot and bend the knee forward so it crosses over in front of the toe.
  • Flexion of the knee is key to strengthening the soft tissue of the knee.
  • Hold the stance or slightly oscillate at the bottom and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each leg.
  • Perform 2-6 repetitions per leg and aim for 2-3 minutes of holds per leg.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email