The issue of strength training for youth players!

03 January 2016 Ben Cartwright No Tags

You’re too slow
You don’t move well enough
You’re too weak

I’m sure everyone knows of a player who has been released by a club for one of these reasons…

What do we do about this?

Is the right support being provided for players to pursue their physical potential?

In my opinion NO.

Physical literacy programs for children supply kids with a foundation of movement skills that can be refined in later life.

I still hear of all the myths that come with strength training and in particular youth strength training.

-It’ll make you slow
-It’ll stunt your growth
-It’s dangerous

That isn’t to say that your going to take an 8 year old with no training history and put a 40kg barbell on their back and make them squat.

You are looking to develop muscular strength as strength is the foundation to build other principles like speed and power!!

You are not going to develop these without getting foundation of strength. No matter how many footwork, ladder & SAQ drills you find on YouTube!

So can we use resistance training with youth players?


As long as the player moves well and doesn’t have any injuries that may cause further problems, a professional periodised individual resistance program can be used.

If kids are allowed to jump out of trees which can result in taking up to 10 times bodyweight through their body on landing then they will be fine coping with a few extra kilograms added safely on certain movement patterns.

Bodyweight training is another area that I see as the foundation for muscular strength. Ido Portal is doing a great job in highlighting the effectiveness of bodyweight training on to performance. His recent work with Connor Mcgregor combined animal flow movements, primal movement patterns and martial arts to create an all round movement continuum for his sport (MMA).

Not that he needed it in the end as not many movements were required in his 14 second fight.

A library of physical attributes is key as part of any Football Conditioning as a way to prepare players for the stresses of the modern game.

To achieve the physical attributes we want from our players (speed, agility, power, ability to change direction, strength on the ball) we HAVE to develop strength first!


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