Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Dynamic stretching trumps static stretching for kicking a soccer ball

March 4th, 2011

A pretty straightforward study from researchers in Malaysia, just posted in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. They took 18 professional soccer players and analyzed their kick on three separate days, after a warm-up that incorporated static stretching, dynamic stretching, or no stretching. Their range of motion during the kick was 1.67 degrees worse after static stretching and 8.38 degrees better after dynamic stretching compared to the no-stretch condition, a difference that was significant with p<0.01. Since higher range of motion correlates with greater angular velocity in the kick, the researchers conclude that dynamic stretching is better than static stretching for soccer players.

Here’s how they describe the dynamic stretches used:

Subjects performed the dynamic stretches… for 30 seconds at a rate of approximately 1 stretch cycle per second… The dynamic stretches used involve the Quadriceps femoris (quadriceps); Lateral lunge (adductors); Hip extensors (gluteals); Hamstrings (hamstrings); and Plantar flexors (gastrocnemius) described in Yamaguchi and Ishii.

Err, thanks for that. Fortunately, Yamaguchi and Ishii actually have a pretty helpful description:


Soccer science

June 14th, 2010
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When I went out for my run this morning, Sydney seemed like a ghost town: empty sidewalks, tumbleweed blowing down the streets, etc. The only signs of life were in the pubs, which had been open since 4 a.m. for the Socceroos’ Monday-morning World Cup debut. Inside, people were huddled quietly over their empty schooners, absorbing their 4-0 loss to Germany.

In that spirit, a couple of good recent articles on the science of soccer:

– Ross Tucker of The Science of Sport has started a series on the physiology of soccer. The first installment offers a good profile of what it takes to play a full game: running 10 to 15 km, including between 80 and 110 sprints, and so on. I had a chance to chat with Ross for a couple of hours last week for an upcoming article — a very interesting guy with lots of insight, as you can gather from the blog.

– A very thorough round-up of recent research on the psychology of the penalty kick, by Andrew Keh of the New York Times. As I write this, Ghana has just taken the first penalty kick of the tournament, scoring to defeat Serbia — but we’ll be seeing a lot more of these when we reach the elimination rounds. One of the most interesting observations:

Kick takers in a shootout score at a rate of 92 percent when the score is tied and a goal ensures their side an immediate win. But when they need to score to tie the shootout, with a miss meaning defeat, the success rate drops to 60 percent.

“This to me is the key finding of all our studies,” said Geir Jordet, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo who has analyzed shootouts with fervor. Jordet also found that shooting percentages tend to drop with each successive kick — 86.6 percent for the first shooter, 81.7 for the second, 79.3 for the third and so on.

“It demonstrates so clearly the power of psychology,” he said