Developmental Progression for Healthy Movement and ACL Injury Prevention
U8 – Goal: Coordination, Body Awareness
Developing their sense of how the body moves. Run, jump, leap, hop. Bend, “sit” frog. Throw, roll. 1 foot vs 2 feet. Balanced movement. Right and left. Learning to separate top and bottom half. (“Enhanced” carioca) Forward and backward. Shuffling, sliding, moving sideways. (Coach cuing emphasis: proprioception, not just visual demo.)
Games: leapfrog, enhanced carioca, “lay an egg”
U10 – Goal: Bi-lateral strength, coordination, balance, body sense/movement and speed
More body control but wide range among athletes. Goal: smooth, balanced movement, bi-lateral, bent knee, hop, skip, jump, “squat” games, Team/Band games create a body-learning environment. Use BBB position – balls of feet, head up — when performing ball skill drills. Take warm up seriously. Build routine. Work on form during the fun.
Games: Obstacle course/Band games, the BBB
U12 – Goal: Body control, agility and quickness, reaction time
Agility, quickness, change of direction, accel/decel, controlling speed and body; jump/leap/bound/ combination movement w/ and without ball; receive touch turn; soften touch accel; defend/tackle position. Game skills WITH safe movement habits in place. Rapidly growth in height/limb length creates additional challenge, require extra patience.
Games: Band games, hop and shove, leap and volley, shove the gamut
U14 – Goal: Dynamic strength, begin power, balance, “injury prevention” (learning)
Game IQ added, skills responding to pressure, opponent, game demands, “load;” Soccer/sport-specific tactics/movement performed at game speed. Tackles and defending. Receiving and sending high balls. Jumping and landing. Movement habits patterned.
Training: Jumping and landing; leap for power, agility using ball; partner Nordic hams, core “throw the feet,” medicine ball
U16 Goal: Dynamic strength, balance, power!, “injury prevention” (application: in play)
U18 – Goal: Endurance, power!, game IQ, relationships/team (partner observation)
- HS challenge: the variability in size, skill, physical development and playing style
- Non-contact ACL risk high. Beware: reckless play will often injure.
- Freshman are less mature physically; more finesse, less force.
ALL AGES: Dynamic Warm for ACL Injury Prevention
- proper form (nonnegotiable!)
- progressive increase in challenge (essential!)
- part of team/club culture (senior players teach junior players?)