Soccer Stretches for Coaches and Athletes

These stretches will take just a  few  minutes after each practice and game, but it’s time well spent. One coach contacted me to say his biggest challenge was parents who would want to whisk their kids away. Yes, we are in a hurry these days. Just email those team parents and let them know you are planning to stretch. This is an important part of their training. Then, welcome them to join you.

Here, in images, are stretches for the field. Remember to hold static stretches for 20-30 seconds to develop flexibility and fully stretch muscles which have been worked.

Hip flexor stretch: Be sure front knee goes no further than the big toe.

Hamstring stretch: Hip is pushed back, leg fully extended and toe up. Be sure both hips are "square" - that is, you're not leaning in.

Quadriceps stretch: Hips square, abdominals tight, pull heel toward glutes. Some like to hold hand in the air or put a finger on the belly button to remind the core to stay strong.

Quadriceps stretch (side-lying option): Support leg is slightly bent for balance. Keep torso straight and tummy tight. This fixes the pelvis in place to isolate anchor the stretch.

Achilles/Calf stretch: Be sure heel is pushed down to the ground and toe is pointed straight ahead. If heel cannot reach the ground, walk feet in and bend more at the waist.

Anterior shin stretch: Toe drags. Push laces toward the ground.

Inner thigh stretch: Use elbows to push thighs away for extra stretch.

Inner thigh stretch (alternative): Hands push from behind to intensify stretch. Added benefit - hamstring and calf can be stretched from this position.

Outer hip/piriformis stretch: I call this the "figure 4" stretch. Elbow pushes crossed knee away while extended leg is pulled in. Be sure hips are square.

Hamstring sit and reach stretch: Reach and hold toes to provide the best hamstring stretch. Can do one leg at a time or use a towel or band to pull.


Soccer Stretches for Coaches and Athletes — 2 Comments

  1. Were these your suggestions for cool downs? Particularly interested in reminding the team(s) to do this after games and practices.

    • Hey Peggy.
      Yes, these should give the girls a good framework for “after game/after workout” stretches. They can also do them as “quick check” (2-5 seconds, not static stretch and hold) stretches pre-game. We talked about this so, hopefully, they remember. They can modify as the conditions and their bodies demand. I always recommend they stretch while the coaches are “chatting up the post game.”

      Multi-tasking. Efficient and effective! Let me know if you have questions or suggestions. Thanks for checking in.