Days off are a rarity for the soccer players of the U.S. Women’s National Team. As members of one of the most elite, well-known professional soccer teams worldwide, a demanding training schedule and grueling practice go with the territory. After all, the unparalleled, exceptional success of the USWNT did not come without endless hours of drills, conditioning, and strength training. If you wish to advance your soccer career, you must be willing to train like the pros. Look no further than this list of fundamental yet mandatory methods. With intense dedication and determination, you too can become the next Alex Morgan!
1. A Healthy Diet
Diet is a crucial element in any professional athlete’s daily training regime. Without proper nutrition, soccer players find themselves sluggish, tired, and unable to perform at their highest level of capability.
The USWNT takes pride in eating a healthy, balanced diet both in-season and off. Whether collecting insurance quotes or working on first touches, breaks from their daily, nutritious meals are scarce. When the squad is traveling, they eat meals together prepared for their entire team. Buffet-style lunches and dinners contain nutritious, wholesome foods like eggs, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates.
While training on your own, it is vital to remember that diet is the cornerstone of athletic success. Though easy to forget, what you eat is just as important as your level of activity. If you want to play like the pros, it is crucial to eat like the pros as well!
Any soccer player would agree that foundational drill mastery is what sets the best players apart from the rest. From footwork to ball handling, there is a drill for nearly every soccer fundamental.
You do not have to employ a fancy trainer or even have a partner to train at home. Professionals like Alex Morgan and Allie Long perform a series of pre-established drills at home alone or with a teammate. If a partner is unavailable, try passing to a wall or dribbling around cones like Carli Lloyd. It might not seem like much, but simple, basic drills are how the USWNT members sharpen their game and remain on top.
3. Weight Training
While their practice time consists mainly of perfecting plays and inter-squad scrimmaging, the USWNT also incorporates a fair amount of strength training into their daily routine. Soccer involves an incredible amount of stamina and endurance. So, the women need to maintain their best cardiovascular health to remain active from the beginning of the game through the end.
Dawn Scott, former trainer and fitness coach for the USWNT, believes in a combination of high-intensity interval training, endurance workouts, and weight lifting for peak performance. She believes this blend of activities improves the caliber of play and reduces the potential for injury.
To simulate a typical sweet session performed by the USWNT, begin with a 1-mile run. Next, add cardiovascular agility exercises like squats, lunges, speed skaters, and burpees. Finally, target one muscle group a day, hit the weight room, and focus on strength training of your core. Never forget your core, but rather mimic Carli Llyod’s regimen and incorporate 1,000 sit-ups a day! This schedule may seem excessive, but it’s an accurate portrayal of a day in the life of a USWNT member.
Even the most elite athletes need days off to recover and allow their bodies to rest and heal. This practice is especially applicable to the USWNT. As professional soccer involves an abundance of arduous running combined with constant, brutal physical contact with opponents.
Ice minimizes swelling and inflammation, and yoga is beneficial for relaxing the body and stretching the muscles. Be sure to include recovery exercises to avoid strains, sprains, and exhaustion.
The USWNT may well be the best team in the world. This ultimate accolade did not materialize without many years of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. If you wish to join the ranks of these women, training like one is your first step.