The most common problem I have in private lessons is “I can’t kick a strong shot.
This is especially a problem for children who have just started playing soccer from first to fourth grade, or children who attend soccer schools but cannot kick a strong shot.
The big difference between a child who can kick a soccer ball hard and a child who cannot kick a soccer ball hard is, as the title say, he or she is able to perform the “stretch-shortening cycle”. This movement is also known as the “stretch reflex,” which means that when a muscle is stretched, it tries to contract on its own.
In this article, I wronte how this movement works when kicking a shot, and how to strengthen this movement.
First of all, the nature of muscles is that they help humans perform various movements by repeatedly “stretching” and “contracting.”
SSC is a physiological principle that combines extension (stretching) and contraction (shrinking) to perform powerful movements.
When it is stretched, it tries to come back stronger and faster. This is a movement very similar to SSC.
Now, I will explain which parts of the body extend and which parts contract when shooting a soccer ball.
As you can see in this photo, the right leg is stretched far back, and the left hand is also stretched far back.
When kicking the ball, the right leg and left hand, which were extended earlier, are moving in the opposite direction.
When you look at kids who can kick a soccer ball hard, they all make the same movements.
The reason why these movements commonly occur is because muscles and tendons have the property of storing elastic energy when they are stretched. In order to release what has been stored up all at once, the stretched muscles immediately try to return in the opposite direction.
However, the question here is, if you want to kick an extremely powerful shot, should you just stretch your muscles as much as possible? This will be difficult even if you try to do something like that. If it stretches any further, you will get injured! This is because your body picks up on this signal and automatically causes a reflex to contract your muscles. This is called a stretch reflex.
Once you understand the above, I will introduce some exercises that will help you maximize your SSC. When you first start playing soccer, you are not used to kicking a ball, so you don’t know how your body should move.
To learn the movements of stretching and contracting, try practicing the movements below.
The key is to avoid bending your body when you swing your legs forward.
Raise your diagonal hand and foot as high as possible.
At this time, without raising your head, raise your arms so that they are higher than your ears. Be careful not to bend your knees too much.
Do the same thing in the opposite direction
The above is the exercise content for beginners that is also taught in private soccer lessons. As a warm-up before practicing shooting, do each exercise 10 to 15 times on each side before shooting, and you will unconsciously use your body to move more efficiently.
First, remember the movement of your body and get used to the feeling of being stretched and contracted.
Previous articles have summarized the technical aspects of kicking the ball strongly, so if you’d like, please refer to the articles below.
(Sorry, the articles below is only in Japanese. English articles are comming soon)
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