Disclaimer: While we are given some opportunities by the NCAA - some of which are described below - their rules are still ridiculous and counteractive to the wellness and success of soccer players!
It is rare to come across a situation where "best practice" is 100% applicable to any one situation. "Best practice" really should be unique each individual situation and the complete environment about it.
When speaking with an old colleague while I was at home in England over Christmas, we got on to talking about muscle strains. We have had very few here at ETSU over the past few seasons. A fraction of what is happening at the professional level. Yes I feel that we do do a good job with our strength training and managing fatigue, but really we do have something else to be thankful for (in this regard).
I have bashed the NCAA many times. It's rules, specifically with regards to soccer, limit development as athletes and players. However, IF, and it is a big IF, the player do buy in to your program, the opportunity to "build the engine" with general training is great.
I firmly believe that the ability to perform general training has a huge role to play in limiting the incidence of preventable injury. If this chance is seized strongly by the SCCs, coaches, and of course the athletes, then progress is bound to follow. Naturally, coaches are going to focus on the fall season. But the work has to be well underway by this point (with returning players) to take advantage of the physical oppurtunities presented to us.
The term "general training" could be taken many ways - and it is not the scope of this blog to define it in depth (maybe in future writings). What I do want to be taken away from is that doing 100% "sport specific" work (playing the game and little but...) all year every year is only going to exacerbate the injury problems in the game.
The always strained face of
Darren "Sicknote" Anderton
Going back to best practice. We can only handle the cards in which we are dealt by the powers that be. Christmas break, the first half of the spring when we are not playing games, and the summer are times for us working in college soccer to develop the athlete that can then help them become better soccer players and avoid injuries that plague world soccer such as Dazzaandertonitis.