SPACE is a soccer specific physical training program created by the Soccerbook Consulting (SBC) technical team and has been used for over 20 years by youth, college and professional soccer players.
SPACE training program helps players improve their speed, agility and power to improve generic athletic performance as well as soccer specific movement and psychomotor skills working through the cognitive, associative and autonomic stages. SBC has developed a program similar to but more soccer specific and detailed than the FIFA 11 model that has been proven to reduce soccer injuries. We take things a step further with more relevant and detailed teaching and techniques which also includes exercises using the ball. The program includes education, training and the delivery of the injury prevention exercises resulting in a significant reduction of injuries.
We coined the acronym SPACE due to the personal zone a player functions in which is usually an arms reach from ones body where most of the game is played- shielding, feeling for an opponent, protecting the ball etc. A players personal SPACE is something they command. Many players do not protect their personal SPACEand therefore get dictated to by their opponent. They may also leave themselves vulnerable to injury.
Technique, skill and tactical understanding of the game are arguably the most important factors in determining the level a player will play at, however physical fitness and prowess are undoubtedly critical components of a players make up. While some players do receive a great deal of instruction already, due to many factors, players don't always dedicate enough time to improving the physical side of their game. Some players players enjoy ample practice time, coaching and competition, but if their bodies and athleticism don’t change they won’t be able to play and compete at their highest level. We all want players who have a great touch and movement but they have to be fit and physically competent enough to execute the skill. As a result of our training players develop lean body mass, reduce body fat, become stronger, and add appropriate athletic muscle. We use and body weight resistance/strength training including balance and agility exercises rather than weight training.
Upper body coordination in girls soccer is an area that needs more attention. It's important having the correct upper body posture both on and off the ball and how it relates to balance prior to and after physical contact and the consequences of incorrect techniques and how they may relate to injury. Arms and hands are the 'antennas' used for ball protection and injury prevention. The positioning of the arms relative to the technique being used determines how the lower body functions and how a player can avoid injury. Young players tend to run with their arms by their sides not extending their arms enough to feel for contact when heading dribbling or passing. As a result their first point of contact is the shoulder or legs which can lead to loss of possession and injury as opponents can collide into them and dislodge them from the ball. We see defenders winning balls that elite/older players wouldnt attempt to win unless they were slide tackling because young players dont protect their bodies or the ball well enough. 'Riding' challenges is something players need much more training on. Players tend to not roll or fall/slide very well either, causing unnecessary injuries as the player tries to regain balance to prevent falling instead of taking the safer option of falling and rolling or sliding.
As the game speed accelerates, so does the potential for physical contact, both deliberate and accidental, thus so does the potential to trip/fall/bump and turn more quickly. Girls lower body stress is magnified by their lack of upper body coordination when turning with the ball . e.g Cruyff turn, Stepover, Cutting (both inside and outside), Step-on etc. Some young soccer players are not fully coordinated because of the way they hold and position their arms/head and shoulders, causing greater stress on the knee joints. In order to fully understand the impacts poor motor skills/poor technique has on a player one must fully understand how to execute these movements and how they impact balance and coordination. The faster and bigger the opponent moving at a higher velocity the more risk there is of players letting opponents get into their playing SPACE and the more likely they are to get injured.
Some coaches and doctors/trainers prescribe strengthening and bulking up rather than recommending mobility and while this builds muscle mass it doesnt address the issue of incorrect technique and thus does not address the real root of the problem. While some weight training is useful it can often have the adverse effect and instead It can produce heavier, slower, less mobile and agile players.
A minor change (bump by an opponent,) can throw off the normal motor pattern. The smart player, coach and parent will insist on performing prevention exercises that teach proper cutting and landing techniques in all players, not just those coming back from an injury. More understanding of how the entire body moves is required in order to become a top level soccer-athlete
SPACE provides personal flexibility and the ability for the athlete to determine a training schedule that is tailored to their individual needs. Sessions can take place before school, on days off and on quieter weekends or before or after practice. We work with the player to ensure the training optimizes performances and doesnt diminish it.
Sessions by appointment only.