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Standing Stretches

BASIC SET OF STANDING STRETCHES FOR SOCCER
Stretching should be introduced to soccer players no later than age 9.  The following basic set of standing stretches, however, can be used for any age group, from youth to adults.  This set does not require players to place themselves on the ground or involve a partner.  As a result, coaches do not have to be concerned about wet field conditions or players who do not yet have the proper training to stretch with a teammate.
All of the stretches are “static” stretches, where the muscle and tendon groups are taken to the point of “feeling the pull,” held for a number of seconds, and then moved or “shaken out.”  There is to be no bouncing.  The set of stretches is to be preceded by a gentle warm-up.  Youth are to be instructed to hold each stretch for a count of 5 to 10 seconds.  The amount of time the stretch is held is to be increased with advancing age until each stretch is held by adults for up to 30 seconds.  The coach can introduce how the count is performed orally (e.g., “a thousand one, a thousand two, etc.” or “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc.”) and then turn the count over to a Captain or alternate it among the players.  Adults may add multiple sets.
Warm-up
  • Jog in place, jog around half of the field, or jog around the whole field
  • Jumping jacks, performed relatively slowly and loosely
Neck – 6-point
  • Push the head to the right with the left hand (may also pull with the right hand)
  • Push the head to the left with the right hand (may also pull with the left hand)

    Neck 6 Point Stretch – Back to Front

  • Push the head back with both hands
  • Pull the head forward from the back with both hands
  • Push/pull the head to the right-forward oblique with both hands
  • Push/pull the head to the left-forward oblique with both hands
  • Twist/twirl/circle the head slowly at the neck, around in one direction, then the other
Shoulders
  • Right arm straight, elbow locked, arm brought in front of chest, forearm just above opposite shoulder, pull right arm with the left hand placed just above the right elbow
  • Left arm straight, elbow locked, arm brought in front of chest, forearm just above opposite shoulder, pull left arm with the right hand placed just above the left elbow
  • Twist/twirl/circle the arms outstretched to the sides
  • Bend right arm at the elbow, direct the elbow straight overhead with the hand behind the neck, pull the right arm with the left hand placed on the right elbow
  • Bend left arm at the elbow, direct the elbow straight overhead with the hand behind the neck, pull the left arm with the right hand placed on the left elbow
  • Twist/twirl/circle the arms outstretched above the head
Chest
  • Elbows of both arms locked, both arms behind the back
  • Hold and release strong, deep breaths
Torso
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, twist to the right 
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, twist to the left
  • Arms outstretched to either side, circle left then circle right
Waist and Back
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, bend straight forward
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, hands in small of back, bend backward
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, both hands point to right foot, bend right oblique
  • Legs shoulder-width apart, both hands point to left foot, bend left oblique
  • While bending at waist, circle left then circle right
Groin
  • Legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart, right knee locked, left foot pointed left oblique, bend left knee, push on right hip with right hand
  • Legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart, left knee locked, right foot pointed right oblique, bend right knee, push on left hip with left hand
  • Alternately swing legs left and right
Quadriceps
  • Back straight, stand on left leg, grip just above right ankle with right hand, pull heel toward buttocks
  • Back straight, stand on right leg, grip just above left ankle with left hand, pull heel toward buttocks
  • (OPTION:  By gripping the foot near the toes, this can include the instep/tibialis anterior, but this should never be done at the expense of properly stretching the quads.)
  • Alternately shake legs
Hamstrings
  • Knees locked, right ankle crossed over left ankle, bend at waist to touch right fingers/hand to right toes
  • Knees locked, left ankle crossed over right ankle, bend at waist to touch left fingers/hand to left toes
  • Alternately shake legs
Calf
  • Right foot approximately 18 inches in front of left, full soles of both feet always in contact with the ground, forward lean bending right knee keeping left knee locked
  • Left foot approximately 18 inches in front of right, full soles of both feet always in contact with the ground, forward lean bending left knee keeping right knee locked
  • Alternately, perform foot twists at ankle, clockwise and counter-clockwise
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John Harves
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