A footballers fitness training generally has to much focus upon strength. Of course the player, be that professional or recreational needs a certain amount of physicallity and strength to combat the rigours of the beautiful game. You will often see a player on TV with over developed Quadriceps (thigh muscles). It might look amazing, but it creates an imbalance and imbalance leads to injury.
Muscles have elasticity. They are stretchy. This comes from their source, collagen, a fibrous protein that creates elasticity. However, muscles also contain contractile cells - muscle cells. When muscle cells go into action the muscle contracts and shortens. This is how a muscle gets its strength.
Muscles have no will of their own. They are controlled by the brain and nervous system. Footballers muscles are repeatedly contracted and shortened during games, training and strengthening exercises like weight lifting, core stability, sit ups and even stretching. There is none or very little focus upon a muscles release. Habitually contracted muscles are more prone to injury, restrict joint function, cause fatigue and pain from constant use and even distort posture (pull in tightest direction). Read this article written by somatics guru Lawrence Gold on how tight hamstrings contribute to knee and back pain.
Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) focuses on changing patterns of habitual muscular tension. Its especially effective at working with sports people, including footballers. Instead of stretching, HSE uses a contract and release movement known as paindiculations. They are performed slowly, without using your maximum effort. This helps to stimulate higher levels of the brain so changes can be made from within the nervous system.
Pandicular movements (somatic exercises) help to relax and lenghten muslces, create a new muscular resting level (lower), resolve pain, increase flexibility and improve performance and recovery times. It shifts the focus from strength to moving easier. Muscles that enter a lower resting phase can peform at a higher level for longer periods.
At Somatic Living, footballers are taught some very simple techniques that help to bring balance to their entire muscular system. This can be achieved via 1-1 sessions, Somatic classes or home somatic exercises.
Please contact Jonathan if you have a football or sports related issue, or just wish to improve your flexibility and training programme.