Today, yoga is a mainstay for professional athletes and teams. More and more people are discovering the countless ways that yoga can be used to improve athletic performance—from increasing mental concentration and improving flexibility and balance to preventing common injuries and honing skills. If you can’t get outside this winter to work on your technical skills and even if you can but have some time to work in some yoga to enjoy the numerous benefits of this discipline, here are a few poses that can help you.
First, what is yoga? It is a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.
Why do yoga? Soccer players can benefit from yoga to help improve flexibility, strength and endurance. You can also improve agility and concentration by practicing yoga. Soccer players who practice yoga are more likely to be more focused and less likely to be injured during a game. Yoga loosens and prepares your muscles for the strenuous exercise of a soccer game, which can prevent muscle strains and joint stress.
How many times per week should I practice? If you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits.
What exercises should I do?
Soccer involves a lot or running and sprinting during the practice and during games. Players can become tight and are prone to leg injuries. Soccer players should do yoga exercises mainly to improve the flexibility in the legs, hips and joints—especially the hips and the hamstrings where people tend to experience the most tightness.
Here is a video featuring Ryan Giggs, who played seemingly forever for Manchester United, on why he got started doing yoga and it’s benefits.
"It tests parts of your body that you just don’t use in football. The first time I did it, about five years ago, I was completely knackered. I went home from the training ground and slept for three hours in the afternoon. I actually dreaded yoga for the first year because it made muscles I didn’t know I had ache, although I know some of the lads think it’s really a bit soft." – Ryan Giggs