Strength training is a topic I am very passionate about, and a fitness component that I believe is highly underrated in touch football.
Growing up, I didn’t do any form of strength training. I didn’t know of any of the health or athletic benefits of strength training, and I never even considered it to help with my athlete performance. In Year 12, I was missed out on a few teams, one being the U18 Youth Australian Team.
When I finished school, I started studying exercise and movement. This is around the same time that I started applying what I was learning and started to see the real benefits of weight (strength) training.
The first thing that I did notice was that I wasn’t very strong, which isn’t surprising because I’d never done it before. However, after a few months, I started to see something interesting… The stronger I was getting in the gym, the faster and more confident I was feeling on the touch field.
Within a couple of years, I went from not being able to make the U18 Youth Australian Team, to making the Australian Women Open touch football team.
I cannot express how much of that came down to strength training. I truly believe that this part of my program was the defining factor.
I was not, and still am not, the most naturally talented athlete. But by seeing first-hand the benefits that you can reap from strength training, I wanted to share with you why strength training is an ABSOLUTE MUST when working on your game performance.
So what is strength?
Strength is our muscles ability to exert maximal force against some sort of resistance – so whether that’s an external object like a dumbbell, or lifting our own body weight. Our ability to move this “weight”, move it fast, and continue to move it for periods of time (let’s say an entire game of touch), is what will make you a better all-around athlete.
Why is it important to touch?
Have you ever heard the saying “the wider the base, the higher the peak”. Well Strength is the base foundation of almost all components of touch football – whether that’s your explosiveness (power), your speed, your agility, or your muscular endurance.
Let’s take power for example – we all know that power is vital in touch, because we can physically see it on the field. When we are watching a game, we can see when someone goes from 0 -100, and gets around their defending player.
But did you know that an athlete’s explosiveness is directly related to their strength?
The stronger an athlete is (relative to their bodyweight), the more potential they have to produce power (3). This goes without saying that in order to improve your power, you must first improve your maximal strength.
Speed follows a similar story. Increasing your lower body strength allows you to absorb and react to ground reaction forces more efficiently, leading to increased acceleration (2). Whilst the physiological adaptations can be quite complex, research time and time again has proven that an individuals sprint time improves with strength training. So, if you want to work on your speed and/or agility, you first need to work on your strength.
Not only this, but strength training has shown to reduce sports related soft tissue injuries by up to 66% (2). This is likely due to the strengthening of muscles and tendons, so that they are able to deal with increased loads, and the improved technique and coordination in the gym crossing over to movements in sport.
What does this mean for you? Strength training is something that everyone needs. It’s not just for gym junkies, but for everyday people and athletes too.
– Sammy and Ash xx
(1) Group, P. (2020). The importance of strength training to soft tissue injury prevention – Peninsula Sports Medicine Group. Retrieved 3 June 2020, from http://www.psmgroup.com.au/the-importance-of-strength-training-to-soft-tissue-injury-prevention/
(2) School, P. (2020). Improving Speed Through Strength, Technique & Muscle Elasticity. Retrieved 3 June 2020, from https://www.parisischool.com/improving-speed-strength/
(3) Strength, Muscular Endurance, and Power in Sports. (2020). Retrieved 3 June 2020, from http://coachr.org/strength_muscular_endurance_and_power_in_sports.htm