By: Will HitzelbergerRollins College Strength and ConditioningSpectrum Sports PerformanceOver the last couple of years, Rollins College Men’s Soccer Program has become one of the most recognized soccer programs around the country. Two seasons ago they concluded their season at the Division II National Championship with a Runner Up finish. This past season season they were ranked in the top 5, and even held the number 1 ranking for some time before ending their season in the NCAA Super Regional Tournament. The Men’s Soccer team is one of the most year round, hard working programs at Rollins. Most importantly they are completely dedicated to becoming better soccer players, which is reflected in their work ethic in the weight room.
When Men’s Soccer reports to school for pre-season some time in early August, we begin the first day with testing. The team performs a variety of testing consisting of speed, power, agility and conditioning. We test at this time for several reasons. One, we want to know where they are in relation to where they were when they left in the Spring. Second, we want these numbers in case someone gets hurt. We want to know where we need to get them back to. next reason we test is for the purpose of comparison. We want to be able to compare, match up and create competition (which with this team is never a problem). The final reason we test is that it gives us feed back on what we need to do to prepare for the season. If there is a conditioning issue, then we need to address it. If everyone is fit, we get to focus on soccer, prepare for the season, and emphasize recovery and injury prevention.
Workouts in-season were completely based around game schedule, difficulty of schedule and conference and regional play. Assuming additional fitness is not needed for the guys, most of our sessions are in the weight room re-emphasizing stability and mobility exercises with a focus on strength for injury prevention. I would argue that our Men’s Soccer team is one of the strongest and fittest in the country. They enjoy and buy into the weight room allowing us to continue to lift in season. Obviously, as we get further into the schedule volume, loads and intensity decrease drastically and we mainly focus on regeneration.
As in pre-season we began the first day back in the Spring with testing, and then heading immediately into our 4 day-a-week training program throughout the Spring. The effort and mentality of the team every training session is probably one of the most impressive I have seen since being at Rollins. For the first 4-6 weeks there was a strong focus on re-teaching movements related to speed and agility before they start the Spring season. Each session also consisted of plyometrics, Olympic Lifts and Med Balls, a very structured periodization of strength and conditioning. As the team started to include practices we reduced the amount of movement and conditioning in each session.
The Spring ends with post-testing to show the results of an intense three month training cycle. We conclude by going over their Summer Strength and Conditioning, and re-emphasizing the goals of next year.