If you’re looking to give yourself an edge on the soccer field, martial arts training can help you improve your game. However, it’s worth noting that some martial art styles are more effective at improving soccer ability and playing techniques than others. Styles that incorporate elaborate footwork will help you evade tackles from rival players, while those martial art forms that put an emphasis on muscle-building in the legs and lower extremities will certainly help strikers improve their abilities on the field.
Will Martial Arts Help with Soccer?
METHODS FOR Kicking Techniques & Leg Muscles
If you’re struggling to put sufficient power behind your kicks on the soccer field, it’s worth exploring martial arts that incorporate effective kicking techniques. Obvious options include kick-boxing and Thai boxing, although karate and taekwondo can also help develop stronger leg muscles that can be better utilised behind a soccer ball.
Core Muscles & Balance
Balance on the soccer field is also crucial. Many martial arts incorporate techniques that help you improve your core strength, while associated workouts will allow you to develop your core muscles quickly. In terms of soccer, core strength is particularly important as it allows you achieve steady balance and stability for the duration of a match. Good core strength will also contribute toward more impressive endurance levels, which is definitely something you’ll need if you intend to stay in play for more than 90 minutes at a time.
Improved Focus, Reaction & Timing
Physical fitness is all well and good, but a good soccer player also needs to be focused on the game and remain alert at all times. Martial arts training is particularly good at improving focus, with repeated practice of techniques that need to be mastered boosting cognitive function and improving overall alertness. This will also improve reaction time, which is a must for players who need to remain in tune with the actions of their teammates and rival players. In soccer, a mere second is all it takes for a game to turn in favour of one team or the other.
The Importance of Cross-Training
Cross-training is recommended for all athletes, not just who play soccer. Although many soccer players look to other sports for their cross-training needs, martial arts is arguably a far more useful resource. Although other sports and gym exercise can provide useful techniques and fitness training benefits, martial arts encompasses a broad range of practices that will yield the best results.
Soccer legend and Taekwondo black belt Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been benefitting immensely from his cross-training experience.