T Nation

Ankle Strengthening for Soccer?

Hey CT, first I just want to thank you for being ridiculously adept at answering questions on an online forum. Most others don’t, so on behalf of myself and the rest of the people you have helped, Thanks.

Now onward. I’m a soccer player and my preseason is starting in about 8 weeks with the start of the actual season starting in about 11 weeks. My issue is that my ankles are pretty constantly sore from my lifting, conditioning, and ball work. They always feel strong though. I do plyos 3-4 times a week and am able to absorb impacts and jump without any issues. Sprinting is also not an issue although I’ve been sprinting short distances (50ish yards). Despite all that occasionally I do end up with small rolls. Not anything that feels like its structurally damaging but stingers. They feel weak, but act pretty strong (most of the time), which concerns me.

As I’m about to start into preseason stuff (more conditioning, less lifting) I just want an opinion on any exercises that might help with getting the ole ankles ready for a long season. I’m planning on doing weighted single leg stands, banded eversion/inversion and plantar/dorsiflexion stuff. My uncle (who is a head athletic trainer for a very big university) said that walking short distances on the outside of the feet has helped his athletes come back from sprains quicker, so I will probably be doing that too. I plan to still be doing Plyos and short sprints throughout. What are your thoughts on all this?

I roll out my feet pretty much everyday (cleats tighten up my feet a lot) and I try to keep my calves as loose as I can (hard for soccer players). The only other thing I can think of is direct calf work, but I’ve had very limited success with that in the past, as I typically cramp up any time I run within a couple days of direct calf training. Obviously with team training 3-4 times a week calf cramping is not a great way to put in work and get better.

Like I said, just looking for an opinion as my favorite opinions are the second and third ones. It’s always nice to get a view point form a different angle of the athletics field.

Thanks again!

  1. Too much mobility work… when a joint is too mobile it is less stable

  2. Too much plyo work. Plyo should be done in 4 week cycles, once or twice per week, no more than 20-30 contacts per session

  3. One of the best things to do is running (jogging and sprints) in sand

  4. Unilateral lower body work (lunges, split squats, etc.) barefoot

Thanks you again so much for your input. I can’t really express how much little inputs like this from professionals can go such a long way.