Testing, Training Provides Building Blocks
Ignite 360 provides platform for player growth

NextGen Series Feature

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BRADENTON, Fla. – One of the major components of the NextGen Series, which opened this past weekend at IMG Academy, is the program’s focus on training and development. As part of the on-field work incorporated into the weekend’s sessions, the U12-U14 boys and girls in attendance were put through Ignite 360 testing by IMG staff to gauge their performance levels as they begin the process of becoming well-rounded players.

“It’s a testing protocol we developed after about 30 years of work we did here looking at things like strength, stability, movement, both laterally and linearly,” said Dr. Taryn Morgan, IMG Assistant Director of Athletic & Personal Development. “We wanted to see how we could put together a score, basically, of where people are starting and where they get to. We use a lot of different tests to evaluate that, and it comes up with one overall score out of 360.”

Players were put through nine different tests as part of the opening session, with standard tests such as the broad jump, vertical jump and “L-Cone” run being employed alongside tests that were designed with soccer players in mind. While explosiveness and agility is a key in many sports, the endurance required in soccer meant the addition of a 300-yard shuttle run and interval test to challenge the players both physically and mentally.

The testing also gave the IMG and USL instructors on hand a chance to watch the players up close, with details such as running technique being put into focus as well as the player’s techniques for passing, heading and tackling.

“We see here young players doing the 40-yard dash,” USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor said. “You look at their running technique, their styles, whether they’re flat-footed, not pumping their arms the way they need for speed, at this very early age you can start to correct those basic problems with movement.

“The game, particularly at the top level, is very fast, and obviously your technique in terms of your running becomes very important, but even change of direction, and we have change of direction exercises, and being able to check out going left and back to the right is crucial in a player’s make-up.”

Each of the players in attendance will continue to work on their explosiveness and endurance as part of the training curriculum as they return to their clubs for the upcoming months of training and scrimmages, with the goal that when they return to IMG in the spring their I360 scores will have improved.

Morgan believes that the baseline this weekend’s testing will give the players a goal to reach for as they work alongside their teammates to improve all facets of their game, on and off the field, with the hope that they will take one overriding lesson away from the weekend.

“I think just seeing how integrated everything can be, and how much different things are a part of soccer,” Morgan said. “This is the first step, this is where you’re starting, now let’s learn and train and educate and get better, and then let’s see where we can get you to through your hard work and your effort that you’re putting in out on the field.”

© 2013 Demosphere International, Inc. All rights reserved.
Youth Sports WebWriter Websites, Online Registration Management, Tournament and League Scheduling Systems