Abdominal Exercises to Improve Balance

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The game of soccer is very much a game of balance. Being able to elude defenders, jump over tackles and just control your own body can be a difficult challenge. By creating a strong center of gravity and building stomach muscles, you can increase your sense of balance and control over movements. Creating a strong mid section will also benefit your shot. With strong abdominal muscles your shot will be much harder and travel with a greater velocity. Here are a couple of sit up drills to help you create and maintain a solid mid section.

Bent Knee Crunches

lie flat on your back, put your legs perpendicular to the ground and bend your knees. With your hands lightly supporting your neck slowly move your head and shoulders up toward the sky. You want to keep your head facing the sky and not bend into your knees.

Straight Leg Crunches

Set up the exact same way as the bent knee crunches except this time don't bend your knees. Your feet should be high in the air. Again, lightly support your neck with your hands and raise your head and shoulders to the sky.


Sit on the top of a staircase or somewhere where your feet will dangle just a bit. Rest your hands just behind your butt and lean back, raising your knees to your chest. From this position slowly move your legs, straightening your knees, downward and in a scooping type motion. As your feet are fully extended and scooping, pull your knees back to your chest and repeat the scooping rotation. This takes a little getting used to but is very effective. Older athletes may want to put a light 2 to 5 pound weight on their feet to in-crease the difficulty.

Throw Downs

Grab a partner for this one. Lay down flat on your back. Extend your arms as far above your head as possible and grab onto the ankles of your standing partner. Raise your legs to a 90 degree angle, perfectly straight in the air. Have your partner, try and throw your legs to the ground. You need to use your stomach muscles and keep your legs just inches off the ground and then raise them back up so that your partner can throw them down again. Repeat this 10 to 25 times depending on age and strength.

What Coaches Should Look for:
Coaches should always make sure that proper technique is being used in every form of sit up activity. You don't want to have any pulled stomach muscles, tight necks or back problems. To make some of the exercises more exciting you can have one partner on his/her back while another holds their feet down with their knees. The partner holding the other down can toss a soccer ball to the athlete doing the sit ups and he/she can head it during each upward motion. Only use this drill for athletes over 10 years old.