Strength Training & Flexibility in Young Athletes

It has been documented by scientific and medical authorities that
children should be encouraged to participate in weight resistance
training.  Young soccer players should focus on body weight exercises
like push up, sit-ups, lunges and pull-ups.  Young players should
develop their cardiovascular fitness using calisthenics and games.  All
exercises should have emphasis on having fun within the fitness
exercises.  In the beginning, the resistance training in these athletes
should place high emphasis on technique.  Once the young athlete has a
clear understanding of technique using their body weight only and when
you have a good foundation of flexibility training, then proper
progression and supervision are important in order to adjust to your
improving needs.
The benefits of a properly prescribed and supervised weight resistance
program are:
1.  Increased muscular strength
2.  Increased muscular endurance
3.  Increased flexibility
4.  Increased confidence on the field
5.  Decreased risk of serious injury and faster recovery from injury.

The "foundation strength program" is designed for the younger, or
beginner athlete.  The program works mainly on upper body weight
resistance-training exercises in order to develop muscular strength and
endurance.  Most are done without weights or machines.  The program
should be done 3 times a week; Mon., Wed., Fri.  Or Tues., Thurs., Sat.
  Or it can be done 2 times a week; Mon., Thurs. or Tues., Fri. 
may do 1-3 sets of exercises, starting with 1 set and progressing to 3
as your fitness improves.
    Repetition (reps) = number of times weight is lifted or exercise is
    Set = completion of a designated number of repetitions.

Make sure to always breathe.  Breathe in during the most difficult part
and out during the easiest part.

1.  Push ups        1-3 sets of maximum repetitions
2.  Pull ups        1-3 sets (4-6 reps)
3.  Squats      1-3 sets (10-15 reps) use body weight or broom stick
4.  Step ups        1-3 sets (10-15 reps) with each leg to start
5.  Abdominal crunches  1-3 sets of maximum (50 max)
6.  Rotary crunches     2-3 sets of maximum (50 max)

In the beginning, if you are having trouble getting up to the bar or
doing many reps, begin with what are called "negatives."  Negative is
when you do the exercise with gravity instead of against it, making it
easier.  For example, when doing a pull up, start in the up position
and lower yourself down.  Once you have mastered the basic foundation
program, you can move to a more advanced program.