CrossFit and Soccer: The Evolution of Sports & Fitness (ft. Coach Tico)October 13, 2016
The definition of fitness is constantly evolving and every sport is proof of it. The demands are getting ridiculously high and we expect an incredible amount of consistency of the athletes and their performance. It doesn’t matter if they play once a week, or throughout the whole year; we still demand their very best.
It’s sad but it’s the truth and athletes and organizations are trying to evolve to keep up with this demand. A sign of this is how they train their athletes, their nutrition, recovery methods and even what their contracts demand from them and their organization’s staff in order to produce the ultimate end product… wins!
The most famous event in soccer is the FIFA World Cup which is the equivalent of the Crossfit Games with the big difference that it only happens every 4 years (this is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world). FIFA divides the World on 6 different zones (Africa, Asia, Europe, North-Central America and Caribbean, Oceania, and South America) and each zone has their own qualifying phase. FIFA decides beforehand how many tickets each zone has available and it is based on how strong their confederations are. Needless to say this is the biggest stage for a professional footballer to be at and not a lot of athletes are fortunate enough to be there. On average; a player gets only about 4 opportunities to qualify with their national team to a world cup on their career.
A group of Australian researchers analyzed 12 FIFA World Cup final matches from 1966 to 2010. This study allowed them to see how much the game has evolved in the last 44 years. They analyzed number of passes, stoppages of play, the duration of each stoppage, game speed (speed of play like how many passes every minute and ball speed), among many other stuff. To not bore you with more football (soccer) lingo and statistics that won’t matter to you guys I will explain it to you on a different way. It basically explains how the game has change on work-rest ratio, the game speed has increased (shorter intervals of high intensity followed by longer recovery periods (stoppages increased an average of 7 seconds).
After doing some research and obviously being able to experience the change of the game (football/soccer) throughout the years, it is safe to say that (and I know I’m not the only one thatsays it regardless your athletic background) “I wish I would have know about CrossFit a long time ago.” It is true that in order to be a better soccer player I have to focus on the ball and specialize on that “ability”, but, the beauty of CrossFit is that it allows to become a more “all around” athlete which in the end is a better “x” player. Some people are afraid of CrossFit because it might make you “slower” or “clumsy” because of all the weight you have to lift, or prone for injury but in reality it makes your body more prepared for what you need to face in life. I’ve always been small, fast and a decent soccer player and after CrossFit nothing has changed but my strength and my all around fitness. All I can share is my experience playing soccer before and after CrossFit. Makes you wonder why some people are not afraid of the evolution of their sport but are against the evolution of fitness 🙂
Committed To Your Success,
Tico is a former collegiate soccer player and a full-time coach for the Puma Futbol Club in Paducah, KY.
Wallace JL, Norton KI (2013) Evolution of World Cup soccer final games 1966-2010: Game
structure, speed and play patters. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport,