Leanne grew up with a passion in health and physical activity. She played soccer, tennis, and competed in gymnastics. At the age of 11, she made the decision to commit only to soccer. She went on to play three years of varsity high school soccer becoming captain and winning “coaches award’ along the way. She went to Valdosta State University and played four years of Division 2 soccer while also majoring in Exercise Physiology and minoring in Nutritional Science. Leanne was part of the inaugural season with the school and as a starting Freshman midfielder, she scored the first hat-trick in school history. She was also awarded Gulf South All-Academics Honors, All-Conference 2nd Team, and Gulf South All-Conference 1st Team. After her four seasons with the program, she interned with the Strength and Conditioning Coaches working with the football and volleyball teams.
Once graduated from school in 2015, Leanne had a second internship with a Corporate Fitness Company in Tampa, Florida. She excelled learning how to instruct group workouts as well as individual workouts. After completing this internship, Leanne was offered a full-time position with another Corporate Fitness Company in Rockville, Maryland. She has been with the company for two and a half years earning certification including American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and Red Cross CPR/AED/First Aid. Leanne has recently been accepted into University of Maryland’s Masters of Education program with Certification and will be starting her master’s program in June 2018. Leanne’s plan is to earn her Master’s in Physical Education in hopes of educating kids on the importance of good health including, physical activity and nutrition.
World Class Premier strives to develop great futbol players as well as growing healthy and fit boys and girls. With this, we are excited to announce the addition of a new program incorporating strength and conditioning. When most people think of a strength and conditioning program, they think of the popular format of lifting weights in the gym. Though this format is still beneficial for players even at a young age, this will not be our focus. Our goal on initiating this program is to develop players who understand movement basics so that their growth and development on and off the field continues on an upward path.
While World Class Premier strives to improve their player’s health-related fitness components (i.e. muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and body composition), our Strength and Conditioning program will focus more on pushing players to the next level in improving their skill-related fitness components (i.e. agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time). With each of these components improved, players will develop a higher level of motor control and a better understanding of how their body moves allowing the players to take more control over injury prevention. Those less likely to become injured are balanced through core stabilization, coordinated through the distribution of their bodyweight, and strong enough to resist force in all planes and directions of movement.
This program will consist of making the players think quicker, move quicker, move more efficiently, and finally move more safely. As injuries in young players are on the rise, we take pride in educating, protecting, and encouraging a safe playing atmosphere. It is important to have the same mindset with each team, however, since all the players and teams are at different levels of development (i.e. physiological, motor, and strength), each group will have its own focus. Lastly, our goal for all age groups is to use strength and conditioning to develop the enjoyment of movement and physical activity to positively impact a healthy active lifestyle for their future.
Health Related Fitness Components:
· Muscular Strength and Endurance: muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce with a single repetition, while muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to repeatedly exert force. Both muscular strength and endurance go hand in hand on the field. The amount of strength a player can produce determines how quickly they can get into a sprint, how high they can jump. However, muscular endurance allows the player to sustain a sprint and jump for a longer period. Having strong muscles also helps the player avoid muscle fatigue and injury. Total body exercises will be done with the players to encourage improved strength in all muscle groups (lower body, upper body, and core). I asked Leanne what she means by this.
· Cardiovascular Fitness: refers to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels delivering oxygen to the exercising muscles allowing the muscles to create movement. The more efficient a player is at delivering oxygen to their working muscles, the longer they can last performing at a high level on the futbol field. To test this component, the individual performs an aerobic activity or drill until exhaustion (i.e. Beep Test). This component improves upon the improvement of other health and skill-related components including speed, power, and muscular strength/endurance.
· Flexibility: refers to the range of motion a joint can perform without sustaining pain or injury. Because our players are growing kids or adolescents, it is very popular to see a loss in flexibility. This is no excuse though, as players with inflexible muscles are more likely to experience more soreness, tenderness, and even injury. Having a good range of motion on the field can help with the player’s motor development including ball skill. Players will learn the importance of a warm-up and cool down to help enhance their ability on the field.
· Body Composition: refers to the percentage of lean body tissue (muscle and bone) and fat tissue. This health-related component is a very sensitive area. Though this is part of our target, we do not directly focus on the area itself. Body composition has absolutely nothing to do with the number on the scale, especially for growing kids. Our focus is to maintain a healthy fat percentage and increasing muscle mass. This improves not only fitness and futbol, but also the nutritional needs of a growing player. It is our partnership with the parents to improve this component. Foods with whole grain, protein, and healthy fats provide the best energy for the player to function efficiently.
Skill-Related Fitness Components:
· Agility: is the ability to change and control the direction and position of the body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion. This is one of the most important components in futbol because the game is constantly moving in all directions. A player’s goal during the game is to be able to change direction quickly and effectively. Agility will be improved by drills involving stop-and-go, lateral movements, change in direction, and explosiveness.
· Balance: is the ability to control or stabilize the body when a player is standing still or moving. This is as simple as dribbling on the field and an opponent bumping into you and being able to shift your body weight appropriately so you do not lose control of the ball. Though your muscles around the ankle, knee, and hip have a huge impact on balance, core strength also plays a huge role. Balance can be improved by performing static single leg movements, and then progressing to more complex balancing movements adding jumps or resistance from an opponent.
· Coordination: refers to the ability to execute a movement as well as control a movement. This includes spatial awareness on the field and performing moves on the ball while continuing to run or change direction, and precision with passes/shoots. Coordination training is improved with the use of ladders, cones, poles, etc.
· Power: is the ability to move the body swiftly while applying maximum force to the muscles. Power is a combination of both speed and muscular strength. This area of futbol is also one of the most important components, as any player wants to be able to perform rapid or “explosive” movements on the pitch, including getting up to maximum speed as quick as possible after changing directions as well as jumping high enough to win a 50/50. Plyometrics are the best tool for improving power. Plyometrics consist of moving a muscle through its normal range of motion in an explosive way. A few common exercises include squat jumps, broad jump, skater jumps, lunge jumps, and burpees.
· Reaction Time: is the amount of time it takes to start a movement after your senses signal to move. This also coincides with quickness, which measures your instant and rapid responses. Any player with good speed and agility is a response from reaction time. It can be improved by agility drills as well as simply chasing a player and having to change direction when they do.
· Speed: is the ability to cover a distance in a short amount of time. In terms of futbol, this also means being able to run at the same sprint speed throughout the entire game. Similar to cardiovascular fitness, managing your speed means the ability to recover before having to run hard again. This can simply be improved by sprinting all out with a combination of start positions and distances.
We are excited to unveil these Strength & Conditioning/Injury Prevention trainings as a new and vital component of the World Class Premier program. We want to provide our players with top level coaching, as well as, giving them all the pivotal tools they will need in their arsenal in order to work toward success on the pitch.