Many people look up to Mia Hamm; she is a 25-year old superstar who started playing soccer at just 5 years old, and she has been known to train twice each day, six days a week. She often does this with the University of North Carolina’s women’s soccer team, where she is also a volunteer assistant coach.
Usually, she lifts weights four days a week for at least one hour each day, and this she does in the morning, then follows up with an hour of soccer practicing, where she uses some intricate ball movements. She always keeps a big bag of more than 10 soccer balls in her car, so she never runs out of a ball to use.
In the afternoons, she gets back to the field for one more hour of technical training, which includes trapping, dribbling, and shooting. Once each week, she will do a long-distance run of about 3 and a half miles.
Mia Hamm’s Best Training Tips
1. Try to do cardio before any weight training.
Mia Hamm says that this is the way to go because, when your body is warm, this causes an increase in blood flow and flexibility for your weight training. It will also help you stay away from strains that can be extremely nasty when you pull a muscle. The faster your cardio work out is, the more your heart rate stays high, and this will ultimately help you burn calories and give your heart and lungs some work to do.
2. Firm your lower abs when you have back pains.
If you suffer from back problems, Mia Hamm says that it is important to work the abs when your back is firmly against the floor to offer you support. It may also help if you place your hands under your buttocks, which ensures that you do not arch your back.
When in this flat position, extend your legs and lift them one at a time. 20 reps for each leg with three repetitions per session is enough to make you feel stronger. You can also lift up both legs at 45-degree angles, while your hands are under your lower back for extra support. In order to get even more advanced, you could lift both of your legs about 6-10 inches off of the floor and spread them out. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds.
3. Prepare for a game both physically and mentally.
Being a great athlete herself, Mia Hamm advises that you should always envision yourself doing all of your games perfectly. This helps with your state of mind. Do not be overly critical of yourself, and ensure that you stretch throughout.
As a pro football player, she doesn’t just come out into the field for a game, she must lie down and stretch her hamstrings and do a warmup in order to raise her body temperature, and most especially her muscles so as to avoid injury.
This is good advice for anyone about to play in a major competition.
4. Improve your reflexes for sports.
Mia Hamm gives out the following drills that can help improve your reaction time during games. Have someone stand in front of you with a small ball that is preferably spongy and soft. Stretch out your arms towards them, and let them drop the ball without warning you. You must then try to catch it with your hands before it reaches the ground, but do not cradle it. Do this for at least 15 minutes.
Another drill would be to have your partner stand at least 12-15 feet away from you, with some soccer or kick balls. Face them in the opposite direction, and have them yell to you “turn” whenever they kick the ball towards you. You should try to turn around and find the ball in time to throw it back.
5. How many crunches should you do, and how often should you do them?
According to Mia Hamm, if you are in a quandary over which is more important – quantity versus quality – you must always put quality first. Doing 5,000 or more crunches that do not use any of your stomach muscles is a waste of time, and you could even end up straining your neck and back due to improper exercises.
Concentrate on the crunches, and ensure they are intensive and the right quality so you can see results. In fact, doing just 15-20 correct crunches per day is enough to give you excellent results.
6. What kinds of foods should you eat?
Mia Hamm says that you must always eat healthy foods. Fruits, vegetables, meats, pasta, bread, and poultry plus plenty of water is what makes her good at what she does. She also adds some extra nutrition from nutrition bars and vitamin supplements. She probably eats five times each day, of course not crazy eating, but small meals that are spaced out over the whole day.
If you are a budding athlete, then these few tips from the great Mia Hamm are bound to help you kick-start your career and keep you working hard year after year. We wish you the best of luck in your sports journey!