Being tall is one of many people’s dreams. When related to sports, some of them require you to be a tall person to have the chance of being the best, like in basketball. But in other sports, such as soccer, might not be as necessary (but is a good advantage in most cases). But can playing soccer can make you taller?
Playing sports like soccer can help someone grow a bit taller, as practicing exercises during youth can increase growth hormone production and bone mineralization due to muscle contractions, leading to an increase in height not measured in feet, but likely fractions of inches.
So, while you likely won’t be able to gain a foot or more of height, these processes can help you gain your maximum potential height, allowing you to stand out during soccer matches because it not only makes you higher but also stronger. Ready to understand how soccer is going to increase your athletic potential? Let’s do this.
Why and How Playing Soccer Can Make You Taller
Exercising, or playing soccer, stimulates both an increase in growth hormone and bone mineralization due to muscle contraction (or use) that can lead to maximum growth potential for an individual’s genes – if they are still growing.
Soccer is a sport in which you have to perform different tasks to improve your performance and achieve your prime. These tasks involve abilities such as high speed and strength, quick movements, bursts, and stamina, to keep your game’s pace. These activities require a huge amount of practice, and doing them at the right age can help you grow taller.
Performing exercises often with high-performance increases growth hormone (GH) production, providing your body with the possibility of growing stronger and taller. But this doesn’t happen alone, as bone mineralization, which makes your bones stronger, also happens when muscle contractions are stimulated during exercises.
It’s worth pointing out that practicing soccer doesn’t guarantee that you will not grow up from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo’s height. After all, the gain makes you a more complete athlete but doesn’t change your genetics. Instead, it’s better to think of it this way: exercising will help your body reach its maximum potential height and health.
In other words, if I, as a fully-grown adult, suddenly start trying to become a soccer pro and use it to add a few inches to my height, I’m going to be disappointed. I’m done growing, so I can only use soccer to stay healthy and avoid losing height. My kids, however, could use this to reach their full physical potential (including height).
Don’t let this crush your dreams though, with a lot of practice and dedication you can become the best soccer player in the world, despite your height.
Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a tall person in a soccer match.
Pros and cons of being a tall soccer player
Tall soccer players are usually assigned to defensive positions, such as goalkeepers or defenders, but some players could outstand in different positions, like Adriano “The Imperator” and Zlatan Ibrahimović, players that are 6 feet and 3 inches tall and were able to be one of the best attackers of soccer history, proving that every rule has its exceptions.
As cited in the last paragraph, usually defensive players present more advantages when they are taller, such as:
- Body strength – Making possible easy ball contests
- Kick momentum – Keeping the ball far from its team goal
- Air contests – A famous aspect characteristic between defensive and tall players, with a high number of headed goals
- Goal defense – Having a tall goalkeeper means that the player can cover more of the net, preventing goals and leading the team to victory
A combination of these advantages with a lot of effort can make an ordinary tall player into one of the best players in the world. But life isn’t always a bed of roses, so let’s see the drawbacks of being a tall player in the soccer world.
An important aspect of the height cons is that they can be the same as the pros.
For example, having body strength can be a double-edged sword because at the same time you can contest balls with ease, you have speed difficulties when compared to short people because they are smaller and more agile, with more ball control and a higher pace.
In addition, having a stronger body means that, usually, a greater number of fouls could happen. This is because “weaker” and smaller players can take advantage of this size difference and try to harm you by diving to win a foul or a penalty in more serious cases. So, you have to be careful about how and when applying your strength when playing against smaller players.
The Height Impact on Soccer
Being a tall and strong athlete is important, as seen in the text there are some advantages when compared to short people. But this doesn’t determine if you will be a great player or a bad player. It’s always important to keep the profile of the function which you want to perform, although, this is not the only thing to concern.
The player profile of each role on a soccer team is determined which can be called “The Soccer Natural Selection.” Usually tall and stronger people are chosen to play defender roles, due to how big guys went perform well at this position. The same occurs with attackers, goalkeepers, and the rest of the team.
But, as seen in a few paragraphs before, some players can outstand themselves even out of their comfort zones. Tall attackers, and short guys performing a good defense. So, is height so important in soccer?
Not as important as effort and dedication, practicing every day, studying the game, listening to your coach and more experienced people will always be more important than being the tallest guy.
Keeping this in mind, I guarantee you that you will forget about height when performing high-level soccer, as Lionel Messi, which were able to earn 6 world’s best player award, without being tall, contesting at the same level, as Cristiano Ronaldo, who is almost 8 inches taller than him.
What Sports or Drills Make You Taller?
Exercising, in general, can stimulate growth hormone, and using muscles in any gravity-based movement can increase growth via muscle contraction and bone mineralization. Do the exercise or sport that most appeals to you and eat well. Doing those two things together will help you reach your full growth potential.
Are there various drills that have the most impact on your overall height? I’m not totally sure. There aren’t any scientific studies that compare that kind of data, so it’s hard to give a definite answer. Instead, all we have for now are personal anecdotes and stories.
And even then, we’re still subject to our DNA and genes. I played a ton of sports (volleyball, basketball, softball, swimming, and golf), and I’m stuck at my very average 5’4” while my similarly sports-minded sister is over 5’10”.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Now that you know that playing soccer (or any other sport) can help you reach your full genetic potential and height, get out there and enjoy some sports with your family.
Or, if you want to know the answer to this question, then read the article I wrote answering it: Can Soccer Goalies Wear Sunglasses? Guidelines For Protective Gear. It’s a great read, so be sure to check it out soon!
Learning from your own experiences is important, but it’s also smart to learn from others. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as a family of sports nuts wannabes.
- LIMA, FERNANDA, et al. “Effect of Impact Load and Active Load on Bone Metabolism and Body Composition of Adolescent Athletes.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 33, no. 8, 2001, pp. 1318–23. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200108000-00012.
- Dahab, Katherine Stabenow, and Teri Metcalf McCambridge. “Strength Training in Children and Adolescents: Raising the Bar for Young Athletes?” Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, vol. 1, no. 3, 2009, pp. 223–26. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109334215.
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