Soccer Fitness Training is one of the most important areas of your game that needs special attention if a player is to play at their optimum level. I have always advocated that second to work on the ball, specific soccer fitness training can improve your game immensely. The reason for this is three fold.
- Increased fitness provides players with an edge in the last 15 minutes of a game when a great many games are won and lost.
- Increased fitness helps with players reaction and therefore increases the speed at which a player can react to the ball movement both as the player receives it or while in motion with the ball.
- Increased fitness allows players to maintain a higher level of concentration throughout the game resulting in a higher level of performance.
Yes, soccer is a simple game when played well but to get the very best out of the beautiful game being in top physical condition is of paramount importance. You can have all the skill in the world but if you cannot last the 90 minutes a game lasts then you will never perform at your best. If you are not at your best then you will not enjoy the game nearly as much than if you had prepared for the season with a good soccer conditioning program.
So how do you get there?
To improve your soccer fitness it is important to have training drills to concentrate on specific areas of your game. But you also have to be practical and tailor the drills to either the level you are coaching at or the level you are playing at. By this I mean the level based on the time available and not the ability of the player. If you take your soccer seriously and would like to progress then you will have to put in more sessions, most probably in your own time away from the team environment.
The main areas of focus are
Soccer Warm Ups.
Warming up is something a lot of players take for granted. Make sure you have a set of Soccer Warm up drills to allow you to warm up gradually and safely. The reason for this is to prevent muscle damage and resultant injury. Gradually warm up by walking, stretching, jogging, stretching, light running, stretching, ¾ pace running, stretching. You should have a sweat up by the end of the warm up and be ready to get into a session or game.
Soccer Endurance Training.
Stamina is important for soccer players. Unlike other sports there are no time outs and there is an incredible amount of movement required during the 90 minutes. The average player will run in the region of 6 to 8 miles. That coupled with the fact that the type of running is split between sprinting and jogging makes it even more demanding.
Soccer Speed Training.
Soccer speed is fairly unique due to the power required to get you over the first five yards. We have all heard the expression the first five yards are in your head but if you cannot get there in first place then it does not really matter how quickly you think.
Soccer Agility Training.
Agility training drills should include explosive changes in direction both with and without the ball. Using the ball during any conditioning training break up the routine, add variety to the session and bring in more match type scenarios.