Soccer Conditioning and Fitness Drills
Few sports are demanding and intense like soccer. For you to become a great soccer player, you need to be in top physical condition. Becoming fit for soccer requires you to gain strength and explosive power. You should also have good cardiovascular fitness.
However, getting in shape for soccer is not as easy as it sounds. Players have to commit themselves and train with diligence to get fit. The good news is practicing with a team and participating in a competitive play can improve your fitness level. But you need to do more if you aspire to become a great soccer player.
This is where soccer conditioning and fitness drills come in. Doing some extra conditioning every day can help you build up stamina, endurance, and agility. High stamina and endurance enable a player to play efficiently throughout the match without getting tired or struggling.
Agility in soccer means the player’s ability to perform swift whole-body movements with a change of direction or velocity without falling. It also involves quickness, running at a higher speed and being able to outdo your opponents. Players with high agility like Lionel Messi play with high precision and tend to score more goals.
In modern soccer, conditioning and fitness are very critical. Improving your fitness and conditioning is hugely vital for becoming a professional soccer player. Conditioning helps young athletes have more energy and become resistant to injuries. Fitness helps soccer players to utilize their skills efficiently and endure full-strength matches.
One of the most common ways to get fit for soccer is building power and stamina. This can be achieved through running, performing sprints, strength training, and core muscle workouts.
In this article, you will learn how you can use various soccer conditioning and fitness drills to improve your efficiency in the field. Continue reading to find out more!
A Guide on How to Improve your Conditioning and Fitness
Every young soccer player must find a way to improve their condition and fitness. Here is a complete guide on how to improve your soccer conditioning and fitness:
Build Stamina with Interval Training: Stamina is one of the most important physical aspects of soccer. Every player should have stamina and endurance to remain effective in the field throughout the match. The stamina of a player determines whether they can play efficiently throughout an entire game.
If a player has low stamina and endurance, they may get tired quickly and perform poorly as the game proceeds. For many years, athletes have used interval training to build stamina and endurance.
This training combines short, high-intensity bursts of speed, with slow recovery phases, repeated in one session. It’s also known as the stop and go training. It works with the aerobic and anaerobic system to increase cardiovascular efficiency and tolerance to lactic acid build-up.
The basic idea here is performing continual running drills at two different paces; ideally fast and slow. The pace variation improves endurance and feigns the exertion young athletes are needed to make while playing.
Advance Sprint Speed with Resistance Training: As with stamina and endurance, speed is crucial for every soccer player. Speed and acceleration will allow you to out-pace other players and reach the ball quickly. The use of resistance training is a great way to boost your speed. Resistance training involves using resistance bands or rigid materials that strain your muscle movements.
Some of the basic exercises for resistance include lunges, running on the spot and push-ups. Use resistance bands for each exercise to obtain the necessary resistance training. Other exercises like squat and bench pressing and dumbbell rows also seem to improve sprint speed for soccer.
Build Strength with Squats and Lunges: While soccer is a non-contact sport, young players are required to be physically strong. Strength is essential when competing for position in set-pieces and challenging for the ball in attacks.
Lunges and squats are popular strength training workouts and help you tone your body while improving your overall fitness. They enhance your athletic performance. These workouts focus on strengthening your legs, hips, and back to improve mobility and stability.
Beginners and advanced youth athletes can perform lunges and squats to build strength. Although weightlifting is a great and effective way for strength building, it’s not recommended for children and teenagers. Instead, they should build strength with squats and lunges.
Perform Simple Stamina Training to Improve General Fitness: Apart from interval training, there are many other workouts and routines young players can perform to build stamina. These exercises include running up and downstairs, chest jumps, running, and shuttle runs.
Fast chest jumps will help you build stamina and improve agility. Such workouts are better as you won’t need any equipment to complete them. You can perform them in your own free time.
Improve Flexibility with Extensive Warm Up and Stretching Routines: When it comes to a soccer, every player needs to be flexible and agile for efficiency and precision while playing. Players must be able to change direction fast with ease while accelerating and decelerating.
One of the most effective ways to improve flexibility is by performing rigorous pre-training and pre-game warm up. Rigorous pre-warm-ups are essential as they help to reduce the potential of injury and common complications like cramps.
Jumping straight into exercise can be very harmful as your muscles and legs are not ready for the tough action. Challenging and extreme warm-ups are perfect for performing simple exercises that improve flexibility and movement in young players. Examples of the best warm-up exercises for flexibility include high knees, butt kicks, quick shuffles, pull foot to the rear, and pull knee to chest.
Build Rock-Solid Core Stability: Solid core stability helps a player to take full advantage of every aspect of their physique. Overcoming defenders with incredible balance is a clear indication of rock-solid core stability and good speed.
However, not everyone has a low center of gravity. But since this aspect of conditioning is essential, your players must have a rock-solid core to emulate this. Young players can gain proper core stability from combining some unstable workouts to their training regime.
These workouts include squatting on a Bosu-ball, getting on a TRX for plank jacks, and performing a single-leg Romania deadlift with a T-bar. All these exercises will challenge the core to improve stability when pushing the ball forward.
Leave Sufficient Time for Recovery Time Between Training Sessions: For young players, it’s vital to allow enough time for recovery between training sessions. This is because their bodies are not grown fully but are still developing. While young children recover more quickly than adults, exposing them to continuous exercise can lead to injuries or too much pressure on their tender bodies.
In this case, the best thing to do is to ensure that no training sessions last longer than two hours. Coaches can mix training sessions and practices to have slow-paced workouts and intense training. Soccer training activities should be distributed fairly throughout the week to ensure that young players have sufficient time to recover.
Monitor Progress and Achievable Goals: At the beginning of every soccer training session, you should create a set of goals for each player and then work towards achieving them. Having goals will give the coach and player a scale to work from. As each training progresses, you can evaluate the progress and see if the goals are realistic.
If the goals are achievable, you can now focus and work towards achieving them. Along with monitoring progress, young players should also watch their feeding patterns. Maintaining a balanced nutritional diet is crucial for all children and teenagers. Soccer players should stay hydrated when training and competing to improve energy levels and promote quick recovery.
Soccer Conditioning and Fitness Drills
The fitness level of each player plays a critical role in making a successful team. Coaches should use soccer conditioning and fitness drills to keep the players fit and maximize the team’s potential. These soccer conditioning and fitness drills include:
3-on3 Force Making
Defending skills are very critical in soccer. Players are trained to stay with and shield their assigned opponents with wick cuts and speed changes to create space on the attack.
How the Drill Works
In this drill, players compete in a small-sided game of 3 versus 3 to the goal. Each player marks the player they have been matched up with on the opposing team during the entire game. This creates a challenging fitness aspect of the game.
ABC 150s is a conditioning activity that requires players to cover the same distance in each pattern to build their endurance and agility.
How the Drill Works
Players finish three distinct running patterns; A, B, and C, with each pattern covering 150 yards. They get some time to rest in between the patterns.
Tempo Runs aim at developing a player's fitness level through a less injury-prone method. They help players build strength endurance properties needed for soccer. Players reduce the amount of time they need to recover between runs.
How the Drill Works
Players run with 90% of their max speed along the full field's length and then jog slowly across the width. Then they repeat the same process.
Alternating Box Splint
This drill mainly focuses on creating recovery time between sprints, increasing stamina and lung capacity of the players.
How the Drill Works
In this exercise, players use the outside field lines as markers while they jog and sprint. The field is divided into six sections to perform this drill effectively. Each long sideline is divided into two sections, and each end line is regarded as one section, which adds up to six units. The players should start jogging along the lines and switch to sprinting the majority of the lines.
Equipment for Soccer Conditioning and Fitness
Adjustable Hurdles and Cone
Adjustable hurdles and cones are a great set of equipment designed to improve your speed and agility, making you efficient in the field. They are quick to set up and very easy to adjust. You just have to rotate the legs until you hear a click at 6, 9, or 12-inch height settings.
How to Use Adjustable Hurdles and Cones
Coaches can have their players do some dynamic movements and stretches to warm up for training or the actual game. You can arrange the hurdles for players to perform various jumping and explosive movements.
As the players progress with jumping, ask them to get the knees up and set their feet for passing the ball before they move back. Then have two players on each end who will be passing the ball to the one jumping. You can also use cones to test and improve the players dribbling skills through these simple steps:
Agility Ladder is a piece of exercise equipment used to perform various agility drills to raise your heart rate and improve your athletic speed. You can use the agility ladder for a wide range of workouts, including sideways shuffles, skipping through rungs, and other exercises performed up and down the ladder for quick movements.
The agility ladder will improve three fitness aspects for soccer, including agility, speed, and quickness. It also strengthens the joints, ligaments and tendons. Incorporating agility ladder workouts in your soccer fitness routine is a great way to improve speed and have strong joints.
How to Use the Agility Ladder for Soccer Fitness and Conditioning
Being able to move your body faster is a very critical skill in soccer as players use all the body muscles. Using an agility ladder can significantly make a difference in the way you play this game. Your feet become flexible and precise like arms for easy ball handling. Here is how you can use the agility ladder for soccer conditioning and fitness:
Two-Feet Agility Drill
Single-Foot Agility Drill
Slalom poles are a versatile and essential piece of equipment for soccer fitness and conditioning. You can easily set them up in whatever way you need them for your training. You can use them to improve players' speed and test their dribbling skills.
The good thing with the slalom pole is that they are durable and very easy to store, so they won’t take much space. They come in bright colors like yellow, red, green, and orange to ensure they stand out. This helps you train with precision and get the most out of the training.
Young players can use this equipment for soccer fitness and conditioning both indoors or outdoors. Sticking them on the ground or a base is one of the best ways to make use of slalom poles. Here are two basic ways to use slalom poles for soccer conditioning and fitness;
Slalom Poles for Agility
You players must develop their agility skills to become great soccer players. It’s the ability to change your speed and direction instantly without losing balance. You can use slalom poles for agility by setting them up in a line and have the players weave in and out of the poles.
Set the poles tactically so that the players will have to think about moving their bodies and where to place their feet while weaving. Make sure that they get the point of turning and moving as quickly as possible.
Slalom Poles for Plyometrics
While speed is crucial in soccer, it may not help much if you don’t have more power. Plyometrics training can help players gain more power and excellent speed for soccer. You can use slalom poles to set up for some simple plyometrics drills.
Place the poles on the ground as a rudimentary agility ladder and have the players hop from one gap to the next. You can also set them out in pairs and let the players jump over them, then change the angle to alter the jump height.
Conditioning is very crucial in soccer. To do well in football, you need good cardiovascular fitness, agility, speed, and stamina.
Proper conditioning and fitness include good warm-up, agility training, speed training, power training, and recovery.
Conditioning for Speed
Many soccer players wonder what their ideal body weight should be. To be sincere, only nature knows what each soccer player should weigh.
Each player's body is unique, and therefore, there is no specific weight that is ideal for every player.
We can only suggest a range of weight with which a player can estimate their right weight depending on their body attributes.
Soccer is a game that relies not only on the skills but also depends on the strength, agility, power, and endurance.
Professional players need to take training and conditioning more seriously as it will boost performance and reduce the chance of sustaining injuries during matches. Here is general information from the weight and height guide for soccer;
Strength training is a very crucial exercise for soccer players. It helps them perform actions like sprinting, jumping, changing direction, and running efficiently.
Strength training also helps the players to build muscles and stamina required to overcome their opponents.
Practicing and getting the best out of your muscle training program is essential you understand the muscles to gain and how to attain them effectively.
Here is how you can build leg, upper and core, and hip and glute muscles:
Upper and Core Muscles
Hip and Glute Muscles
Yes, professional players lift weights. Lifting weights is essential for improving physical qualities like strength, agility, acceleration, and powerful movements.
Some players and trainers believe that weight lifting is not suitable for soccer players. This is due to a traditional belief that lifting weight makes the players slow and inflexible.
Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United star, used to lift weights according to a custom plan from his trainer.
Many other players from big English premier league clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool do weight-lift to increase their strength in the field.
Clubs like Arsenal rely on isometric and plyometric exercises to increase their players' speed and explosiveness rather than weight lifting.
Soccer is continually improving, and the game is requiring physical strength. Usually, the players who lift weights overpower the skinny and fast players. Hence, weight lifting is an essential aspect in soccer.
Below are 2 main benefits of weight lifting that soccer players can obtain:
Good and Consistent Performance
Weight Lifting Reduces the Injury Risks
Things You'll Need
Last update on 2021-06-16 / This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API