Fitness is especially important for soccer players, as they will be called on in a match to run for up to 90 minutes, with no stoppage in time and only sporadic stoppage of action. When preparing for the upcoming soccer season, it is best to play the beautiful game of soccer as a way to get more fit, as there is no substitute for the game. Even small-sided games for 15, 20 and 30 minute intervals will help increase fitness and endurance.
As a separate workout away from the game, It is best for soccer players to alternate sprinting, distance and interval running during a fitness workout. With each workout, players should gradually increase repetitions and improve times.
Here are the best drills for a soccer fitness workout:
300’s: On a soccer field, start out on the end line and sprint to mid-field up and back 6 times (50 yards x 6 = 300). High school players should try to run these in less than 70 seconds. After each 300, rest for two minutes and then repeat.
Hills: Find a steady incline hill (no “baby” hills) Sprint up the hill and jog down. The jogging is recovery time, so this can be done slowly. Once players reach the bottom, the should turn around and sprint up the hill again. After five (5) hills, then take a two minutes rest and do five (5) more.
Cones: These are sprints. Place cones about five (5) yards apart for 25 yards. Players should spring to the first cone and then back, then to the second cone and then back, and so on. Five cones up and back is one repetition. Do ten (10) reps and then a one (1) minute rest. Then ten (10) more.
Challenged yet? We’re just getting started…
30-30’s: This is interval training. Players should begin by jogging for a few minutes and then the fun begins. Next is to alternate 30 seconds of jogging with 30 seconds of sprinting. Do a set of five (5) 30-30’s, then rest two (2) minutes and then five (5) more.
120’s: This is a full sprint of the length of the soccer field. High school players should try to do this in less than 20 seconds. After reaching the opposite end line, players should jog back, allowing 60 seconds to recover. Do 7-10 of these.
Cooling down and stretching: Players should always take fifteen to twenty minutes to cool down and stretch to conclude fitness training.
Want even more soccer workout information? Total Soccer Fitness is your complete guide to soccer conditioning, which features a free soccer fitness course.