Conditioning plays an increasingly more important role in today’s soccer, so if you ever want to become a pro, you’d best start working on your fitness and endurance levels from early on. Unlike popular belief, soccer conditioning drills are not just short-term, in that you can’t “forget” how to be fit like many states.
Indeed, if you stay off sports for a while and gain weight, or simply lose touch to your conditioning, you won’t be able to run for as long a time as before, your muscles will be weaker and you won’t have the same tonus. But you won’t have to start from scratch all over again, because once you’ve trained using soccer conditioning exercises before, it will be a lot easier to step up and get to that level of fitness again.
What’s the best way to do this? It depends on one’s constitution, but I will try to cover what I believe to be some of the best soccer conditioning drills, regardless of your build or natural fitness.
– Best Soccer Conditioning Drills – The Pine Tree Sprints
This soccer conditioning drill is called this way because you’re drawing a virtual pine tree on the floor with your sprints. It’s one of the most effective, all round exercises you could train with, because it works out both your burst sprints and your long sprints. Here’s how to do it:
Place 5 marks on the field, aligned perpendicularly from where you’re standing and make sure the distance between them is equal. So, the first mark could be at 10 feet, the second at 20, the third at 30, fourth at 40 and fifth at 50. Or you could tone down the distance between each a little. Now, stand on the line and jump, pulling your knees to your chest. Either have a friend give you an audio signal (blow a whistle, clap hands, etc) or give yourself the green light and start sprinting for the first mark as soon as you land on the ground.
When you reach the first mark, do a quick break and turn and sprint back to the initial line. Now break and turn and sprint to the second mark and back. Do the same with all marks and when you reach the last one, start coming down again, to the fourth and back, third and back, and so on. This works your conditioning in so many great ways…you’ll be practicing acceleration on sprints with the short runs between the first 2 marks, longer sprints when running for the 4th and 5th marks and you’ll also practice your breaking (mobility).
– Best Soccer Conditioning Drills – The Full Court
This is another great soccer drill that works all aspects of your conditioning. Here’s how it works. You start in one corner of the soccer pitch, running slowly in a 1/4 tempo along the length. You do so until the opposing corner, then pick up the pace a bit on the side of the pitch, running in a 2/4 tempo. When you reach the second length, gear up and run in a 3/4 tempo, close to sprinting. The last side of the pitch should be ran through at full sprint speed, then when you reach the initial starting corner, settle down to 1/4 again.
You need to breathe carefully during the 1/4 and 2/4 tempo areas, because you’ll need to save your energy for the other two sides of the pitch. Get a couple of these full court laps and you’ll soon notice an improvement in conditioning. If you can’t last for more than a couple of them, don’t worry. Just try to gradually increase the number of laps every week or so.
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