Soccer Specific Fitness and Conditioning: Train Like A Pro!
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with a growing number of soccer players and enthusiasts of all ages all around the world. Despite this fact, strength and soccer conditioning are often neglected or outdated. Except at the professional level, many athletes and coaches only focus on skill development and training(running) and usually ignore the other important elements of soccer-specific fitness such as:
- Strength and endurance training.
- Speed and power.
- Flexibility, warming up and cooling down.
- Agility training.
Here’s a close look at the soccer conditioning and specific soccer fitness. Our suggestions will focus on soccer fitness, training, conditioning, and in-season / off-season fitness to boost your team’s overall success.
Endurance in soccer
A soccer fitness program should be mostly built around a good development of aerobic fitness. Several studies have shown that players can travel up to 13 km during a 90 min game.
Running for at least an hour per day it is likely to improve the performance of soccer players on the field. However, if we start analyzing the soccer-specific requirements of the player, we’ll realize that they are engaging in varying intensities of activity while playing, including:
- And in various directions
Incorporating interval training into your program will provide better results than a long duration. To achieve that, it involves high and low intensities of activity.
Strength in soccer
Strength is a very important component of soccer players’ fitness that can benefit athletes. It is often viewed as of little importance in soccer, however, strength forms the basis for power and speed. Soccer players also need strength to hold off from the opponents in the field. Some other benefits of strength training are:
- Injury resistance
- Leaner body composition
- Faster metabolism
- More energy
- Greater explosiveness
- Improved balance, agility and stability
- Faster recovery
The strength training program should mostly focus on functional exercises such as lunges, squats, step-ups, pushups, dips and chin-ups. Take into account to balance the strength of opposing muscle groups.
Speed and agility in soccer
One of the most important components of a soccer player fitness program is speed and agility training. Endurance and strength are important to improve your performance. However, speed and agility have a definite competitive edge. You may have better endurance than the opponent, but if he makes it to the ball first it doesn’t matter that you can run marathons!
A simple speed test is a sprint of more than 30 yards. You can try this yourself by having someone else timing your speed. A sprint time under 5 seconds is good for you. The average of professional players is around 4 seconds.
A combination of strength and speed is power. A powerful player is a formidable player. To improve your speed you should include power movements in your program such as jump squats, high pulls, power cleans and push presses.
Flexibility in soccer
Another important aspect of soccer fitness is to discuss is flexibility. Maintaining a healthy range of motion can be beneficial. However, few people understand the most effective methods of stretching and when to use them. Many athletes still do passive stretching exercises before their workout or practice. Actually, this can diminish performance and increase the risk of injury.
The safest and most productive for your flexibility training is to do a dynamic warm-up. It includes walking lunges, bodyweight squats, high knees, arm circles etc. Then, spend some time stretching at the end.
Nutrition for soccer
We won’t get too deep into the subject of sports nutrition here, you can read our other article which is more detailed: “Nutrition Soccer Players: Maintaining a Healthy Food Diet!”. Suffice it to say that what you eat will directly affect your energy levels, performance and health. Here are some basic tips to consider:
- Drink a lot of water.
- Eat 4-6 smaller meals/snacks each day.
- Eat after exercise, not directly before.
- Meals should include: Protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains
- Starchy carbs should be eaten after exercise or the night before a big game, but otherwise reduced in your diet.
- No sugars, pastries, junk food, pop, chips, alcohol, tobacco, etc.
- Don’t eat before sleep.
- Take fish oil daily.
The Program: Off-Season and In-Season!
Your off-season weekly workout program should include two strength training days and a speed/power day in addition to your athletic skill training on the field.
At the end of your speed/power training, Black Eagles Academy suggests you do some agility work. Then you can include 2 or 3 endurance training sessions each week. Running for about 30 minutes with short sprint intervals.
For in-season training, just reduce your training volume and go back to one strength and one speed/power workout per week. It’s also recommended to adjust the number of endurance training sessions as well. However, it depends on the number of practices or games you have each week.
Keep in mind that this is only a basic overview of high-performance training for soccer and it is most convenient for adult players. However, to have the best soccer performance it is highly recommended to consider the above topics and get a better understanding of soccer-specific fitness and conditioning. If you are in the Toronto area, you can contact Black Eagles Soccer Academy regarding high-performance training for kids.
Why Black Eagles Academy?
Black Eagles Academy offers a wide range of innovative, state of the art programs that meet all interests and playing skills/abilities of all players and teams. We focus on helping our players to achieve their long and short term goals soccer wise. We train our players to understand what it takes to be a professional soccer player and how they could be the future of soccer.
Black Eagles build a professional environment with UEFA A and UEFA B licensed coaches with years of professional European experience in soccer. At Black Eagles, the European soccer standards make the standards.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact 1.437.996.5390