Soccer Performance Training Is Key to Physical Fitness
April 17, 2019
It goes without saying, soccer is a physically demanding sport. On average, professional soccer players will run about 7 miles per game, with some players running up to 10. All of this is done within a 90 minute game. Physical fitness plays a key role in performance training of soccer players.
This article will go into some of the various techniques used by professional soccer players to improve fitness and help you perform at an elite level. Be advised, there is no easy way around it. It is going to take hard work and dedication to properly reach the fitness levels desired to complete at elite levels.
Do not skip warm ups!
Warming up is very important to soccer performance training because it will help us loosen up the body and help reduce the risk of injury. You cannot get better at soccer if you are injured and cannot play or practice. How does one warm up? Well there are many ways to do so, one of exercise you can do is:
Start with a light 10 minute jog. Do not exert yourself and go fast, this is meant to be light and to simply warm your muscles, joints and body up.
Proceed to do a stretch routine AFTER you have jogged. You can get a deeper stretch once your muscles have warmed up. This is a more effective method of stretching and has shown to further reduce the risk of injury.
Of Course there are many other routines you can do to warm up, as you learn about fitness your routines will progress to match your fitness levels.
Long Distance Soccer Performance Training
While most of your running on the soccer pitch will be short intermediate distances, it is important to build on your cardiovascular endurance as well. This can be achieved by running long distances, 5 or more miles. Long distance running has some serious benefits on the mind and body. A great way to destress, build mental fortitude and burn fat, long distance running is a staple in any fitness plan for any athlete.
Long distance can get boring when running on a treadmill. To combat that, get out run your city and sight see in the process. Be sure to wear some comfortable running shoes, as you would not want to injure yourself running long distances in soccer cleats.
Sprints, Hate ‘em, Love ‘em, Gotta Do ‘em
Sprints are, well, they are not fun. They literally put your body through the races and leave you asking “why am I doing this?”. Most running during soccer games is done as short intermediate distances, or short sprints. Sprinting is great because it not only helps build short distance stamina, it also helps you regulate your breathing for short distance running. When you do not practice proper breathing techniques, short distance sprints are difficult.
Master your breathing by trying to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth while running. Do not take proper breathing lightly, it will give you a serious edge if you can master your breathing while running.
Some short distance running techniques you can practice by yourself involve using a basketball court. Simply start at one end of the court, then run to the first painted line, then back to the start. Repeat for every painted line on the basketball court until the last line is the opposite end. You want to try and go all out for every sprint. You can take a 5 minute in between each full basketball court sprint.
Incorporate Core Strength to Performance Training
Core strength is just as important to your soccer abilities as running is. Players with solid core strength are harder to disposes. Core strength also helps you have more control over your passing and shooting. You can build core strength by doing sit-ups or practicing yoga and Pilates. Many professional soccer players practice Pilates and yoga.
Other ways to work on your core strength or technical ability is to take up a martial art. Players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic are black belts in Taekwondo and it shows on the field when you see some of the things they are able to do.
The bottom line is, if you want to play at a high level or become a professional soccer player one day, you need to work extremely hard on not just your soccer core fundamentals but also on your soccer performance training. Work harder than your teammates, than your brothers or sisters, and definitely work harder than you worked yesterday. It is the only way to keep improving. There are no shortcuts.