Being nifty on the ball means nothing unless you can match it with the physical capabilities to stay strong throughout the game. That's why Performance Director Jon Goodman has stepped in to put the lads through their paces working on drills to increase endurance, improve reaction speed and boost athleticism.
Take a look at what the former Premiership (Wimbledon FC) and International (Republic of Ireland) professional footballer Jon Goodman has to say about soccer conditioning.
Here are a few key elements of soccer conditioning and what your players should strive for:
Drills – incorporate the ball into conditioning drills to improve agility and make the drills more game like. Rather than jog around the park for a warm up, why not jog with the ball?
Interval training - sprint movements for 15 seconds with short breaks; Sometimes, to get open and to make those game winning runs, players have to go from a dead stop to a full sprint.
Random movements - increase heart rate and cardiovascular fitness; add in some plyometic work to your conditioning drills, whether it's jumping over the ball from side to side or jumping up for headers; have players start on the ground and get up off the ground to head the ball.
Physical strength - to hold players off who are trying to win the ball; add in some push ups and sit ups to the end of each training session
Acceleration – beat players with the ball and to the ball; soccer is so much about quick stops and starts, do sprint work like ladders to boost speed, acceleration and endurance.
Flexibility – reduced injuries and to make plays and avoid pressure; can your players reach for and control that long passes that seems like it's destined to go out of bounds? Make stretching a part of every practice at the beginning and the end.
Sharpness - comes with daily work
Stamina – strive for the highest level of fitness so players can express themselves on the field; who is going to win the ball at the end of the game? Who will make that long run down the sidelines with five minutes to go?