Any sport requires stamina and fitness, and soccer conditioning ensures that the players perform their skills on the field with confidence and strength.
Depending on the age, physical condition and skills of the player, there are different types of fun soccer conditioning drills – aerobic and anaerobic.
- Aerobic Conditioning
This type of conditioning is designed to enable the body to handle oxygen. It is used to build long periods of endurance and quick recovery after strenuous bouts of the game. The following soccer drill is an example of aerobic conditioning:
You get your players warmed up through medium paced jogging for about 8-10 minutes. Then they sprint fast for about three minutes followed by a slow one-minute jog. This sequence is repeated 5-8 times. After this comes the cooling down gradually.
- Anaerobic Conditioning
Anaerobic conditioning aims at improving player’s recovery time from short stints of rigorous activity. On the soccer field, a player runs fast for 25 yards for one move and then needs to change directions for another move. When your players continuously work hard, there is a build up of lactic acid.
This interferes in their performance if they do not recover by slowing down a bit. What happens with anaerobic conditioning is, the build up of lactic acid is slowed down and the players learn to tolerate it. When it builds up however, it disperses fast so that the players revert to optimum performance in record time.
Different types of conditioning drills are used for different levels of players.
- Junior players
Only aerobic conditioning is used for these young players. For players aged 6-10, usually no drills are conducted for endurance. Rather they are encouraged to play games from which they derive their conditioning.
- Youth players
For these players, the conditioning drills are a little tougher as they have the capacity to handle it. Tough drills interspersed with short rest periods are recommended.
- Older players
When you coach the age group 16-21, you must ensure that the conditioning exercises meet their specific needs to help them show optimum performance on the field. These players are expected to do anaerobic conditioning soccer exercises so that they can cope with the lactic acid collection.
According to player requirement, anaerobic conditioning must be alternated with aerobic along with enough breaks for resting and reverting to full performance. Soccer conditioning is all about building player stamina and fitness so that they can prove their skills on the field successfully.