If you are a soccer player and are interested in pursuing it at a professional level, you will never be able to stop your training and soccer conditioning drills will be a part of your weekly training sessions. Even if you are simply playing it recreationally and want to condition and improve your footwork, you are going to have to work for it!
With any sport, especially soccer, consistent training and conditioning are vital to enhance your playing ability. The moment you think you don’t have to practice, and you think you are better than everyone else, is the moment I’m afraid that you will falter.
You need consistent and constant training in soccer and that will push you to be the best player you can be. There are plenty of soccer conditioning drills available to you today and I will fill you in on what your focus needs to be and what drills to concentrate on.
The conditioning drills
There are multitudes of soccer conditioning drills that you can find at the tips of your fingers. With YouTube and Google, you can find the answer to any question and find multiple lists, videos, and diagrams of how various conditioning drills work.
While I don’t have time to get into them all today, I want to push you in the right direction of what you should focus on. Whether you are a beginner or play at a more professional level, you must always be conditioning the basics. I know more advanced players may roll their eyes at this, but it is the truth.
Whenever I’ve coached soccer around the world, I’ve broken the conditioning drills down into 4 key components:
… and we’re going to look at each of these in turn today, and provide you with some of the best drills available.
Where do I get my soccer conditioning drills from?
Well, I've been a coach around the world for a few decades now, so have years of experience and hours and hours treading the turf!!!
What I will say is that I also used the Epic Soccer Training series from Matt Smith with a number of my teams as it's a concise set of videos and tips designed to make you the complete soccer player.
I recommend this series to all of my players and make sure that they get a copy so they can watch this when they are feed up of listening to me!!!
So lets start are tips today by looking at one of Matt's videos below to give you an idea of the level of detail you'll get in the Epic Soccer Training series.
The Agility Wheel
This is a nice introductory conditioning drill to get your blood flowing and will help you with your overall agility and ability over small distances.
The most important things in this video are the tips that Matt gives about resting, and finding the drills that are right for you. Remember, he's a pro so has been there and done this many times.
Stamina Conditioning Drills
The demands on a modern soccer player are ever increasing, with a more physically demanding game, stronger players and more games per season, so working on your stamina should be the starting point of your soccer conditioning programme.
A few years ago, good soccer teams could get by on skill and ability alone, however, in the modern era, you'll find that the best teams who win competitions repeatedly, are also the fittest teams.
The first four videos that I've found focus on shuttle runs or suicide run variants, and are probably the best way to build up your stamina:
Shuttle Runs / Suicide Run Variants
This video shows your basic shuttle run technique, which will get you out of breath in no time at all.
Simply sprint to the nearest cone, turn come back to the start line, then head to the next furthest cone.
Keep doing this until you hit the last cone.
You can see in these pre-season conditioning drills that the focus isn't just on continually running, but interspersing each drill with a short period of rest, to simulate real life conditions.
I like the way that during the rest period the coach gets the players to focus on their ball skills at the same time.
This set of drills uses a resistance band to give that extra intensity and also throws a few different runs into the mix.
Adding a turn into your drill or running backwards is going to be particularly important, especially for defenders, who need to be on their heels!
This video features a conditioning workout for the whole soccer team and will surely increase the stamina of the players.
Group 1 - Performs shuttle runs
Group 2 - Push ups / Upper body exercises
Group 3 - Sit ups / Stomach exercises
Group 4 - Leg exercises - Lunge / Squats
Conditioning Drills to Improve your Strength
Developing your strength as a soccer player is going to be a vital attribute that you'll need to have.
- As a striker, you'll need to out-muscle defenders, shield the ball and power your way through defenses
- As a midfielder you'll need to hustle and win back the ball for your team mates
- As a defender you'll need to dominate the penalty area, be a rock at the back of your team who lets the oppostion past them at all costs
Core Strength Conditioning Drills
- Side Plank
- Glute Bridge
- Unstable Press Ups
- Responsive Press Ups
Having a strong core will not only improve your strength, but also aid your balance, your ability to quickly turn and change direction amongst other things
- Pull Ups
- Kettle Bell Swings
- Medicine Ball Twist Toss
- Push Press
- Push Ups
6 Killer Strength Exercises
Now, you don't necessarily need to be as buff as the guys in this video, but a bit of extra muscle will really pay off not only with your physical presence but with your stamina as well.
Soccer conditioning drills to increase your speed
To be a top soccer athlete you will need to be fast. Not only attackers, but defenders these days in particular need to have explosive pace to cover their backs.
We're going to look at a number of soccer conditioning drills that will help you work on your speed and gradually improve your pace for the game:
Speed Cone Drills
The two drills that I have selected above are simple techniques to improve your speed over a short distance.
Of course sprinting is great to improve your speed as well, but if you force the player to spring and stop you'll give them a full workout and really improve their acceleration ability.
Speed Ladder Drills for Fast Feet
Using a speed ladder is an awesome way to improve your foot speed, agility and balance.
Focus on precision to start with an getting the moves correct, then gradually increase the speed that you move.
This video is one of my favourites out there as it shows you 14 different steps to use on the speed ladder, that will have you dancing like Ronaldo in no time at all.
Agility Conditioning Drills
Vertical Jump Training
If you want to float like Ronaldo and climb over defenders, or dominate your penalty area like David Luis, then you're going to have to learn how to jump.
- Squat Jumps
- Tuck Jumps
- Forward Jumps
Yes, when I say jump, you say "How High?"
Soccer Conditioning Workouts
The final thing that I'm going to leave you with today is a couple of workouts that encompass a lot of what we have talked about today.
Home Conditioning Workout
I like this workout a lot and because it is something you can do from the comfort of your own home.
If this is the only thing you did each day then you'd have a great body as this workout focuses on building up good overall body strength, something which will be invaluable in your game.
Outdoor Soccer Fitness Drills
Listen to this dude and get on out there!!!
If you want to succeed, you really need to push yourself and despite all the talk this video shows us 10 soccer conditioning drills, which will develop your speed, agility and stamina.
In my mind the key to success in developing your strength and conditioning is twofold:
- Specialise: Find the training regime that is right for you. For example, a central defender will need to work more on their strength and jumping abilities that a winger, who should focus more on interval training with both short and long sprints, as well fast feet. Carve out the training regime that is right for you
- Be Consistent: Doing a 15 minute session once a day is a lot better than doing a 2 - 3 hour workout once a week. Choose a number of conditioning drills that are right for you and gradually build up your speed and ability as you practice more.