I wouldn’t advise you to play soccer at a competitive level without being in the right shape! Otherwise, not only this will compromise your abilities even if you’ve got the skills, but also, you will put yourself in the risk of injuries …
… In this article, I breakdown the attributes you should focus on to reach the fitness levels you need, plus how to do it properly and safely!
Let’s dive in.
Most Important Attributes to get in Shape for Soccer …
Endurance and stamina are the most important aspects of physical preparation for soccer.
Endurance represents the longevity of psycho-physical work at a maximum effort, while stamina refers to a time you can perform certain a activity.
Combined, they are the key motor skills that a soccer player should have.
The average soccer player runs around 6 miles per game at different paces!
In order to endure all that stress for the body, he must improve his physical fitness level. By enhancing the cardiovascular endurance through the right training regime, players improve the strength of their heart, lungs and other bod parts, which makes them more prepared for intense drills and tough soccer games.
With greater levels of fitness not only makes the players more endurable for physical challenges of the game, but also it makes them less injury prone.
Best workouts to get in the shape for soccer …
Each specific aspect of your physical and fitness competence has its own training drills and plan that suits each one of them.
1. Speed Improvement
Speed represents the maximum acceleration that a soccer player can achieve and maintain at a certain distance and for a certain amount of time.
There are a number of exercises and drills that can be used to improve this segment of the game.
One of the most practical ways to practice speed is to use a Speed Ladder (Check it Here on Amazon). This equipment allows you to be creative and do several exercises:
Run through: The first drill is simple running with one foot going into each field of the ladder. In order for this exercise to be done effectively, it must be done with the knees raised high enough and the legs moving quickly as you can.
In these exercises, it is desirable to do 10 repetitions in 3-5 series.
Two feet run: The next exercise you can apply is to enter both feet into each ladder field. This should also be done with the knees raised high enough.
Take small steps between the ladder fields and work as fast as you can. This exercise with both feet in the field can also be applied in an alternative way.
Take two steps forward and one step back and so on until the last step of the ladder. When you are performing this drill, take a slightly sided position relative to the ladder.
Although both feet go into the ladder field, when you are positioned on the left side in relation to the ladder, the first foot that enters the ladder field is the left foot.
When you are done with the left side position, switch to the right for coordinated development.
Side run: Another very useful exercise is to enter each ladder field from a different side. Position yourself on the left side of the ladder and enter the first field of the ladder with both feet.
Then both feet go out of the field and then you enter the next field from the right side and so on until the end with alternately changing the side from which you enter the next field.
You can do these exercises with lined cones or hoops in the field. Another useful exercise for acceleration is running uphill. That will also make you more endurable.
2. Endurance reinforcement
In terms of endurance, the effective exercise is to line up 4 lines of cones at a distance of 10 yards apart. Run from the first to the second line of cones at a moderate pace and then come back in a full sprint.
Then run from the first to the third line of cones at a moderate pace and go back at full sprint.
Repeat this from the first to the fourth line of cones. This exercise is about running at a different pace, which is also similar to running during the game.
Therefore, endurance exercises should have the goal to increase fitness level in order for the player to successfully complete his tasks for the entire 90 minutes of the competitive match.
3. Increasing awareness
Awareness represents your ability to continually position where you are on the field, where are your teammates, where are your opponents and the ball position and direction.
Every second the player on the field should have a quick look around and know all these factors!
Set up an exercise of three players:
- The first player has the ball possession
- While the player in the middle has the task to escape the third player, his guardian.
- The guardian is trying to stay at his back all the time.
The player in the middle must look around and over his shoulder, before receiving the ball. He must precisely calculate his opponent’s position.
If the player behind him is positioned on the left side at the time of pass reception, he takes the ball to the right.
If the player behind approaches from the right side, he takes the ball to the left side after receiving it.
It is essential for the players to develop the field and surroundings awareness. This increases their confidence in the game and it is a primary feature of midfielders and attackers.
4. Higher jumping
Jumping exercises target improving your ability to jump higher with the right timing! To improve this segment props and equipment are not really necessary.
The first exercise you can do is a side jump from one to the other foot simultaneously. Do this in several sets with 15 repetitions.
Another exercise you can do is a one leg jump. After around 10 repetitions, switch the foot, so the both of your feet are affected the same. You can upgrade this exercise by changing foot with each jump, but keep in mind to have your knees slightly bent for this type of practice.
When it comes to jumping with both feet at the same time, great drill to do is a standing long jump.
Remember to swing with your hands when jumping, as it gives you more strength and better movement coordination. You can uplift this exercise with jumping from the run.
Practicing jumping is especially important for central defensive players and attackers, and it should be a regular part of training schedules.
How long does it take to get in the right shape?
The time required for reaching a desirable fitness level depends mostly on your physical conditions, mental preparation, and current technical knowledge.
The better these prerequisites are, the easier it is!
Minimum time required for achieving improvement and notable results is around 6 weeks.
During this time period you should plan adequate exercises and nutrition. During these six weeks your training is focused on physical aspects: strength, speed, endurance, coordination.
These are all necessary conditions for further improvement of your fitness level and for some advanced training techniques.
For getting in the right shape for competitive matches and advanced training sessions, time required is around 14 weeks.
Couple Tips to get in shape Fast …
The most important advice for achieving desirable soccer form is to give your maximum effort in training without draining yourself!
Only through this level of dedication you can achieve great results.
After regular training, don’t hesitate to stay for a while (30 minutes or more) to practice by yourself. Individual training is a crucial part of your development!
Unlike team training, individual training is targeted on improving your personal attributes. You will get in shape faster if you focus on your own progress. Individual training plan is designed to develop your key attributes and prepare you for competitive game and intensive team training.
How nutrition does help getting you in shape?
As a soccer player you should eat a healthy meal 3 to 4 hours before a hard workout or a game! This is crucial for to perform at the best of your abilities.
Important to have in mind is that exercise leads to high calorie consumption. The key here is to have well-balanced meals, reach with carbohydrates and protein.
Protein intake is very important to speed up the body’s recovery process. Protein helps build and repair muscles, and protein-rich foods like fish, lean meat and poultry, dairy products, beans, nuts, and soy products should be a part of your regular nutrition plan.
Carbs provide energy for the body. When you’re picking carbs, look for whole-grain foods like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain bread and cereal, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Meal rotation is very important due to the intake of different types of nutrients. Besides getting the right amount of calories, it needs to be a variety of nutrients to keep young athletes performing at their top level.
Keep in mind that bad nutrition is by far the number one reason why some soccer players retire early!
Can you get in shape at home?
Optimal physical shape can be achieved by exercising at home. You can use different equipment to help you get to this goal.
The most basic one is a solid rope (Check this one Here on Amazon). Skipping the rope is a highly intensive exercise that keeps the whole body engaged.
Maybe the most challenging part of home practicing is how to gather strength. Constant exercise of push-ups and abs as a daily routine will help your body to strengthen and set the ground for some advanced exercises.
If you have weights at home, some exercises can ensure improving your strength. Running short sessions at home will improve your stamina and endurance.
Treadmills are the ideal solution if you do not have a backyard or some extra space.
Also, home bicycle is a great piece of equipment that moves the whole body and ensures balanced fitness development
How will you know that you’ve become in shape?
The player is in shape when technical, tactical, fitness and psychological abilities are at their maximum level.
When this is achieved, all those drills that you had problems with are now much easier to you.
You can complete them with the amount of effort that is not pushing you to the limits, so you can focus on doing them at the right way and at the adequate quality.
And when the drills are done in a proper manner, you will notice that you are improving your abilities much faster than before.
Another characteristic of good form is quick recovery from efforts at training. Your muscles recover much faster and your entire body feels stronger.
If you are without injuries for a long period of time, that is also a sign that you are physically well prepared.
Which position requires the most Fitness and Stamina?
These two attributes are required for all positions in the team especially for the back midfielder and fullback.
They have a huge radius of movement and it is important that they do not lose a lot of energy during the game.
Players who possess these two attributes can run a lot in the game!
Fullbacks, in addition to their defensive tasks, must constantly run with the ball on the sidelines.
On the other hand, the back midfielder has the task of spoiling the opponent’s game and is constantly chasing the opponent’s offensive players.
These are players who work hard for their team on the field and are involved in almost every team play.
Final Thoughts …
I really hope that this article has given you a global view on how you should help your body to get in peak shape for games!
I’ve personally played hundreds of soccer games and I can tell you that each time I had a great fitness this just impacted really positively my playing abilities.
So, don’t take that for granted and work on your endurance, stamina … as well as you probably already do for your skills.