This article is intended to be a brief and non-technical introduction to the matter of soccer fitness so I’ll be giving you information as to why it’s so crucial and how you can improve your speed and stamina. If you want even more detail, then you can find whole books which are specifically about fitness and running – these will help with soccer just as with any other sport.
For now though, imagine a top soccer pro who’s at the peak of their career… they are skillful, fast and powerful. They can beat defenders in the blink of an eye and they can get around the pitch with ease. Their work rate is tremendous and they always put in 100% effort. (A perfect example of this type of player in reality is Wayne Rooney.) But what happens if that player gets out of shape and their fitness levels drop? You’ll still see flashes of technical brilliance, but they will certainly lack that spark they had before. I believe this works at any level: if you want to play at your best then your fitness needs to be good. I don’t mean this to sound scary; I’m just saying that your fitness needs to match your ability.
So how do you get that level of fitness? I think the main obstacle is psychological: if you can motivate yourself to get fit and have the mental determination to progress then you will succeed with fitness as with anything else. But it’s also about habit- you need to get into the habit of going running. If you already do go running and you are happy then that’s fantastic, but lots of people put it off more than they should. The distance you run and the time you do it in depends on your age and ability, but I would suggest going jogging at least three times a week. This will simply help keep you healthy. If you keep doing this and pushing yourself by running further each week or running the same distance in a quicker time, then your stamina and general fitness will steadily improve.
Now you may ask: how do I actually start getting faster? Well, sprinting is also necessary. As you know, in addition to the general fitness that jogging brings, soccer players have to be very quick over short distances. So lots of sprinting practice and dedication is basically all that’s needed. Get some cones and find a field near you. Run between the cones over and over again. Try varying the distances from 10m to 25m (or other) and try to improve your time on each occasion. The more you do this, the better you will get and soon you’ll be the first to every ball in your soccer games!
Well now that we covered all the basics I’ll just leave you with a final piece of advice: fitness just like anything else is down to determination and practice. If you do get your fitness right, then I think your soccer performance could really benefit. I hope this article has been of some interest and I look forward to your next visit to the website!