Players must develop physical fitness before anything else.
A balanced fitness program should be a part of every soccer player’s lifestyle.
Conditioning in a group or with a partner makes for a more consistent program.
Soccer players must work on all components of fitness.
· Cardio-vascular endurance.
· Muscle endurance.
· Flexibility and agility.
· Muscle strength and speed.
Training Pyramid: (Cardiovascular Endurance)
- Base stage- three to five workouts per week to build endurance. Workouts can vary, and not even be soccer related, (running, jumping rope, basketball etc.). The main theme is duration, not intensity. (30 to 60 min. per session)
- Build phase or stage-three workouts per week at higher intensity. The main theme is to go faster, but not to cut back on time of the session. (30 to 45 min. per session)
- Peak stage-Players are now approaching their competitive season. Workouts must be short, but high intensity. This includes sprints with a work to rest ratio of 1:3. (15-second sprint, 45 second rest). This ratio will build up to 1:2 then 1:1 in training as the season approaches.
- Maintenance phase or stage- Takes place during the season. Training activities will be economical in nature to develop techniques and tactics, along with maintaining a soccer fitness level.
It is estimated that every week of lost training causes a 10% decrease in conditioning.
Base aerobic: (Dec., Jan., Feb.)
Peak sprints: (Late March, Early April)
Maintenance: (Late April, May, Early June)
Base-aerobic: (Late June, July) (a break is suggested of two weeks after season end.)
Peak-sprints: (Late Aug, Early Sept.)
Maintenance: (Late Sept., Oct. Early Nov.) (A break is suggested of two weeks after season end.)
Note: The base stage is an endurance stage. This can be done within or out of a soccer program.
Also remember the interval and peak stage can be done at least in part, within the economical training of a soccer session.
Base stage- running, jumping rope, swimming, cycling, stair stepping etc.
Build stage- Mile repeats or 800 yard runs, Fartlek training (continuous tempo to interrupted short bouts of faster running. These methods can also be done with a ball (running with a ball, doing different moves, stops and starts, turns, passing and receiving, weaves, sensitizing with continuous movements. Three workouts per week with higher intensity.
Peak stage-Now approaching the competitive season. Running workouts must be short but high intensity. Sprints of 10,20,30,40,60,80 and 100 yards. (1:3 work to rest ratio)(Work to rest ratio will decline 1:2 and finally 1:1 ratio as the season approaches)
Again, these should be done both without the ball with proper running form and with the ball.
Maintenance stage- Takes place during the season. The daily training sessions help to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Intense running workouts should still be incorporated into the sessions.
At least three sessions per week.
Muscle Strength and Endurance:
Players can develop muscle strength through such activities as working with free weights, weight machines, rubber bands or tubing, gymnastics, calisthenics and a players own body resistance.
Please Note: It is only suggested that any weight training only be done after a player is at or past the puberty stage. There are different schools of thought on this, however in doubt, consult a qualified trainer or your physician.
Muscle endurance by working with lighter weights or resistance and increasing the repetitions of the exercises,
Muscle strength by working with heavier weights or resistance and less repetitions.
We suggest using a program of the following:
Strength Phase: To develop a base or foundation on which to build. The rule is to have a high volume (sets by repetitions) and low intensity (weight). Initial program begins with three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Power Phase: Starts with a change from high volume to lower volume and low intensity to higher intensity. The intent of this phase is to improve athletic movements players will be doing on the field.
Plyometric Training: can also be done during the power phase. This helps develop the player’s explosiveness. It should include reactive drills, box jumps etc.
Maintenance Phase: during the season. The purpose is to maintain the increased strength levels. Usually lifting twice per week during the season. (One-day light and one-day heavy) Note rest days in between each lifting day. Weight should not be done on a match day.
Strength phase- (Dec., Jan., Feb.) (June, July)- Three days per week- (three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions)(high volume with low intensity).
Power Phase- (Mar.) (Aug)- Three days per week- (five sets of 5 repetitions)(low volume, high intensity)
Plyometrics- done with the power stage.
Maintenance- (In season) two days per week-arranged around competitive schedule.
Special Note: Any weight training should only be done with consultation by a qualified weight trainer or only after consulting a physician. We suggest only body weight training (push up, hill climbing etc.), before a player goes past puberty.
Flexibility Training: Activities such as static stretching or any other activity that puts the major muscle groups through a full range of motion.
Consult your coach or trainer for a static stretching program.
These can and should be done after a warm-up, and before other activities. They should also be done after a workout.
Do not exceed the threshold for discomfort or pain.
Do not bounce or jerk-gradually induce the stretch.
Maintain the stretch for 20 to 40 seconds.
Do not squeeze the knees, or put too much pressure on the knee joint.
Stretching after a workout helps to speed recovery for the next workout.
Agility Training: Agility is of most importance to a soccer player. (See speed and agility training)
Most agility training should be done both in the off-season and during the season.
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