Introduction: Soccer specific conditioning drills are designed to develop young players speed, agility, and timing over both short and long distances. Please bear in mind that the emphasis should be on short charges of explosive speed rather than long distances, statistics show an average player will do 70% more short sprints than long in a 90 minute game.
It is important to check with your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Players should always be properly hydrated and stretched before, during, and after each game. As with all exercise programs, the duration and extent of the repetitions of these drills should be based on the age and physical condition of the players.
Coaches should exercise good judgement with regard to the above.
Indian Running file – Players will jog around the field in pairs and the back pair must sprint to the front, outside the line of other players, then the next pair, and so on.
Shuttles, sprinting, backward and sideways sprinting – Arrange a line of cones 3 yards apart and 30 yards long. Players sprint to the 1st cone and then back; 2nd cone then back; and so on.
The 5000 endurance running – Using the football field, player’s first jog around the perimeter. When they return to the starting point they must sprint one side then jog the remainder, then two sides, three sides and full field sprint.
Circuit training (30 seconds on each) – Arrange 5 stations; divide group into 5 equal teams and start 30 second drill. -a) Push ups b) Burpees c) Sit ups. d) Star Jumps. e) Bench Jumps.
Up and down the clock- 10 yd; 20 yd, 30 yd, 40 yd, and 50 yd sprints then walks back breathing deeply. Arrange cones in 10 yard distances; develop progressive long run sprinting and develop breathing for recovery.
Heading endurance in circle – Arrange 10-15 players in a circle; one player enters and goes for 30 seconds calling and heading balls back to the server. This can be developed with two or even three players challenging for the same ball in the circle. This drill can also be used with passing and control topics.
Posture running – over cones: Start at the end of the line cones; run over the top of the cones; lift your knees high. Purpose: To keep upper body and head still while running.
Agility running- around cones: Stand sideways to the line cones; start at the first cone and run between each cone sideways; use small; quick steps. Purpose: Improves forward movement and side movement.
Speed starts- no cones: Begin a sprinter’s starting position; use a two point stance and burst forward as quickly as possible; use a three point stance; use a four point stance. Purpose: Improves initial movement towards ball.
Sprints-no cones: Mark off 50 yards and 20 yards on the track; start in a three point position; run to finish and quickly change direction to run backwards; have a partner time each sprint.
Up and down drill- Objective: Improve speed by running short sprints forwards and backwards.
Start at the end of the line of cones; sprint to the cone diagonally in front; go around the cone; back pedal to the opposite next cone; go around it; repeat the process; go through all the cones; jog back to the starting point. Look For: Explosiveness on first step; body straight and leaning forward; arm movement on sprints; arm movement on back pedalling.
Recovery Step Drill – Objective: To work on explosiveness
Have two lines of cones in a “zigzag” formation; cones must be seven or eight feet from each other; have at least eight cones on each line. Stand by the first cone; stay inside the two lines of cones thru the drill; touch the first cone and always facing forward go to the next cone by performing one cross-over step and a few side steps; get to the cone as fast as possible, touch it and go for the next one; repeat the process and finish touching every cone; jog back to the starting point. Look For: Bent knees, Explosive recovery.
First Step Drill – Objective: To work on explosiveness, mainly on the first step.
Have two lines of cones in a “zigzag” formation; cones must be seven or eight feet from each other; have at least eight cones on each line. Start at the end of one line of cones; sprint to the closest cone to the side; over-exaggerate the first step: if cone is to the left, left leg goes first and vice versa; decelerate as you get to the cone; turn and sprint to the next cone; repeat process until you finish weaving in and out thru the cones; jog back to the starting point. Look For: Powerful and explosive first step, pivoting and turning, arm movement, leaning forward.
Cross over Step Drill – Touch cone and side step; stay lower-no feet bump; last cone sprint back ( *Use also running backwards)
Use same set up for going around cones; get low when going around cone and touch-sprint back.
Same as 1) above – no touch cone; sidestep around cone – sprint back.
Sprint to first cone – back stepping to next – change speed sprint to next cone, etc. Spring back. (*Develop w/ball)
Ski-skip drill in and out of cones, then sprint, jog back.
High knees over cones.