Looking to do some serious training for this season’s soccer games? We’ve written a couple soccer articles to help develop your skills—fun games to play at practice, tips to strengthen your kick—but for this one, it’s time to get to work. The best training happens when it’s time to get serious and put in effort, so here are a few drills and exercises that even the pros use that will help elevate your skills.
There are a couple key skills that you need for soccer. One of these is how to kick a real zinger, but we’ve already covered that. Soccer also takes speed, endurance, and agility—here are some exercises for each of these.
Being quick to the ball is important for both attackers and defenders. According to Men’sHealth, the following exercises will turn you into a Speedy Gonzalez on the soccer pitch.
The first drill requires only one thing: a hill. Sprinting up and down a hill will do two things. Running uphill builds your acceleration since your posture is slightly inclined, just like your posture when accelerating. Running downhill helps your overall speed because it forces you to take quicker strides and get you used to moving at a quicker pace.
Another important thing to do is to strengthen the muscles that directly relate to explosive speed: your hamstrings. To strengthen hamstring muscles, deadlifts are widely accepted as the best workout. Just make sure your deadlift form is on point!
It’s all well and good to be quick, but if you can’t keep up for the length of the game, you’ll be left outside of the action.
Endurance is one of those things that will take time and a lot of practice to build up. The best way to build it up is simple: run. And when you think you’ve hit your limit, push yourself just a little bit more. This will train your body to get stronger and more efficient with its resources, making it easier to last all 90 minutes of a match. Don’t push yourself too far beyond your limit though, that’s how injuries happen!
Changing directions quickly, hopping over a sliding tackle, intercepting a quick pass…these are all scenarios that demand quick and agile feet.
There are tons of exercises to help you be more responsive on the field. One thing to keep in mind with agility exercises is that they shouldn’t be physically exhausting. The important thing is to fine tune your form and get the important movements into muscle memory.
This is done through repetition.
To decide on which drills are best for you, you need to figure out which areas need the most work. Find a movement that feels unnatural or sluggish to you, and develop a drill based on that.
If turning with the ball feels slow, go back and forth juggling the ball, turning every 5 seconds. If running backwards and switching to forwards feels jarring, run laps while constantly changing the direction you are facing. Whichever exercise you decide on, stick with it. Muscle memory is an amazing thing, but it does take practice!
There you have it. Next time you’re training in your soccer dome, keep some of these tips in mind. You’ll be a pro in no time!