Don't Confuse Fitness With Running
For soccer players, the fitness session should not be limited to just running, but also jogging and walking to fit in with the demands of the sport. No soccer player actually runs for the whole 90 minutes of a game, the pace is varied. Similarly, the direction of work should not always be straight ahead. A soccer player has to move forwards, backwards and side to side. Remember, if you are a soccer player, you are not training to be a better sprinter, you are training to be better at soccer, therefore, sprinting should not just take the form of back and forth shuttles, but should change direction or imitate a slalom. Be creative!
Teams can get fit through challenging fitness drills in practice where players increase their fitness level involving a variety of imaginative elements. Coaches can Incorporate fitness drills involving a variety of soccer skills in high pressure situations to increase physical, skill development, and mental fitness! Also, fitness drills can come in the form of a competition or race. This keeps the players motivated, pushing themselves for individual and team success! Many of the fitness workouts I develop for my teams, come to me, as I get to know the players better. I take into consideration many variables, such as: variety, efficiency, simplicity, practicality, and fun!
Below are a few fitness drills that can replace running laps around the field:
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Players can get burned out quickly when coaches use running as the primary method of fitness, so coaches should incorporate a variety of fitness activities that are effective, challenging, and fun. Sprints, walking, jogging, changing directions, shooting, passing and other skills can be tied together into a variety of fitness challenges that keep the players pushing one another at a competitive level, increasing their fitness level, sharpening their skills, and getting a mental workout as well.