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How to get fit for football

Stamina and consistent performance are key to success on the football pitch. Reduce burnout by following these tips.

Fitness on the football pitch relies on a unique kind of fitness with the stop-start nature of the game. Explosive speed, strength and agility are the attributes of a good footballer. Fitness and strength can also reduce the risk of potential injuries with many coming from inadequate exercise and your body not being used to the twists and turns required when playing. If you are already thinking about your fitness and agility you may already be a step ahead of some of your teammates.

Tip 1. Alternate jogging and Sprinting.

Get out for a three-minute jog at a steady pace and then sprint for 30 seconds completing five repetitions. It is important to do this regularly and as you build your fitness to steadily increase the time you spend at a jog and then sprint pace.

Tip 2. Changing Direction quickly.

Football is all about being responsive to the game and changing your speed to beat your opponent. Lay out four cones in a diamond and marker them separately with either colours or numbers with you standing in the middle. Get a teammate to call out different cones and try to run to each cone as quickly as possible causing you to change direction quickly. Repeat this drill whilst in control of a football for added fun.

Tip 3. Warm up and stretch properly before and after training. 

Often overlooked by players, stretching and warming down properly can help prevent injury, help you train for longer and speed up your recovery after every training session. Warming up can also help improve performance. Start by spinning all of your joints not moving too quickly. Then move onto heel flicks lightly running on the same spot both behind and in front. Progress leg flicks with increasing height and purpose. Then stretch out all of your leg muscles, back, shoulders, and neck making sure not to skip any area.

Tip 4. Work on Agility.

With the help of an agility ladder, you can practice quick steps that can help with quick feet and acceleration. If you have an agility ladder you can start by sprinting through your ladder laterally lifting your knees as high as you can. Make sure you land safely on the balls of your feet. Using an agility ladder is much better than just completing these drills straight onto the grass as it will help with your accuracy and placement.

Tip 5. Rest before gameday.

Save your energy on the day of any game and keep training light on the day before. Providing you have made the preparations for training earlier in the week you will be ready for a game. The point is to save your energy for the game.

Got any more tips? Share your own in the comments below and always make sure you consult your coach or guardian before starting any activities.

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