Soccer is a game of intense running and high activity. To get the best out of your team, you need players that are fit and healthy. To get players to the required match fitness, intense training is a must. Players perform various soccer conditioning drills to keep fit as much as possible.
In most cases, soccer fitness drills are done while players use training with the ball. This way, they enhance their fitness levels while at the same time becoming good at ball control.
Remember, soccer games last at least 90 minutes.
A team must be well-conditioned to last the entire period. Players will run continuously with a mix of short bursts. All these require players to be at their best fitness levels.
Even with the best ball control, dribbling, and shooting skills, players won’t achieve much when they are unfit. There must be a good balance between soccer skills and physical fitness.
There are several conditioning and fitness soccer cardio drills that players can work on. So, what are these endurance drills?
What is Conditioning in Soccer?
Before we start looking at the drills, let’s understand what conditioning means in soccer.
Conditioning in soccer is improving your cardiovascular performance. These are drills that train and strengthen your heart to endure intense running.
Soccer fitness and conditioning drills train your heart and respiratory systems to withstand high and intense activities.
Conditioning is different from strength training where you look to build muscles. In soccer conditioning, you’re building endurance. It helps boost stamina which develops physiological endurance.
You need to mix soccer warm-up drills that involve the ball and soccer conditioning drills without the ball. This is important as players won’t always have the ball throughout the game.
7 Soccer Conditioning Drills
Below, I’ll share high-intensity soccer fitness drills that will give your team an edge. Keep reading to see how you can set up the drills and execute them.
Torture Run Soccer Drills
Torture run soccer drills remain the best soccer running drills to get teams running throughout the 90 minutes.
It is a great conditioning drill that helps build stamina. It allows players to utilize oxygen and sustain the high-intensity running in soccer.
Set up and execution
- Players can line across the field on one end and sprint or jog the entire length of the pitch
- A single lap from around the entire field length is enough. If you’re training on half a field, then consider making two laps
- Every player must sprint along the goalline and go around the flag marker
- They can then slow down and jog on the sideline before sprinting half of the sideline
- Players need to complete at least 6 laps. However, this can vary depending on the players’ fitness levels.
It is an intensive drill that can be quite exhausting for players. Look for ways to make it exciting for players. Pair them and motivate them to run at full gear.
3-on-3 Force Marking Soccer Conditioning Drills
This is a unique soccer conditioning drill that also trains players on how to tackle effectively. The drills break down teams into small groups of 3 players.
Two teams of three players are then paired against each other with players tackling assigned players on the other team.
It’s a drill that also trains players to form a strong defense against the opposing team.
Set up and execution
The drill is set up in a 25 by 16 yards grid. Place a full-size goal post on each side of the grid. Have two teams of 3 players per side wearing different jerseys and 5 balls in the grid.
Only two teams should be in the grid at a time. The coach should then command play. A goalkeeper from one team should start to play with one ball.
Players then compete to score or retain the ball and outwit their opponents. Once a team scores a goal, their goalkeeper starts the ball from their goal. If a ball goes out of the grid, the team with the last touch loses possession.
A team that scores the most goals within the predetermined time wins. The next team waiting can then get into the grid and the drill starts over again.
4-on-4 Touch the Line Drill
The 4-on-4 touch line drill is a soccer passing drill that keeps players on constant moves. It involves passing the ball amongst players, dribbling, and retaining possession in trying to score.
This is a high-intensity drill that trains players to recover fast and attack the ball before the other team attacks. It is a great drill that encourages players to communicate effectively during the intensity of the game.
Set up and Execution
- You can set up a 40 by 30 playing grid using cones. You can adjust the grid size depending on the player’s age and fitness levels
- Set up a goal post on each side and place 5 balls inside the grid
- Divide players into small groups of 4 or 5 players
- Only two teams can play against each other
- Ensure teams wear different jerseys
- The goalkeeper of one team starts to play by passing it to one of the teammates
- If the defense wins the ball from the offense, the player that lost the ball must run and touch the goalline before attempting to win the ball back
- When a team scores, the goalkeeper plays one ball from their goal
- If a ball goes out of bounds, the goalkeeper of the team that didn’t touch the ball last serves another ball
- A team with the most goals wins.
Different teams can play for 2-3 minutes. You can have teams playing at least 5 times per training session.
Step jumps remain one of the best solo soccer drills to perform. It is a drill that can boost stamina, coordination, strength, and balance. When done correctly, step jumps improve the player’s ability to jump vertically and laterally.
It is one of the easiest drills to perform, but one that is usually done wrongly. Make sure players perform warm-up exercises before attempting the drill to reduce injury risks.
Set up and execution
- Setup cones and markers and have players standing behind them with a ball
- At the coach’s cue, players should jump over the cone vertically and laterally land on the other side on both feet
- Jump back again and land on the previous spot
- Repeat the jumps for one minute to complete a single set
- Let players rest for 30 seconds before doing another set
- Overall, let players finish 4-8 sets depending on their fitness levels
- A set should last 1 minute with 30 seconds of resting
Off-ball On-ball Running Drills for Soccer
This is a soccer running drill that involves running on and off the ball. It is an efficient drill to consider for your team. The drill improves your team’s efficiency to run with the ball and changes direction, pace, and speed almost instantly.
Being able to run at high speeds and change direction and pace can be quite difficult for defenders to deal with. It is an interval drill where you run with the ball and without the ball.
Set up and execution
- You can set up the drill with 4 cones to create a 13 by 13 yards grid. Grid size can be adjusted to match the player’s fitness levels.
- Place a single cone in the middle of the grid
- Make sure players warm up before attempting the drill
- Let players dribble the ball from the middle of the cone to the outside cone and around it before coming back to the middle cone
- Next, the player needs to spring to the outside cone without the ball
- Players can repeat the drill with and without the ball several times
The drill needs 100% focus from players with high speed and energy. They need to accelerate faster with the ball and when turning around the cone.
The Mannequin run soccer drill is another exciting drill to enhance your stamina when dribbling with the ball. It is a drill that trains to run and turn faster with the ball on the feet.
Set up and execution
- You need portable mannequins set up in a line in the field
- You can have two or three mannequins at the center of the pitch
- Have players line up with a ball a distance from the mannequins
- Players should then take turns and run with the ball dribbling on the right foot
- At the mannequins, take a fake tackle and do a left aside on the coaches cue
- You can repeat the runs while alternating the tackles.
Players can take a fake step, a fake circle, a Maradona, and much more.
The Clock Soccer Drill
The soccer clock drill is one of the best and most exciting drills to perform with your teammates. It is a drill that helps build strength and stamina when passing and receiving the ball pretty fast.
Set up and execution
- The drill can involve all the team players that form a circle around the pitch.
- Have at least 12 players form a circle of 30 meters in diameter
- Next, have one player stand at the center of the circle with a ball
- The idea is to have the center player pass the ball around the circle of players within the stipulated time
- He takes a pass and receives the ball back
- Outside players are encouraged to pass the ball first time using both feet
- Players should follow a sequence of passing as follows: Pass the ball to all 12 players and then to players on positions 9, 6, 3, 4, 7, 10, 1, 11, 8, 5, and 2.
- Once the center player completes his passes, he dribbles the ball to player one who takes the center position
- The routine continues until all the 12 players get to the center and pass the ball
It is a fun drill that trains players to turn fast and make accurate passes. As you can see, there are several drills to get your body fit for soccer. Watch the video to see how you can train like the top Premier League players.
How Do You Train for Conditioning in Soccer?
You can train for conditioning in soccer by performing soccer conditioning drills like the torture run, step jumps, mannequin run, dribble drills, and much more. The drills build stamina and strength, getting you through games.
How Can I Get Conditioned for Soccer Fast?
You can get conditioned for soccer fast by performing condition drills regularly. Start slow and steadily increase your drills to match your fitness levels. Start at moderate paces until you start to build stamina and endurance.
How Do You Condition Like a Soccer Player?
You can condition like a soccer player by performing high-intensity interval training, coached speed, repeated sprints, small-sided games, and other soccer conditioning drills.
How Can I Condition for Soccer at Home?
You can condition for soccer at home by practicing the various soccer conditioning drills in your backyard. Get necessary soccer equipment like balls, nets, cones, and goal posts and set them conveniently for training.
Well, that wraps everything on soccer conditioning drills to get your team fit. Soccer conditioning drills are a must if you want to get your team to perform at top levels.
Professional soccer players only participate in games when they are 100% fit. The high intensity in professional games requires players to be fit and with stamina to withstand the continuous runnings and frequent small bursts.
Performing the soccer conditioning drills above can get your team ready and fit for the game. Make sure players warm-up and prepare for the drills to avoid injury risks.