Good conditioning is essential to bring out the best of any player on the football pitch. If a player is not fit enough, he will be out of breath, out of position and on his or her way to being out of the team.
As well as ensuring a player can contribute for 90 minutes, good conditioning influences decision-making. A tired body leads to a tired mind, and players lose their mental edge and “switch off” at key moments in the game.
Conditioning takes players into the closing stages of a game with the same levels of fitness they began with, and the team with those levels is usually the winner. Help for coaches is provided by the Football Association.
Achieving this conditioning can only be done by examining soccer training drill videos – you can find some at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Soccer/drills.jsp – and applying the knowledge gleaned on the training pitch.
Here are four drills which are varied and entertaining while delivering fitness.
Mark out a 20×20 yards for a dozen players and allow players to dribble for 60 seconds, changing direction constantly. Decrease the space after every minute-long session.
Two Versus Two with a Spare
Two attackers and two defenders do this drill with a spare wearing a bib to stand out. Mark a 12×15 yard area and give the attackers the ball and allow the spare to work with them. Defenders win the ball back via possession or when the ball exits the area. The drill lasts two minutes and the spare is replaced after each session.
The player stands beside a soft object or cone and jumps laterally over the marker with knees up and lands on both feet and jumps back in the opposite direction. Repeat for 30 seconds with three reps – ideally at the start of a session after a good warm-up.
Place five cones ten yards apart. The player runs to cone one and back, then cone two and back, and carries on until cone five and back. The sprint is flat out, and the player turns off a different foot at each cone. Allow 30 seconds rest between three reps to complete one set. Now rest for two minutes and repeat another set, then two minutes rest and a final set.