Regardless if you play recreational soccer, are a soccer coach or a parent with a child involved in soccer, it is important for you to know how to train for soccer fitness properly.
Unfortunately there are still people out there who lack the current information on fitness training for soccer and suggest running to get into shape for soccer. This is fine if soccer was played at a steady pace and the movement of the game was in one direction. Obviously you and I know this is not the case.
It does not matter the level of soccer, house league, rep, state/provincial, national, men’s or women’s recreational soccer, you must train the energy, muscular and nervous systems they way they are needed in a soccer game.
Soccer is a game of sprints, stops/starts, change of direction and recovery. It is not played at a steady pace.
It is still thought that all you have to do is go for a run for your soccer fitness because the run is “aerobic”.
This information may be outdated for the following reasons:
1. Running is in only direction – forward. Running is with out any stops, starts, change of direction and sprints.
2. Running teaches the muscles work in a forward direction. You must remember that in a soccer game, the body moves in many different directions. Again this does not happen in a run.
3. Running is set at a certain pace. Soccer is filled with bursts of energy and recovery. Again this does not happen in a run.
4. The range of motion at the hip is limited in a run to a set pace. In a soccer game the hip moves in many different directions and at different speeds. This is why some soccer players end up with pulled or torn hamstrings, quads or groin muscles if they only run for soccer fitness.
5. Running trains the body to move at a set pace. The brain is programmed to move at this pace and not any higher. Then when you go for a sprint or sudden stop or a change of direction the body does not have any idea what to do. This usually ends up in an injury.
To better serve your soccer fitness you must look at other methods for training. One of the most effective ways to train for soccer conditioning is through intervals. Basically you work hard for a short period of time and then recover and repeat the process for a specific time. This type of training is excellent for soccer fitness because it relates to the energy out put in a soccer game.