Soccer is a very physically demanding sport. Where other sports have time outs and frequent stoppages, soccer games enjoy no such breaks. Soccer is not only a game of running or kicking but also an activity where superb physical conditioning plays a key role. Therefore, it is important for soccer players to be in excellent shape, and at the youth level it is the coaches job to make it happen.

Here are a few conditioning drills that you can run with your team.

Lap Sprints: Split your team into two single file lines and have them run laps. The back two players in line must sprint up the outside of the lines and take the lead. When they reach the front, the next back players in the line do the same. Repeat. Run 2-5 laps.

Basic Sprints: Set players on the goal-line and start with 8 yard sprints. Have the players only sprint in one direction, and walk back. Keep the distance the same, or increase all the way to 18 yards. Do between 8-20.

Variations: Have players start laying down on their stomach or back, either facing backwards or forwards. This added step addresses a number of issues including teaching players to recover quickly.

Liners: One of the oldest running drills in all of sports. Have players start on the goal line and run three consecutive sprints, once to the 6 and back, once to the PK mark and back, and finally to the 18 and back. I wouldn’t do more than 10 of these.

As a coach, by treating conditioning lightly, you are only cheating your team. Eventually they may have to play two 45 minute halves, followed by two 10 minute overtimes, and then PK’s. Be prepared for it.