This purpose of this article is to get the correct information out about soccer fitness training. Articles that I write serve to keep soccer players, soccer parents and soccer coaches current with fitness training and strength training information. Lately I have come cross several different articles from various sources that mention long distance or long duration running for as part of soccer fitness conditioning. sports medicine expert witness in walnut creek california
Long distance or long duration runs are OUTDATED for soccer fitness. Most of these articles are written by people who write about soccer as a hobby and have good intentions. Furthermore what really got me steamed was that one person claimed to be an “online leading expert in sports”.
Yes this is a bit of a rant but if you are serious about playing or coaching soccer with an interest in soccer fitness you must know what is current and long distance running is not.
The key to any good soccer conditioning program has two elements. The first element is interval training and the second is sprints. Soccer is a game of sprint -jog – walk. How many times have you ever witnessed a soccer player run at the same pace for an entire game?
Let me further emphasize to you that distance running is OUTDATED. I have two athletes that I currently treat for preventable ligament sprains injuries because one of them is a cross country runner and plays soccer at the same time who did not have the strength to stop and change direction at speed and the other who had a coach who made her run 5km a day on concrete!
When will this ever stop! Distance Running Takes Away From Soccer Speed and Power. Even at ages of eight, nine and ten young male and female soccer players respond better to any interval type training. Most young bodies do not have the physical and mental capabilities to endure long distance runs.
It has been proven that soccer conditioning may be done with four sets four minutes high intensity dribbling around cones and then jogging for recovery for three minutes. (K McMillan, J Helgerud, R Macdonald, J Hoff, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2005; 39:273-277).
Furthermore including this type of training with small sided games is very effective for soccer fitness training for a few reasons. First the body is moving the way it would in a soccer game. This includes stops, starts and change of direction. This movement conditions the muscle, nerve and energy systems needed to be at a high level. Small sided games also allow for more touches on the ball. Long distance running does not offer this!