Soccer season is a thrilling time for youth players, but it can also be nerve-wracking if they are not prepared. This is where pre-season training comes in.
Pre-season training is a crucial aspect of preparing for soccer season, whether you’re just starting out or playing on competitive ECNL teams. It provides athletes with the opportunity to get in shape, improve their skills, and build their physical and mental toughness. Here are some reasons why pre-season training is so important for soccer players.
Here are five ways that young soccer players can prepare for the start of the season.
- Physical fitness: Soccer is a physically demanding sport that requires players to have a good level of endurance, strength, and flexibility. Youth players can prepare for the season by engaging in regular physical activities such as running, jogging, and stretching exercises. This will help to increase their stamina and reduce the risk of injury during the season.
Jogging, cycling, or swimming can improve your cardiovascular endurance and stamina, which can help you run faster and longer during a soccer game. Resistance training, such as weight training and bodyweight exercises, can help build muscle strength and increase your endurance. This can improve your ability to perform on the field. Interval Training: Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity activity with periods of rest or low-intensity activity. This type of training can help you build endurance, speed, and power, which are all essential for soccer. Examples include sprints, plyometrics, and hill repeats.
- Technical skills: Soccer is a sport that requires players to have excellent ball-handling skills, dribbling, and shooting abilities. Young players can improve their technical skills by practicing regularly, either with their team or on their own. This can involve activities such as dribbling drills, shooting exercises, and ball control practices.
Read “Tips to Improve Field Awareness While Dribbling” to learn the do’s and don’ts to become a better dribbler.
- Mental preparation: Soccer is not only a physical game but also a mental one. Youth players can prepare for the season by developing a positive attitude and a strong mental toughness. This can involve visualization exercises, goal-setting activities, and learning to handle stress and pressure.
Read more about mental exercises to help prepare for soccer season in our recent article “5 Keys to Successful Offseason Training.”
- Teamwork: Soccer is a team sport, and it requires players to work together and communicate effectively. Youth players can prepare for the season by working on their teamwork skills. This can involve activities such as team-building exercises, practicing set plays, and learning to communicate effectively with their teammates.
- Knowledge of the game: Soccer is a complex sport that requires players to understand the rules, strategies, and tactics involved. Youth players can prepare for the season by learning about the game, watching professional matches, and studying the strategies used by successful teams.
Two easy training exercises to get you started in your pre-season training:
Soccer season is an exciting time for youth players, and preparation is key to success. By focusing on physical fitness, technical skills, mental preparation, teamwork, and knowledge of the game, young players can be ready for the start of the season and perform at their best.
HIIT Drills for Pre-Season Soccer
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular and effective training method that involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity activity. HIIT training is great for soccer for several reasons:
- Improved Endurance: Soccer players need to be able to perform at a high level for the entire game. HIIT training improves cardiovascular endurance by challenging the body to work at a high intensity for short periods, followed by recovery. This type of training can help players maintain their energy levels throughout the game.
- Prevent buildup of lactic acid: Incorporating anaerobic exercises into pre-season training helps to prevent the build-up of lactic acid and maintain high performance during games.
- Increased Speed and Agility: HIIT training is an effective way to improve speed and agility, which are essential for soccer players. The short bursts of high-intensity exercise can help players increase their acceleration and change of direction, making them more agile on the field.
- Fat Loss: HIIT training is an effective way to burn fat and improve body composition. This can help soccer players stay lean and improve their overall fitness level, which can lead to improved performance on the field.
- Time Efficiency: HIIT training is a time-efficient way to improve fitness. Since it involves short bursts of intense exercise, players can complete a high-quality workout in a shorter amount of time.
The video showcases three high-intensity interval training drills for pre-season football fitness. These drills are suitable for football players of all positions, and can help improve short, sharp movements, drawn-out sprints, and long-distance runs. The first drill involves a diamond shape and targets short, sharp movements, the second drill involves a zigzag pattern and targets more drawn-out sprints, and the third drill targets long-distance runs with a pyramid set.
The drills aim to target specific scenarios within a football game and incorporate anaerobic exercises to help prevent the build-up of lactic acid. The work-rest ratio is roughly 1:3, and rest times can vary depending on fitness level.
The key to succeeding in HIIT workouts is to push oneself harder during the drills in order to achieve better results. If one is not feeling out of breath during the drills, the rest time can be shortened or the intensity can be increased.
By incorporating these high-intensity interval training drills into their routine, soccer players can help prepare themselves for the demands of the upcoming season.