Pre-Season is the developmental stage for any team preparing for a successful season. Soccer is a physically demanding game, and it's important for players to reach peak fitness during pre-season in order to play through all 90 minutes of a match. The main focus of pre-season is developing the fitness of players through speed, agility, strength and stamina workouts. Our Speed & Agility Clinic is a great way to get match-ready for the upcoming season.
Soccer is a game of long runs and steady jogging, but quick bursts of speed can set great players apart from the pack. Proper sprinting technique plays a major role in the acceleration and speed of a player. The leg should be positioned with a high knee and pointed toe. The leading arm should be at a 90 degree angle and the other arm should be straight. Hands need to be flat and aerodynamic with the fingers locked together. The back should be straight.
Soccer-specific movements such as cuts and quick changes of direction require a player to be agile with the ball. To maintain speed while cutting, the player must maintain a low center of gravity while the body is at an angle with the ground between 45 and 90 degrees. Short little steps will allow maximum push off while maintaining control and speed.
Building muscle strength is important for preventing injury. Strong muscles are less susceptible to tears, which are high-risk for soccer players who are constantly making dynamic, multi-directional movements. Improving the strength of muscles like the quads, hamstrings and calves will increase power capacity for striking and acceleration while sprinting or jumping. Upper body strength is just as important as lower body strength – helping a player maintain balance and core stabilization when bodied up against an opposing player.
90 minutes of match play requires a great amount of stamina. Many teams train with interval conditioning, as the game is intermittent with high and low intensity running. It's important to incorporate ball work in the running drills to keep the mind focused on the task at hand. Ball work can disguise the running so it doesn't feel so tedious. Top teams are able to out run and out work their opponents by the end of the match.
Videos courtesy of The Nike Academy.