Football, in America, has undergone a massive overhaul in the last five decades. In its new avatar, it has drummed up a passionate interest among its fans. Not only has the rivalry among opponents intensified but Soccer, as a game, has also gathered a lightning pace.
These days, the duration of an average football play has come down to just five seconds with a duration of 25-30 seconds between plays. If there’s one thing that both coaches and athletes have learned, it is the fact that they need to come up with a different strategy to overcome the new challenges.
In order to put their best foot forward, both have started turning toward anaerobic exercises as a part of football drills for fitness. Their rationale behind this move is to not just increase the pace of their game but to also polish their overall skills so as to put up a stellar performance.
Read on to know more about football training drills for fitness for youth and adults, the importance of fitness for players belonging to both the groups and some other important questions linked to it.
1) Why football players need to be fit
In the current age of information, everyone knows a thing or two about the importance and benefits of fitness. However, for football players, the definition of fitness is different from others.
Being a game of endurance, football necessitates players to make use of their muscular endurance. It gives them the requisite power for quick movement. Also, it allows them to kick a ball with the right kind of force depending on the situation of a game.
Core strength plays a key role in helping players take a sharp turn as well as move in a different direction, regardless of whether they play an attacking or defensive game. Muscular strength makes a positive contribution to the overall core strength of a soccer player.
Thus, at the end of the day, it all boils down to a player’s fitness. It determines how well a player would be able to play their game.
Apart from the standpoint of the game, it is also important for a number of other aspects such as coordination, power, strength, posture. Plus, it also reduces the likelihood of an injury. Therefore, players of all age groups take part in football drills to improve fitness.
2) What constitutes fitness components for a football player?
Aerobic endurance fitness tops the list of essentials for the overall fitness of a football player. Besides, several other primary components are also of great significance for football players, regardless of their age.
For the overall success of a player, it is imperative that a player possesses certain indispensable elements of fitness and skills/techniques. These include the following:
- Aerobic endurance, reaction time, and the ability to cope with the pressure situations
- Quickness, tactical and analytic ability
- Technique and skill
- Composition and the body size of a player
- Power and strength of a player
The aforementioned list can be further curtailed by placing the elements in the following four categories:
The body is made of a group of joints. The capability of these joints to move in different ways is known as flexibility.
At the time of playing a football match, the body of a player comes across situations involving awkward positions. This virtually continues for the better part of the game. The exposure of the body to unusual positions causes the joints of legs to stretch a lot.
Given the unpredictable nature of football, it is imperative that a player is accustomed to moving in different ways. Flexibility makes it possible for a player to do so with finesse. Thus, it not only plays a decisive role in improving a player’s game but also the performance of a player in a football match.
Cardiovascular fitness is closely related to the supply of oxygen to the body and the supply of the latter to different parts of the body by the blood.
Heart and lungs are the two primary organs involved in the working of muscle tissues. These two organs are responsible for the constant supply of oxygen to the body which supports physical activity.
Physical activity is an important part of doing well in the game of football.
Due to the fact that soccer players undergo intense physical activity, good cardiovascular fitness ensures that a player is able to play consistently for longer intervals of time without any interruption or lag in performance.
Agility translates into the ability of the body to alter its position without any difficulty. In the game of soccer, as it is popularly known in America, a player needs to move the body differently from time to time. Being able to move their body at varying speeds is very important for them.
With the greater level of agility, a player will be able to adjust their movement according to their opponent or situation of the game. Along with it, they will also be able to perform their body movements in a much better way with agility.
The body follows the command of the brain. This rule allows the body muscles to perform intended actions in line with the directions from the brain.
Motor coordination is of critical importance for the success of a player in the game of soccer. This is due to the fact that throughout the course of the game, a soccer player changes the position of the ball to their intended destination.
Good coordination allows players to direct the ball to a particular path in the desired manner. Also, it makes it easy for them to perform different kinds of skills with a higher degree of precision.
3) How the youth football players train during their fitness drill
Fitness is of paramount importance for the accomplishment of the game. Depending on how often a player plays the game in a week, they can work out their fitness schedules and the itinerary to rest the body.
Typically, fitness coaches and team physios pay attention to the following aspects in youth football drills:
When it comes to the warm-up session of a player, fitness coaches prioritize on two forms of stretching: static and dynamic. A stretching session of 10-12 minutes is recommended before the strength work.
In conjunction with stretching, warm-up and strength circuits can lend a helping hand in keeping players strong and physically fit.
Together with dynamic stretching, warm-up plays an important role in stretching the muscles. The extension of limbs and flexion of muscles is important for enhancing the flexibility of muscles when a player plays the game. It complements football drills for conditioning.
b) Strength circuits
Apart from making the body strong, circuit training also helps in building endurance. It addresses the strength needs of the whole body alike. This includes the upper, lower, and central parts of the body.
On average, strength training encompasses different kinds of exercises such as seated pull-downs, standing on a medicine ball, and doing pushups. Also, some coaches make it mandatory for players to do crunches on the exercise ball.
c) Injury prevention
Football is a contact game. As such, there is always the possibility of players undergoing an injury. Exercises such as kneeling and then falling forward slowly in the front direction and then getting back to the original position are some of the recommended exercises for the prevention of injury to players.
An important thing to note here is that there is no way to fully prevent the possibility of injury to a football player. However, there are ways to minimize the impact of an injury. Side lunges, side bends, and adductor side lifts are some exercises that make the body strong and endure the impact of an injury resulting from an action in a football game.
Apart from the aforementioned exercises, fitness drills for football players also include activities that are specifically intended for improving a football player’s game. These include the following:
Dribbling game wherein players dribble the ball inside a cone by following a few instructions
- Strategize games to improve the kicking skills and the ability to listen to the instructions of the team members in the course of the game
- Drills that are aimed at enhancing the speed and passing skills of players when they handle the ball
- Activities that involve dribbling skills linked to dodging the team members of the other team without losing the focus and control on the ball until it reaches the finishing line.
- Activities that are intended to improve the defending skills of players and facilitate their movement in the course of the game
4) How adults train during football fitness sessions
Fitness is important for players of all levels alike. Whether one is professional or not, or what one’s gender is, fitness is the key to doing well in football matches. This accounts for the reason why fit players are able to cope with fitness drills way better than those who lack body fitness.
To help adult players keep fit, coaches invest their time and effort in football drills for adult players.
Generally, football fitness sessions for adult football players involves the following:
a) Variable speed running
The explosive pace is important as it paves the way to turn jogging into a full belt sprint. The success of a player, to a large extent, depends on a player’s level of flexibility. This underscores the reason why it is important for players to include running with variable speeds as an important element in their workout sessions.
Variable speed running, as an important workout in the overall workout session helps a player in two ways. It not only boosts flexibility but also adds strength to the key ligaments that are responsible for a player’s performance in a football match.
How does a player do it? At first, they run steadily for at least 2 minutes. Next, they decrease the speed by walking for about ten seconds. Thereafter, they try sprinting with full force.
b) Step jumping
Step jumping is easy to incorporate to the daily routine of a football player as, unlike other workouts, it does not take a lot of time.
A player is made to overcome an obstacle by jumping over it and then stand on both the feet within a cone on the front side. Normally, a player continues this activity for three or four sets with a break of ten seconds between each repetition. Professional players do it for at least six times to reap the benefits of this workout. Though it seems basic, it works well to promote strength of the important leg muscles
c) Cone weaving
Cone weaving stimulates flexibility in a player and allows them to change their direction to better execute a strategy. While some trainers use a ball, others don’t use it.
Cones are laid out in a shape that resembles a rectangle. Special care is taken to place the cones at an equal distance from one another. A player needs to change their position while taking turns.
The rationale behind the activity is to help players take faster turns with a higher intensity.
d) Aerobic starting
Aerobic starting is intended to help a player emulate match conditions. A player starts with five push-ups. Next, they dribble the ball in the next few yards and then pass it to the trainer who passes it on to another player. Next, they sprint back and repeat these steps.
Q) What are good exercises for football players?
Some effective exercises for football players include lateral hurdle sprints, medicine ball push-ups, lateral band walks, HIIT on a treadmill. Besides, professional football players also include a number of other workouts like dumbbell bench step-ups, single-leg squats in their workout sessions.
Q) How can I improve at football?
For improving one’s game, you need to pay attention to not just one but several aspects. These include practicing juggling, taking part in dribbling drills involving flags and cones, and kicking the ball against a wall. Additionally, you also need to lay emphasis on the development of specialized skills. They can make things simple and easy for themselves by working out a fitness schedule on their own.
Q) What is the difference between a drill and an exercise?
Though a drill and exercise have some similarities, they are distinct from one another. While a drill involves the repetition of certain exercises based on some instructions, exercise is a task for either assessing or improving a skill.
Q) How do I increase my stamina for football?
When it comes to boosting your stamina for playing football, an important thing to remember is that your needs are likely to vary from that of other players. However, spending at least 30-50 minutes in a day doing cardiovascular exercises, in conjunction and aerobics will do a world of good to stimulate your stamina for football.
Q) How can I improve my speed and footwork?
Both workouts and strategies will be important for the improvement of your footwork. Your coach would be able to guide you through the right kind of workouts you need to improve your speed and footwork based on your player profile and the kind of skills you have.
From the above, it is clear that aspects such as football drills for touch football and others play an important role in improving a player’s football game. It is recommended that players take at least a day’s rest between matches and fitness sessions. That said, some experts believe a regular workout session is important for players to get the body used to build endurance for longer workout sessions. The best thing you can do to improve your game is to work with a fitness coach and work out your requirements.
Richa Gupta is a fitness freak and a sport lover who likes playing Badminton and Carrom Board in her free time. She feels contented to get an opportunity to work with Sporting8 – A leading Sporting brand in the ecommerce space. Her current role is to look after the brand building and preparing the marketing strategy.