Off-season Strength and Conditioning Tips

The following speed conditioning drills are recommended for soccer players during off-season conditioning.

The primary goal of an off-season program is to enhance overall conditioning and to work on those areas where you fall short. This information will provide general conditioning and performance drills which may be used by all ages and skill levels of soccer players. Learn how you may increase the difficultly or enhance the program for older or more advanced athletes.

Speed Workouts: Speed training should be done 2 days per week

  • Rule # 1 with speed training: You cannot get faster by running slow. For any speed workout, you will do a short warm-up, then do the specific training, and then a short warm-down. It is a good idea to follow this with some stretching.
  • You can do your speed work before you do your aerobic conditioning.
  • The younger athletes do not necessarily need to worry about speed work. Their agility is much more important.

Weeks 1-3:

Your goal in these first 3 weeks is to get your legs accustomed to the high intensity of sprinting. You will do short sprints with plenty of recovery between each.

  • First workout: 3-5 sets of 10-15 yard sprints; your goal is to do these as fast as possible.
  • Each successive workout: Add 2-3 sprints, keeping with the 15 yard distance. You should see your times drop slightly by week 3.
  • The minimal recovery time between sprints is 3 minutes.

Weeks 4-6:

Your goal in the second 3 weeks is to get your legs accustomed to sprinting for longer distances. You will do longer sprints with plenty of recovery between each.

  • First workout: 3-5 sets of 30-40 yard sprints; your goal is to do these as fast as possible.
  • Each successive workout: Add 2-3 sprints, keeping a maximum 40 yard distance.
  • The minimal recovery time between sprints is 5 minutes. If you begin to see your last sprint or two being slower than the first one or two, then you need a longer recovery period, or it is time to stop the session.

Weeks 7-12:

Your goal in the last 3 weeks is to get your legs accustomed to sprinting in a game or performance situation. Fartlek runs help you achieve this goal.

  • First workout: 200 yards total, including 3 sprints of 10-20 yards each. You will begin on a sideline and jog for a few yards, then sprint for 10-20 yards, jog, then sprint and repeat until you’ve done 3 good sprints within the 200 yard run.
  • Each successive workout: Add 1-2 sprints and no more than 20 yards of total distance.
  • The minimal recovery time between runs is 5 minutes. If you begin to see your last 1-2 sprints being slower than the first 1-2, you need a longer recovery period, or it is time to stop the session.
  • These runs are a great way to improve your aerobic fitness.

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Tips for Soccer Players
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