Soccer Conditioning Drills
Sometimes simple soccer conditioning drills
are the most effective. With the top touch drill, athletes
stand directly behind a soccer ball, which is placed on the
ground. They hop from one foot to the other, touching the
foot lightly on the ball before hopping to the other foot.
This drill is meant to increase their leg strength, their
stamina, and their balance.
The top touch drill, like most soccer
conditioning drills, can be made more difficult in
several ways. Athletes can bring their knees up high before
letting them lightly touch the ball, or they can be required
to keep their foot in the air, never letting it touch the
ball. Coaches can also speed up the drill, requiring athletes
to hop faster and thereby making the drill more difficult.
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In this drill, athletes stand holding a soccer
ball with their legs shoulder-width apart. Athletes toss the
soccer ball in the air directly in front of them and catch
it with their arms out straight. As the athletes catch the
ball, they should sink into a squat, making sure to keep their
knees over their ankles and not letting the legs sink forward
over their toes or beyond. This will protect the knees and
ensure good form.
This drill requires total body coordination
and is especially good for teaching young athletes how their
bodies work and move. Hand-eye coordination is required for
tossing and catching the soccer ball. Core strength is required
to catch the ball and prevent the body from jerking one way
or the other. Leg and core strength is required for the squat
and coming back to start.
Athletes should line up in a horizontal line
on the soccer field. At the coach’s whistle, athletes
take off running, forcing their knees up as high as they will
go. This slows athletes down significantly, so coaches should
not make athletes run too far.
The knee kick drill helps athletes develop core
and leg strength, as well as running stamina and balance.
Because soccer requires so much running, any drill that can
combine running with additional strength moves is a good bet
for coaches short on time.
Moving Jumping Jacks
In moving jumping jacks, athletes complete jumping
jacks but while moving forward. As athletes jump their feet
apart and raise their arms in the air, they jump forward.
As they bring their arms and legs back together, they stay
Coaches can make this soccer conditioning drill
more difficult by requiring athletes to jump forward both
when they take their feet apart and when they bring them back
together. This soccer
drill is excellent for developing full-body coordination
as well as leg strength and stamina or endurance. It may take
athletes a few tries to get the rhythm of this drill, so coaches
should be prepared to repeat the drill several times over
a period of a few days until athletes feel comfortable with
it and can focus on the fitness benefits of the drill.
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