Soccer fitness drills are important stamina, endurance and agility building exercises that are a common part of any player or team’s training regimen. Types of fitness drills include running long distances, sprinting or engaging in exercises to increase muscle strength or improve basic skills. Soccer is arguably one of the most physically demanding sports due to the size of the playing field and the lengthy uninterrupted game play. It is estimated that soccer players run on average between five and seven miles (eight and 12 kilometers) during a 90-minute match, which is the length of a game on the professional and international level. Because soccer fitness drills often do not involve actual game play, players may not be enthusiastic about participating but coaches will typically encourage team members to achieve and maintain their optimal fitness level.
Many types of soccer fitness drills involve running and sprinting, often between cones or between two points on the playing field. The goal is to improve a player’s stamina so that he or she can perform without tiring during a match’s the full playing time, be it 48, 80 or 90 minutes. Station, random and slalom runs are common drills of this type and require players to alternatively jog and sprint between markers that are spaced at least 9 feet (2.7 meters) apart. The players can move between markers in a circular pattern or the markers can be numbered and the players move to the marker that the coach calls out. Coaches can also require the players to stop at each marker and complete a predetermined number of sit ups, push ups, knee jumps or step jumps before continuing.
Dribbling is a skill that can be incorporated into many types of soccer fitness drills and help players improve dribbling while jogging and sprinting. Most fitness dribbling drills involve the players dribbling the ball while weaving between markers or moving from one marker to the next in a linear fashion. When players are dribbling, the markers are usually placed further apart and depending on the age and fitness of the team members, participants can be restricted either to jogging or to sprinting. Instead of markers, a coach can mark a small square area on the field and allow each player to dribble creatively in the space for one minute intervals. After each interval, the coach can decrease the size of the dribbling area.
Two versus Three is one of the more physically challenging soccer fitness drills that will also help players sharpen their tactical skills. Players work in groups of five with two attackers, two defenders and one floater who attacks whichever player has possession of the ball. The group plays in an area that is approximately 45 feet square (13 meters square) for intervals of at least two minutes and the floater rotates after each interval is complete. If the ball leaves the designated area, the defenders are awarded possession.