HOW TO BUILD FOOTBALL FITNESS AND BE TRIAL READY
If you want any chance of becoming a professional footballer in today’s game fitness is key. The days of top league football players having a few pints before the match are in the past now. With pro players now averaging over 10km across a 90 minute game. Today’s players really show the levels of fitness that are required in today’s fast paced physical game. It’s not only the greater demands of stamina but also strength, power and explosive pace. The sport has gone from the working man’s game to a multi-million pound industry of high paid athletes.
First things first, you need to get a solid base of fitness. You want to literally be able to run for days. This will help across all other areas of your fitness. It’s time to dust off your runners and hit the treadmill. Save your sanity, find a decent run near your home with a few alternative routes to keep things fresh. If the tedious long runs really aren’t your thing, try interval training. This will boost VO2 Max (the max rate your body consumes oxygen when exercising). Interval training is basically adding short sprint bursts into your jog. This really helps with in match recovery time and prepares you much better for football fitness.
4 min jogging x 4
2 mins high tempo (80%speed) x 4 (use cones for extra footwork training)
Rest 1 minute and repeat all 4 times.
Pre the introduction of the no pass back rule which coincided with the birth of the English Premier League around 1992, football players had generally not relied much on speed. Traditionally the wingers were the players with pace and the odd striker. Post 1992 the game of football changed and it was essential for even defenders to be able to play themselves out of trouble with short bursts of speed as their pass back cushion had been taken away. Look at pro football players like Rio Ferdinand an icon of modern defending fast and explosive.
For football related sprint fitness we are looking at short burst so working to a 50m distance is fine. To obtain maximum speed and explosiveness concentration should be targeted those hammy’s and quads. Think parachute pulls and bungee cord sprints, the idea to push your muscles to their limits to feel the benefits.
50m sprints (bungee cord, parachute, sled pulls) x 5
30 second rest between each sprint.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION
It’s all good to be able to bomb it down a 100m straight but how does that really relate to football game play. Look at the likes of messy and any other modern football professional, they can turn on a 6 pence and explode in the opposite direction before you know what day it is. Now not only will this training really help you in a match but it’s great for injury prevention building all those small muscles that support your PCL and ACL ligaments. Speed agility should be added to every session if you are really serious about a professional football career. Think side to side jumps, ladders, hurdles and plenty of slalom sprints.
Side to side hurdle jumps x 5
20 cone slalom x 5 without ball – increasing speed each time
20 cone slalom x 5 with ball – increase speed each time
If you have the skill to make it, don’t let yourself down by being lazy. These three simple drills above although basic will give the basis to build on your football fitness and have you ready for a pro football trial in no time. My advice is use YouTube and many other online platforms to look at different drills to keep things fresh and keep your muscles building. The areas covered today are just the basic minimum expected from coaches at pro clubs who are looking for match fit trialists. Other areas to look at are core strength, explosive power and body strength (upper body muscle). The game of football has changed and players need to adjust, as stated earlier this is now a sport of athletes so you better get to the gym or go back to bed.