The following article was written for 202pounds.com by Tom Sizer-James, of Bulk Powders, a UK based sports supplements company.
Soccer is one of the highest intensity sports around and without a punishing preseason, you’ll find yourself way, way behind the pack. Imagine if a boxer cut down his body weight for a weigh-in, but then neglected to put the pounds back on – the same principle applies here.
If you’re not in peak condition, you’ll spend the majority of your game time huffing, puffing and not doing much else. Of course, everyone has their own plateau. But as with anything in life, it’s about doing the best you can with what God gave you. What’s the point in doing anything by half-measures?
There’s two things fans and teammates appreciate the most – on-field success, and pouring your heart into your team. When your supporters and fellow players see you busting a gut, even when the chips are down, you cement your place in the squad. Sometimes, just one moment of fiery determination can lift a team, and fans, as much as a goal – and the same principle applies in any sport.
So what are the best ways to get in shape during preseason? Below is a brief guide to the 3 best ways to get in shape for the soccer.
A shuttle run is simple – sprint from cone A, to cone B and back again. But try doing it all out 4 times over a 25 yard run, and you’ll see the impact it has – it really is a cardio killer!
Try to be explosive when turning – reach down to touch the cone and explode back into a sprint. Also, vary the runs – back-pedal on the way back, or do a lateral shuffle. If you have a partner, get him to move the cones closer to each other after each run, until eventually there around 5 metres aparts.
For building leg strength, squats are the daddy. Squats not only work all major muscle groups in the lower body, but also stimulate testosterone and HGH release, helps your entire body to develop. Try to work squats into your routines, in between cardio days. Check out Furious Pete’s form guide below
Beginners will need to start low, to avoid injury. ALways get someone to check and advise you on your form in the early stages. Mix it up – there are 35 types of squat in this guide. Do them all if possible. Deadlifts, leg presses, calf raises, hamstring curls and lunges are all great for training your lower body – but if I had to choose one, the humble squat would always come out on top.
On the ball training
You need to get back in harmony with the ball before the competitive matches begin. Intense, speedy passing and moving drills do wonders – they can also improve your understanding of your teammates strengths and weaknesses on the pitches.
Mix-up match training at every opportunity – play 11 a side on a 5-a-side pitch, or visa versa. Play your defenders in attack and your attackers in defence in a training session, so each develops a more complete understanding of each other’s role within the team. Barcelona’s Masia academy is renowned for these types of exercises – no two training sessions are the same.
And remember, one of the best ways to prepare in preseason is to partially maintain your fitness levels in the off season. Jogging regularly prior to preseason will keep you going enough to ensure that your preseason suffering is minimised. Also, always avoid HIIT or sprint training on the day before a match – rest or light exercise is always the best thing for you