Soccer conditioning drills play a considerable role in a soccer game for every player. For your players to give their all, they need to be fit and in good shape. Soccer conditioning drills help to improve your players’ cardiovascular system performance and their respiratory system.
Conditioning workouts for soccer help build the level of fitness that the game requires, based on position. It also boosts confidence, endurance, and stamina. If you want your team to be focused during their game, they must be well-conditioned.
Why are Conditioning Workouts Important for Soccer?
Soccer conditioning workouts are essential because they help your players to be able to withstand constant changes in speed, change of direction, and running to fill empty spaces on the field.
Encouraging your players to push themselves will build up more endurance and confidence during the game. Practicing conditioning drills, other than one on one drills, will help your players up their game and become able to withstand tough conditions.
While soccer conditioning is complex, it is only a temporary discomfort that will have long-term benefits and pay off later in your soccer games.
10 Soccer Conditioning Drills
1. 4-on-4 Touch the Line
4-on-4 Touch the Line is when two groups compete with one another to achieve a goal with one condition. If a group loses possession of the ball, they will run to touch their group’s end line before attempting to win control of the ball back.
Set up a rectangular playing grid, using cones to mark it off. The cones should be about 25 to 30 yards in width and 35 to 40 yards in length.
You can increase or decrease the cones' space depending on your players' fitness level. Put a goal on each end line. If you have a goalkeeper, you can use full-size goals and position your goalkeeper in each goal. If you do not have a goalkeeper, you can use mini goals.
Separate your players into 3 or 4 teams or groups consisting of 4 or 5 players. Try to use four players in each team or group but not anymore than four teams per playing field. Assign a jersey color to each group and evenly divide the soccer balls throughout the goals. Two teams will step onto the field, and one goalkeeper with a starting ball.
Determine how many rounds of the game and a time limit for every game. One game should take no more than three minutes. The goalkeeper plays the ball to their team. They dribble, move, and pass the ball.
If the defensive team wins the ball from the offensive team, they must run and touch their end line before gaining possession of the ball back. Every time a team on defense wins the ball, they will complete three passes before shooting a goal.
If a team loses the ball, they quickly attempt to run back to the end line to defend their opponents. Once a team scores successfully, the goalkeeper gets a new ball and begins a new possession on the team.
4-on-4 Touch the Line is a high-intensity multipurpose drill that focuses on creating a game scenario while adding a conditioning workout for soccer. During this drill, your players must constantly be on the move and dribble to keep possession of the ball and score.
They will need to run back to their end line and try to keep their opponent from scoring. This drill helps to increase the fitness level of your players, footwork and will help them practice their soccer decisions and movements.
2. 3-on-3 Force Making
3-on-3 Force Making soccer workouts help your players to compete in a 3v3 game. Players are only allowed to mark the player they have matched with on the other team. Set up an area of around 25 yards in length and 16 yards in width, with two full-sized goals on both ends.
Each goal should have a goalkeeper, and extra goalkeepers should rotate when each round ends. Separate your players into three teams and choose a jersey color for each group. The maximum amount of groups is four groups for this drill. Divide the balls between each goal evenly and leave them inside of the goals.
The goalkeepers’ job for their team is to start a new ball once the ball goes out of bounds.
Two teams will begin on the playing field, and the other teams will begin off of the playing field, gathering the out-of-bounds balls. Have a set time for each game, which should be one or two minutes.
One goalkeeper will start using the ball from their own team. Have your players match with a player from the other team before the game begins. That person will be their defending player for the entire game.
On your command, both teams play to win to get the most amount of goals. Once a team has scored, that team’s goalkeeper starts a new ball.
The scoring team gets to start with the ball after they have scored. If the ball ends up out of bounds, the goalkeeper who last did not touch a ball starts a new ball. Once the round is over, the team that won the most amount of goals wins.
The objective of 3-on-3 Force Making is to help develop endurance and fitness in intense and short 3v3 games. Your players will work with their assigned opponents to stay with them and defend while constantly changing speed and using wick cuts.
This drill helps players to improve their conditioning while playing game-like scenarios. Players will be motivated to run and get the most that they can out of this drill, allowing their endurance to increase.
Our 3-in-1 soccer goal and rebounder can help keep the ball in play during this high intensity drill!
3. Pain Shuttles
Pain Shuttles is one of the most famous soccer drills for fitness. Place five cones or markers in a single line, spaced 5 yards apart. Your players must practice warm ups before beginning this conditioning drill to ensure their bodies are prepared for this soccer fitness drill. Start Pain Shuttles by sprinting from cone A to cone B.
The player will touch the cone and quickly turn around to run back to cone A. Touch cone A and run to cone C. Touch cone C and return to cone A. Then, touch cone A and quickly run to cone D. Touch cone D and sprint back to cone A. Touch cone A and dash to cone E, touching cone E and returning to cone A.
Once your players complete one round of this drill, they run about 200 yards. Your players should take a minute or so to rest before completing another drill repetition. The athletes should be able to complete three repetitions of the game, making one set. After the first set is completed, players can rest for two minutes before doing another set.
You can make this drill more interesting by having your players backpedal to cone A, dribbling, and sprinting the ball simultaneously. Encourage your players to run as fast as possible.
Pain Shuttles aims to practice conditioning exercises and boost your players’ endurance. This drill contains constant stop-and-go exercises that mimic the short races involved in soccer games.
In addition to helping build endurance, Pain Shuttles also helps increase acceleration, speed, agility, deceleration, and acceleration. You can help improve your players’ ball control.
4. On-ball Off-ball Running Drills for Soccer
On-ball Off-ball Running Drills for Soccer is an essential and helpful exercise for soccer players. Use four cones to make a square grid that measures 13 x 13 yards. This measurement can be adjusted depending on how long you want the sprints.
Put another cone in the middle. Allow your players to warm up first to ensure this drill is effective. Beginning from the middle cone, players will dribble the ball to one of the outside cones.
They will go around those cones and come back to the middle cone. Your player should leave the ball in the middle and sprint to the cone on the opposite side of the field.
After going around the cone, he should run to the middle again and pick up the ball. After dribbling around another outside cone, the player should head to the middle and leave the ball, sprinting to the opposite cone. Your players can repeat this for a set amount of time.
On-ball Off-ball running drill’s objective is to help strengthen your team’s ability to run with the ball and instantly change speed, direction, and pace. This running drill for soccer helps keep your players in the best shape possible while allowing them to better their skills and abilities.
5. ABC 150s
The ABC 150s drill is helpful in conditioning for soccer. Players will run through three different running patterns - patterns A, B, and C. Each pattern covers 150 yards, and players will rest between each. Set up patterns A and B, with a couple of sets of six cones outside the area for running.
The cone lines must be parallel, spaced about 20 to 25 yards in between them. You should space the cones out about five yards in between each one. Get pattern C set up and add a cone about 25 yards behind the two top cones from patterns A and B. These two cones must be parallel to the the other cone lines that are already set up.
Separate your players into groups of 2 to 4 consisting of around 6 to 10 players in each group. Ensure that your players have sufficient space to run between the cone lines.
You can elevate the distance in between the cone lines for your players to run. First, players will do pattern A. Group one begins in between two cones located at the bottom of the setup.
Players will finish a shuttle between the first six markers or cones on your command. They will sprint 5 yards to the first cone and back to the starting line.
Then, they run 10 yards to the second cone and back to the starting line. Continue this pattern until they reach the last cone, which is 25 yards away, and run back to the starting line.
Group two begins running after group one completes pattern A and after the whistle is blown. When every group has finished pattern A, the first group positions itself back to the starting line to finish pattern B. When you whistle, the first group will sprint to the 25-yard cone line and return to the start three times.
Once all groups complete pattern B, group one returns to the starting line to complete pattern C. Once all groups complete pattern C, players are given some time to rest before beginning a new game.
The objective of ABC 150s is to build your players’ endurance and agility. This high-intensity activity is one of the most effective soccer conditioning workouts, as it prepares them physically and mentally for intense soccer games.
6. 12 Minute Run
12 Minute Run is exactly what it sounds like, a 12 minute run. You will need a 1,300 to 1,315-foot track and a stopwatch to record the 12 minutes. Your players will run for 12 minutes while you keep track of the total distance covered around the way.
Excellent conditioning is more significant than 9,800 feet. Good conditioning is 7,400 to 9,800 feet.
Average conditioning is 6,200 to 7,400 feet. The below average is 4,900 to 6,200 feet, and poor is considered anything less than 4,900 feet. Essentially, your players will run to improve their conditioning for 12 minutes while you keep track of time and distance.
The 12-minute run drill is a great test to gauge your players' skills and where they are at with their conditioning. This drill helps your players to increase their agility, endurance, speed, and mentality with soccer games.
7. Step Jumps
Step Jumps are considered one of the easier conditioning workouts compared to the drills on this list. Your players should begin by standing next to a cone. On your command, players must vertically and laterally jump over a cone and land on both feet on the other side.
Once they land on the other side, they should return to land in their previous position. Players should repeat this jump for one minute, which is one set. Once the first set is completed, players should rest for 30 seconds before starting their second set.
Depending on their fitness level, players should complete between 4 and 8 sets per person with 30-second to 1-minute breaks in between sets.
Step Jumps help to improve your team’s overall performance. When this drill is done correctly, your players can improve their coordination, balance, stability, and strength. Players must jump correctly and not misapply, as misapplication could lead to a severe injury.
8. Alternating Box Sprints
Alternating Box Sprints involves players switching between sprinting and jogging around a fully sized soccer field while using field lines from the outside as markers. You will need an entire soccer field. Explain to your players that around the area, there are six lines.
The two end lines and the sidelines are split on each side into two lines by the half line, totaling six lines.
Divide your players into two separate even-numbered lines and place the two lines facing each other, diagonally, in each corner of the field. On your command, both groups begin jogging on the outside of the area.
The players jog 5 lines in the first lap and sprint 1 line. They jog 4 lines in the second lap and sprint 2 lines. They jog 3 lines during the third lap and sprint 3 lines. Players jog 2 lines during the fourth lap and spring 4 lines. They jog 1 line during the fifth lap and sprint 5 lines.
The players jog through all six lines during the sixth lap to complete the round. Once the round is completed, allow the players to rest for about 5 minutes.
The Alternating Box Sprints training session helps your players focus on recovery time between sprints. This drill helps increase their lung capacity and stamina during the sprints.
9. Dribble Patterns
The soccer conditioning drill, Dribble Patterns, allows your players to alternate through various dribbling patterns using maximum speed while having a partner. Have your players choose their partners, with four cones and one ball.
The pairs of players should spread out across the area and set up the four cones. These cones will be set up as two gates, about 8 to 12 yards away.
The gates should be right across from one another and about 2 to 3 yards wide. One player must work while the other player rests. The first working player starts with the ball behind one of the gates.
You should establish a set time for the players to work. Usually, 30 to 60 seconds is a typical range for working time. The player who is first in the pairs must dribble on your command.
The player will dribble through the gate where they are standing behind, and they continue to dibble toward the other gate.
Once they dribble through the center of the other gate, they turn the ball 180 degrees outside and dribble it back towards the center of the first gate. The working player dribbles as fast as they can during this round and their partner rests.
As soon as you let them know that the first round is over, the first player gives the ball to their partner, who begins dribbling around the four cones and repeats the process. Keep playing this drill for however many rounds as you want.
Dribble Patterns aims to develop your players’ ability to have their dribbling under control at high speeds while improving their fitness levels. This exercise helps to get your players touches on the ball and helps to increase their ball control.
10. 1 Mile Repeats
1 Mile Repeats is like it sounds. Players will run multiple intervals of 1 mile at a time. You will need a track (about 1,300 feet) to complete this drill and something to track time, like a stopwatch.
About four laps around a 1,300-foot track are equivalent to 1 mile. Your players should run the first mile at 6 minutes and 15 seconds or less and rest for 5 minutes.
They should run the second mile at 6 minutes and 5 seconds or less and rest for 5 minutes. The players should run the third mile in 6 minutes or less, rest, and recover. Finish this exercise by running a half mile.
Players can also practice these fitness drills for soccer in other variations. They can run 1 mile, jog a half mile, and run another mile. You can change the variations of this drill depending on how physically fit your players are.
The goal of the 1 Mile Repeats soccer conditioning drill is to increase your players' agility, strength, and speed. With this running exercise, they will be better prepared to play their soccer game.
Soccer conditioning drills are essential to help your players improve flexibility, strength, stamina, resistance, and agility. Conditioning workouts help prepare your players’ bodies to be physically fit so they can perform at optimum levels.
While these workouts can be challenging, they are an essential part of soccer because they keep your players healthy and prepared for demanding games.