Football Training Tips - Stay Sharp This Season
Staying fit and at the top of your game for the full football season can be a challenge. Injuries both minor and major are part of playing football. Even professional footballers suffer with injuries and sprains that take time to recover from. One of the best ways to help prevent injury is by training properly off the pitch. Trying out some of these football training tips will help you to stay sharp, improve your skills and hopefully stay injury free.
Build Your Stamina
It won’t come as any surprise that stamina is one of the key attributes every football player must poses. Being on the move for 90 minutes during a football match, even if you’re a goal keeper takes more out of you than you might think. Building up a good level of stamina will help you to get through the game and recover more effectively.
One of the best football training tips with regards to increasing stamina is being consistent. To build your running stamina aim to run 3-4 times a week for around 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t worry too much about the distance, take it at a moderate pace and focus on your technique and breathing. When you reach the fourth run push yourself distance wise. Add an extra kilometre on to your run while staying at your usual pace.
Training consistently in this way will help to increase your aerobic capacity. This means that your muscles will be able to use more oxygen and you will be able to train and play for longer. After a few weeks you will notice a difference on the football pitch and you should feel that the training is paying off. Remember to keep up the hard work throughout the year, even when you’re not playing.
Work on Sprints
Explosive power is what sets some football players apart from the rest. Hazard, Sterling and Rashford can all turn on their pace in a split-second, leaving defenders for dead. Once you have started to build your stamina you can begin exploring training tips for increasing your sprints and pace.
After a warm up jog of around 40 minutes you can use 20 second sprints to build your pace. Much like with building your stamina this is a learning process. You need to be aware of which techniques work best for you and which deliver results. Try doing 4-6, 20 second sprints with a rest of 30 seconds in between. You can start to time yourself and over time you should see improvements in your pace. You could also try this from a jogging start mimicking an in-game scenario.
This video shares some great sprinting tips from 4 x gold medallist Michael Johnson. Add these into your football training tips and you’ll be the fastest player on the pitch in no time.
Focus on Footwork
There’s nothing worse than being wrong footed and being embarrassed by the opposition. Spending time on your footwork can help with your core strength, balance and coordination. As a defender these are especially important. However, running backwards and sideways are all crucial parts of the game for midfields and strikers too.
Ladders are one of the most popular football training aids for this type of work. They are quick and simple to set up and can be used for a multitude of different training techniques. Infact, this video from 7MLC training offers 15 different football training tips for footwork using cones or ladders.
The great thing about footwork training is that is can be done at your weekly session with the whole team. It’s easy to create games and races to make it more competitive. The faster you go the better you will get at your footwork and ultimately your ball control.
Master Ball Control
There are so many occasions when someone's first touch lets the side down. A great pass that rolls under or over the foot, not looking at the ball and mis-kicks can all lead to game losing actions. Mastering ball control is so important, even more so if you’re playing on a dodgy Sunday league pitch with lumps, bumps and a slope to the corner flag!
One of the great football training tips you can practice for ball control is dribbling using the inside of your feet. With the ball in between your feet, at shoulder width apart, move forward passing the ball between both feet. It will take a while to be able to do this without losing control.
Another great technique is practicing hitting the ball with your laces while running. You will be able to get much more speed this way and will retain greater control of the ball. Ideally you should be working towards being able to do this without looking at the football. That way you can see who is around you while knowing the ball is still at your feet.
Finally, at training you should gather the team in a circle with one player in the middle. Using one touch only, pass the football around the circle with the player in the middle trying to get the ball. This is a perfect football drill for practicing one touch football. It doesn’t give you much time to think and your touch needs to be perfect to stop the player in the middle stealing the ball.
Everyone loves skill drills. They give players the chance to show off silky skills and practice for those special moments of class in a game. Skill drills that can help with ball control include keepie-uppies and heading the ball among the team trying to get from one end to the other.
Strikers are all about finishing and they often want to practice putting the ball in the back of the net. One piece of equipment you must have if you want to practice scoring goals is a shooting target wall. These require you to hit the back of the net with pin-point accuracy every time. They are very easy to attach to existing goals posts and can be used to practice free-kicks too.
Another classic piece of kit that’s perfect for use with goal keepers or strikers is the Crazy Catch. This can be used by goal keepers to test their reflexes as the ball rebounds off the net. Strikers and midfielders also get use from this awesome piece of kit to practice volleys at different heights and angles.
Work Your Footballing Brain
It's well-regarded that physical training is not enough if you want to be at the top of your game. Having the right mentality both during a football match and while training is just as important. Every professional sports team have a whole host of back-room staff. There is usually a sports phycologist who help athletes to achieve their best performances and stay calm under pressure.
Okay, so your game next Sunday might not have as much importance as the Champions League Final but getting in the right frame of mind can help you be a better player, and that’s why you’re here right? The guys at Street Soccer International posted a great video with a sports phycologist on their YouTube channel. He gives 5 football training tips on how to train your brain.
Football Training Tips
These 6 football training tips can be put into action any time in the season. You could even start to use them in your pre-season training too. Each training tip covers an important area of training that every football player should be willing to work on. It doesn’t matter what position you play or what level you play at, these tips will help you to improve your skills and get more enjoyment out of the beautiful game.