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Aerobic Fitness Drills

Aerobic Fitness soccer drills and conditioning programs and exercises for soccer. These soccer fitness drills and practices aim at specifically training the aerobic energy systems and increasing the aerobic exercise capacity of football players.

Aerobic Fitness Sessions

Detraining Effect

Introduction Typical soccer seasons have periods of intense training, matches, tournaments and also rest periods at whatever level of football.  As coaches we should be aware of the effects of training...

12-02-2015 Hits:16592 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Running With the Ball and Conditioning

Dribbling technique that can be also used as a conditioning and fitness exercise if needed. Running with the ball technique training and also football specific conditioning. Can also be used...

16-07-2013 Hits:23691 Aerobic Fitness Drills Ray Power - avatar Ray Power

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Conditioning With Dribbling

Dribbling exercise that incorporates conditioning to varying degrees as desired. Improve dribbling, turning, ball manipulation skills with football-specific conditioning. ...

15-07-2013 Hits:19735 Aerobic Fitness Drills Ray Power - avatar Ray Power

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6 Ball Game (Aerobic)

Small sided game focusing on developing Aerobic Fitness (High Intensity) and immediate transition on attack. Finishing is also trained in high reps as the defending unit is frequently outnumbered. ...

30-03-2012 Hits:45446 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Fitness Ladder (Aerobic)

Fitness and conditioning activity used to develop aerobic capacity and also threshold capacity. Exercise integrates technical training at repeated stations whilst training aerobic energy systems. ...

12-02-2012 Hits:37566 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Directional Possession with Targets (Hig…

Possessional exercise with direction where players have to work in a high intensity environment. Developing aerobic capacity in a small sided game scenario. ...

20-11-2011 Hits:40886 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Transition Fitness (High Aerobic)

Develop a teams ability to work at Moderate to High intensity for sustained periods. This possession exercise works the aerobic and lactate systems to induce a training overload that replicates...

20-11-2011 Hits:37463 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Numbers Up Transitions with Conditioning…

Develop Possession and Creating Goal Scoring Opportunities in Numbers Up Situations. Also train a teams ability to work at high intensity for sustained periods and increase the Intermittent Aerobic Capacity of players.

10-11-2011 Hits:26338 Aerobic SSG's TonyDeers - avatar TonyDeers

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Training Zones for Football Fitness

The below information should help provide you with guidelines for designing fitness and conditioning sessions with specific training objectives.  Due to the intermittent exercise profile of football, players require a...

31-10-2011 Hits:31338 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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2 Ball Aerobic Possession (Low Intensity…

Develop the aerobic capacity of players in this exercise an train the ability to perform moderate intensity over long periods of time. Also trains possession skills in small groups. ...

20-10-2011 Hits:26796 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Small Sided Games vs. Generic Training i…

A number of studies have now shown that small sided games are an effective form of aerobic training in soccer opposed to the traditional generic (running) training techniques.  ...

18-10-2011 Hits:31201 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Physical Development of Girls vs Boys

It is important to understand pre-pubertal and pubertal physiological development of girls and boys in order to gauge expectations and plan an appropriate training schedule for them. Both...

25-09-2011 Hits:19175 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Aerobic Fitness Conditioned Match (8vs8)

Develop the Intermittent Aerobic Capacity of players in this Small Sided Game. Develop a teams ability to work at high intensity for sustained periods. ...

23-09-2011 Hits:26963 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Football Periodization

Introduction Periodization is derived from 'Period' which is a division of time into smaller, easy-to-manage segments.  In our case ''Training Periods'. Specifically, periodization is the division of a yearly training...

01-09-2011 Hits:69247 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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150 Yrd Shuttles (High Intensity)

Drill Objective(s) Developing the ability to sustain high intensity exercise specific to soccer. Develop psychological toughness. Develop turns and good running form in soccer. Drill No: HAN1 Age: 14-Adlt No Players: 1+ Difficulty: Advanced Area/Time: 25x25yrds Diagram 1 ORGANISATION: Set up...

04-08-2011 Hits:27790 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Yo-Yo Intermittent and Endurance Testing

The Yo-Yo test series evaluate an individual's ability to repeatedly perform intervals over a prolonged period of time in intermittent exercise related sports. The endurance version of this test is...

25-07-2011 Hits:107165 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Split Pitch Fitness (Low Aerobic)

Small sided game with focus on fitness. Develop the Intermittent Aerobic Capacity of players. Develop a teams ability to work at low to moderate intensity for sustained periods. ...

20-07-2011 Hits:22008 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Repeated Sprint Training (RSA) and Inter…

Testing done on elite soccer players has shown that additional RSA (Repeated Sprint Activity) and Interval training has been shown to further improve performance in Intermittent Exercise (i.e Soccer). Bangsbo et...

18-07-2011 Hits:29480 Aerobic Fitness Science TonyDeers - avatar TonyDeers

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300 Yrd Shuttle (Lactate Tolerance Test)

Set up markers (cones) at 10 yrd intervals out to 50yrds.  This test is designed to test your lactate system and high intensity running.  This test is done with a...

04-07-2011 Hits:21516 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Cooper Test (VO2max Calculation)

What is VO2max? VO2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is one factor that can determine an player's capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. VO2 max refers...

05-05-2011 Hits:55435 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Reduced Training Volume vs. Increased In…

This article discusses the balance of volume and intensity of fitness activities in soccer training sessions. Iaia FM et al, performed a study on high performance athletes by replacing their...

18-04-2011 Hits:18130 Aerobic Fitness Science Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Aerobic Possession Grids

Possessional based fitness activity that could be used in pre-season or as an aerobic integrated possession training phase. ...

30-06-2010 Hits:38933 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Speed and Agility Circuit 1

SAQ Exercise designed to develop explosive speed and acceleration. Typical activities include co-ordination and balance training integrated into the various exercises. SAQ Circuit using a variety of movements to develop...

01-02-2010 Hits:47668 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Pyramid Fartlek Runs

Fartlek Pyramid training model for soccer. High Intensity Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. ...

01-02-2010 Hits:43449 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Partner Relay (Aerobic Threshold)

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. Relay races to create intermittent exercise to replicate the physical conditions of a match. ...

31-01-2010 Hits:29236 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Intermittent Aerobic Course (50yrds)

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. Exercise performed without a football for older and advanced players. ...

31-01-2010 Hits:26848 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Incremental Aerobic Recovery Runs

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. Series of high intensity sprints followed by various running bouts. ...

31-01-2010 Hits:26904 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Incremental Aerobic Fitness Pitch Runs

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. Requires a full field and involves different intensities of running/jogging. ...

31-01-2010 Hits:27202 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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High Intensity Aerobic Circuit

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. Without ball for advanced and senior level players. ...

28-01-2010 Hits:35702 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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3/4 Field Aerobic Runs

Aerobic fitness development activity used to progress the aerobic energy systems included aerobic threshold. ...

28-01-2010 Hits:22883 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Low Intensity Aerobic Agility Circuit

Develop Aerobic Capacity in this fitness and conditioning circuit. Perform various SAQ and loaded runs in order to develop a teams (player) aerobic profile. ...

28-01-2010 Hits:25276 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Aerobic Runs (High Intensity)

Aerobic fitness circuit used to develop aerobic capacity and the ability to recover after repeated bouts of high intensity intermittent exercise. Also develops 'Aerobic Threshold'. ...

28-01-2010 Hits:24115 Aerobic Fitness Drills Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Cone Capture

Small sided game or pre-season activity used to develop aerobic fitness in players in a fun and high intensity small sided game. Developing a players ability to recover and perform...

07-11-2009 Hits:41748 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Cone Retreive Race (Aerobic)

Fitness and conditioning exercise to develop Anaerobic fitness and also aerobic base and recovery training. Performed without a football and in two teams or more depending on squad size. Competitive...

07-11-2009 Hits:35021 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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Cone Runners (Recovery Runs)

Defending priorities in and around the 18yrd area. Focusing on preventing goal scoring opportunities and small group defending techniques.

07-11-2009 Hits:40315 Aerobic SSG's Darren Pitfield - avatar Darren Pitfield

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5 Types of Soccer Fitness Training (Effects on Aerobic Fitness)

Soccer Training can be separated into six main classifications. A combination of these different types of training is considered optimal for aerobic training. Mixing controlled interval training with small sided games is considered the typical modern approach to football fitness.

  • Interval Training
  • Repeated Sprint Training
  • Small-Sided Games
  • Speed and Agility Training
  • Circuit Training

Interval Training

Its long established that interval training is one of the foundations of football fitness historically. The beneficial aspects from interval training on aerobic endurance have been reported in studies in professional soccer (Wong et al., 2010).

In addition, studies with competitive/elite level youth players have also shown the positive training effects of structured interval training over a period of time (Bravo et al., 2007, Helgerud, J, 2004). Anaerobic endurance improved in an 8-week conditioning program using interval training (Sporis et al., 2008)

Physical adaptations seen in a study by (Hoff et al., 2002) were as follows: a) VO2max, b) lactate threshold, c) running economy, d) distance covered (6.4-20%) in a match, e) number of sprints (100%), f) number of involvements with the ball (+24%), g) work intensity, h) 200-2400m-tests (4.2-7.9%).

Simple examples of structured soccer interval training tests showed that performing 4 x 4 sets at 90-95% of maximal heart rate with a 3 min jog periods, twice weekly increased players aerobic capacity (Bravo et al., 2007, Helgerud et al., 2001, Impellizzeri et al., 2006). Performing 4 x 4 sets at 90-95%, with 3 minute jog recoveries at increased frequency has also clearly shown improvements in fitness capacity. 3-4 times per week benefits were shown over a 5 week period on U14 players (Sporis et al., 2008). The same has been shown in other complimentary studies for extended periods (4-8 weeks) (Dellal et al., 2012, Iaia, F.M et al., 2009, Sporis et al., 2008).


Repeated Sprint Training

The ability to perform repeated sprints over varying distances it critical in football (soccer). For testing purposes repeated sprints can be classified as several sprints often with incomplete recovery periods due to the unpredictability of a match. Several studies for repeated sprint training have shown improvements to aerobic endurance (Meckel et al., 2009, Mujika et al., 2010, Buchheit et al, 2010). Youth players also have displayed increased aerobic endurance with 40m repeated sprint training at maximum intensity (Tonnessen et al, 2011).


Small-Sided Games

The specificity of small sided games fitness training makes it an ideal format for training players. Controlled small sided games involve specific football movements and combine technical and tactical training and conditioning into one training exercise. Small sided games studies have show evidence of the following physical adaptations in footballers significant increase in aerobic endurance (Hill et al., 2009, Mallo et al., 2008). Also increases in VO2 Max capacity in both elite and youth players (Jensen et al., 2007, Chamari et al., 2005) and improved running velocity at lactate threshold (Impellizzeri, et al, 2006). Additionally, in-season use of small sided fitness games showed positive effects on repeated sprint ability.
The negatives of small sided games fitness training are shown in the inability to fully control players work rate, their overload, movement and therefore intensity. The random nature of the demands on small sided games can only be controlled to a certain extent. The difficulty in controlling intensity has been shown in studies (Little, 2009). Considerations need to be made concerning players positional demands in small sided games, the performance on the opponents and/or motivation levels, etc.
For these reasons it is suggested that a combinations of fitness training methods be used in order to optimally develop a players fitness levels.


Speed & Agility Training

Some studies (in similar sports) have found a moderate correlation between speed and agility exercises/drill and an increase in aerobic fitness (Buchheit et al., 2010).


Circuit Training

A more limited area of training research, some studies have sown the effects of football circuit training on aerobic fitness. Improvements were see in both VO2 MAX after 20 training sessions (two training session/week) for 10 weeks.The players performed four sets of 3 minutes of recovery jogging at 70% max heart rate (Hoff et al., 2002). Chamari (2005) also showed similar results with using circuit training.