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Josh Beaumont's picture

Adding Running to Practice and Drills

One of the biggest drawbacks I have noticed watching youth soccer practice is that amount of standing around that occurs. One method to limit this is designing conditioning that supplements what is going on in practice. A popular training drill is 5 v 5 small sided games. With a team of 18 or so players, that leaves 5 players standing around for the duration of the game, 3, 4, or 5 minutes. When does one ever stand around during a soccer game?

Running for the sake of running is a waste of time and energy, so adding running should be with a purpose and correspond to the goals of the practice. Interval running is the most similar to the demands of soccer. One of the biggest benefits of the fitness program below is they use short bursts of cardiac work. Thus, the goal of running should be to increase cardiac workload and tolerance. If you are adding running, avoid high repetition footwork such as an agility ladder. This will fatigue the calves and groin, the quality of practice may decrease as a result and could increase injury risk. Here are some examples.

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1. A light jog around the field may be used, but I only recommend that if you have already had a heavy load that week or you are early in your season and players are still building their foundation.

2. Cross field runs at 1 hard:2 recovery ratio.  80% run across the field with a 40% jog across the field two times. 

3. Diagonals 60% run from corner flag to opposite midfield/sideline intersection. Walk or jog sideline to the other corner flag and repeat.

4. Increasing Box runs –Start at the corner where the End Line and Goal box meet. Start at the black star. Sprint 6 yards up the line to where goal kicks are normal taken. Run the blues up and down the field, jog the reds across the field. End at the yellow star

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