Top Tips For Young Footballers No. 2

Follow our series of top tips, following on here with number 2 of 6, to gradually but dramatically improve your game.

  1. Work hard to improve and maintain your fitness 

In addition to working at improving your on-the-ball skills, fitness is also a major factor. Without good fitness, you just will not be able to use your talent for the full 90 minutes. Notice how many top level matches are won or lost in the last few minutes. Maintaining top fitness is a game changer.

Even lower level football demands good fitness these days. The game is much faster and requires explosive bursts of energy. Also, looking after your fitness now is an investment as you move towards your older years. You need to take care of both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels if you want to breakthrough into a higher level of football.

Improving your anaerobic fitness

This will help you with the short, sharp bursts of speed any needed during a game. Running into space, running to intercept the ball or chasing down an opponent to win the ball all involve good anaerobic fitness. Interval training is a great way to work on this. After the warm up, an easy sprint interval exercise would be to jog gently around the outside of the pitch, start by running down the long side of the pitch and then speed up into a sprint from one corner flag until you reach the next one. At this point, slow back down to a jog down the other length of the pitch. To increase the intensity of your workout, as the level of your anaerobic fitness increases, try switching it and sprinting the length of the pitch whilst slowing to a jog across the goal lines. By increasing the number of circuits you complete, you can safely build your anaerobic fitness.

The Multi-stage fitness test (Bleep test) is a possible way that your coach will measure your anaerobic fitness, we do this at IHM and the results form part of your regular progress report. So, by building interval training into your personal regime, you will be ahead of the game and performing well.

Improving your aerobic fitness

Aerobic exercise is the type of moderate-intensity physical activity that you can sustain for more than just a few minutes, with the objective of improving your cardiorespiratory fitness and your health. It will help you build stamina and endurance.

What Is the Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise?

A single activity can include elements of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. For example, the interval training we prescribed above, where you alternate cycles of low-intensity jogging (aerobic) and high-intensity sprinting (anaerobic) work during the same workout, has elements of both. So does a game of football where you might sprint with the ball, running at defenders, one minute (anaerobic) and then move less aggressively for several minutes (aerobic) as the action moves to the opposite end of the pitch and jog back into position.

You can work on improving your aerobic fitness by cycling, swimming, dancing or running at an intensity whereby you are not out of breath and can continue a conversation.

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