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Should I always use a soccer ball when training for soccer?

The first thing to consider is your conditioning (fitness) level. Sprinting is a high-intensity task, but improving your overall cardiorespiratory fitness will help you recover because your heart and lungs will be more efficient and able to bring in more oxygen and pump more blood throughout the body enhancing recovery. A great way to improve overall cardiorespiratory fitness and recovery time from sprints is to incorporate interval training into your workouts. Interval training is a type of training that requires you to mix intense anaerobic activities (such as sprinting) with moderate aerobic activities (such as jogging or walking).  Rather then just running for a specific distance, with interval training you can vary the pace you are moving as well as the type of movement you are performing.  For example, you can go from performing a lateral change of direction drill to completing a short sprint, to gently jogging or walking, to a performing a dodge drill, etc.  As you can see from the above circuit, your pace changes as does the type of movement you perform.  The closer you can mimic with training with what you do in the game the better your body will be able to transfer the skills.  The other thing you can begin to incorporate into training is working on your breathing.  A lot of times when soccer players sprint, they hold their breath to brace themselves.  Work on staying calm as you perform high-intensity movements and you might even surprise yourself with how more efficient you move and much longer it takes to begin feeling fatigued.  The other part of breathing you can begin to work on is following the burst or sprint.  Take a big breath and hold it in for a few seconds.  Slowly let it out for a few more seconds.  Deep diaphragmatic breaths (breathing from your stomach not chest), will help slow your heart rate down and assist in recovery from sprints.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.