Anaerobic Endurance Training
Anaerobic endurance training will help players to recover more quickly from successive bursts of high intensity exercise. It is not uncommon for a player to have to sprint 20-30yards in order to defend an attack only, to turn and sprint in the opposite direction when counter-attacking. Soccer can be classed as high-intensity, intermittent exercise.
Successive sprints or high intensity work bouts, with little rest in between, quickly leads to an accumulation of lactic acid. When the muscles and blood become acidic, their function is severely hampered. The player must slow down to recover and the last thing they want in this scenario is to receive the ball!
With anaerobic endurance training, the ability to tolerate lactic acid is increased. In other words, it takes longer for lactic acid to accumulate in the blood and muscles and when it does, it can be cleared more rapidly allowing recovery to be that much quicker.
Sample ANaerobic Endurance Drill
Set out 5 cones 10 meters/yard apart. Starting on cone 1, jog to cone 4 then immediately sprint to cone 5. Turn and jog to cone 3 and then sprint to cone 1. Turn and jog to cone 2 and sprint to cone 5. Finally, turn immediately and sprint to cone 1. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times. This is one set. Complete 2-3 sets.
Soccer Endurance Training For Junior Players
Players that have not yet reached, or who are in the early stages of puberty should only complete aerobic endurance training. Intense, anaerobic drills are too demanding on young players, who have a limited capacity to produce and tolerate lactic acid.
In very young players (i.e. 6 – 10) endurance “drills” should be avoided altogether. Instead the conditioning effect should come from endurance-based games that can easily be incorporated into a coaching session.
Soccer Endurance Training For Youth Players
As young soccer players mature, they are naturally able to cope with more demanding training. Aerobic versus anaerobic conditioning should still be emphasized, however some more demanding interval training drills can be added into a players program.
Interval training simply refers to breaking a low intensity drill up into several shorter intervals. Because a rest period is allowed between each interval, the overall intensity can increase. When you think about it, this is a lot like the nature of a soccer game.
Soccer Endurance Training For Mature Players
When players mature physically (usually between ages 16 – 21), their soccer endurance plan should be tailored to meet the precise demands of the game. Players should be completing much more interval training than steady-paced continuous training. They should also incorporate lots of anaerobic endurance drills to help them tolerate the build up of lactic acid.
At this level, endurance training should also be periodized. That simply means that over the course of a season there will be specific periods where aerobic endurance conditioning is emphasized, specific periods when anaerobic endurance conditioning is emphasized and periods of structured rest and recovery.
That’s it for parts 1 and 2. Next part is coming, where we will look at strength training for soccer.