Summer is a great time of year for soccer players to improve their individual fitness levels and technical abilities. Players typically work on their fitness level separately from working with the soccer ball. Although any type of practice will help you improve, you can achieve greater fitness while working with the ball.
The extent and depth of your fitness is only as good as how well you can work with the ball when you are tired. So it's important to get touches when you are fatigued. You need to practice being focused and composed with worn out legs. Here are two soccer ball-handling drills to use.
Soccer Ball-Handling Drills
A common interval workout among soccer players is called "Cones" or "Doggies" or "25's."
- Place six cones five yards apart in a straight line for 25 yards.
- Start at cone #1, sprint to cone #2, turn and sprint back to cone #1, turn and sprint back to cone #3, back to cone #1, and so on.
- Once you have reached all five cones and are back at cone #1, take a 55-second rest before starting the next set.
- Repeat this until you complete ten sets. Most players should be able to complete a set in under 35 seconds.
A simple variation of "Doggies" can be done with the soccer ball. Instead of using six cones, use five covering a total of 20 yards. Rather than just running, add a ball to the mix going back and forth cutting at the cones. This will test your ability to dribble and cut with the ball effectively and quickly so that you can complete a set in the least amount of time possible.
- Complete the first five sets using only your right foot and the last five using only your left foot.
- Add variations in terms of the surface of the foot you use—inside, outside or bottom of your foot.
- As you get further into the workout, it forces you to focus more on the ball and getting good touches as you get more tired.
Players who perform this exercise will deepen their fitness base, plus add difficulty by completing it with a ball. Since this workout is game-realistic, it will enhance your ability to keep the ball under pressure in the final minutes of a game. Adding it to your repertoire this summer will effectively and efficiently improve both your fitness level and your technical abilities with the ball.
Hone your soccer skills and conditioning with these drills:
- Abby Wambach's Goal-Scoring Technique
- Tobin Heath's Closed-Space Dribbling Drill
- Shoot, Pass and Dribble Better With C.J. Sapong's Favorite Soccer Drills
- D.C. United's Game-Day Endurance Test
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