The standard period for a soccer game is 90 minutes. Since the sport involves a lot of running and vigorous activities, you are likely to cover an average of 7 miles by the time one game ends. Besides running, you alternate between short-distance jogs, sprints, and bursts of energy which require a lot of strength.
Stamina is essential as it enables you to endure long periods running around the field and managing your skills. Therefore, when training, you must target exercises that strengthen your cardiovascular system, lower body, and muscles to improve your stamina. It is advisable to start with low-intensity workouts and routines like jogging before alternating them with high-intensity exercises or drills.
Here are practical tips to improve your stamina for soccer;
Stretches are critical warm-up exercises that prepare you for other, more challenging drills. You can perform several stretches, ranging from simple to complex ones. Stretching improves stamina by preparing your back, hips, abdomen, calf, hamstring, and quadriceps to endure long periods of action on the field.
Stretching also enhances your flexibility, balance, agility, and cardiovascular training, an excellent combination for soccer stamina. Simple stretches include quad and hip stretches when kneeling.
To perform the quad and hip stretch;
- Kneel on one knee and keep the other at a 90-degree angle.
- Push your upper body forward by thrusting your waist
- Repeat this severally, alternating the bent knee.
To perform the hamstring stretch;
- Stretch your legs in a parallel position when sitting down.
- Bend your right leg until your right foot touches the left knee.
- Bend forward and touch the left leg toes with both hands.
- Stay in that position for one minute before switching the leg position.
- Repeat up to 10 times.
To perform the leg-out stretch;
- Part your legs while standing.
- Bend one knee at 90 degrees while the other leg spreads outward and straight.
- Touch the ground with one hand and stay in that position for up to two minutes.
- Alternative the legs and repeat the drill five times.
You can achieve the desired stamina for soccer through shuttle runs. The drill is popular for enhancing acceleration and speed. However, you'll also need aerobic fitness to keep up with the vigorous activities throughout the game.
Steps to follow;
- Line up three cones at intervals of 30 yards.
- Sprint from the first cone to the second, then run back to the starting point.
- Start another sprint straight to the third cone, touch down, then sprint back to the first cone.
- Repeat the drill up to five times.
By the fifth rep, you will have covered approximately 500 yards. You can increase the distance by spreading the cones further apart or sprinting faster. Timing yourself during this exercise gives you a proper record of your progress. You can also gauge your stamina by checking how long you last on the drill without feeling tired.
Stop and Go Exercise
Physical fitness is a core determinant of stamina. The stop-and-go workout routine combines sprints and jogs, helping you adapt to different speeds during soccer. You can start exercising with a time limit of 20 minutes and increase the time to 30 minutes or more as you get used to it.
The stop-and-go drill helps your body adapt to quick and slow runs at balanced intervals. It also strengthens your core muscles and lower body, critical requirements for soccer stamina.
Steps to follow;
- Flex your muscles by stretching your hands and legs.
- Set two cones in a straight line, from one end to the other.
- Start with a slow jog, then increase the pace till you reach halfway.
- Sprint at your highest speed to the end of the line.
- Walk back to the starting point as you regain strength and repeat the drill for 20 minutes.
The stop-and-go drill improves your stamina by getting your body fit for fast and slow runs. It also strengthens your core muscles, enhancing your endurance against injuries and fatigue.
Running Upstairs or Uphill
If you cannot locate a nearby hill, you can perform this drill using the stairs. Making short sprints on a raised ground is a plyometric activity that improves your stamina at a high intensity. Your ligaments, tendons, muscles, and whole body are exposed to rapid flexes and contractions, leading to stamina build-up.
Steps to follow;
- Locate a flight of stairs or a nearby hill.
- Sprint for up to 5 minutes before slowing down for a 2-minute recovery.
- Walk back to the starting point before sprinting upward again.
- Repeat the drill up to 5 times.
Sprinting up the stairs or uphill increases your heartbeat, leading to faster blood flow. The drill also improves oxygen circulation around your body as your lungs build stamina to prepare for the soccer game.
In conclusion, regularly working out will improve your stamina during soccer, allowing you to last longer on the field. Your body adapts to challenging routines required to last 90 minutes or more when you are used to sprinting, running, shuttle running, and stretches. To avoid overstressing your body, always time yourself or set achievable goals.