In our last post on interval training and change of pace in soccer, we started to get at what it means to be soccer fit.
This is such an important topic that it can’t be neatly summed up into any single article, so we will continue to break it down here on the soccer training blog.
This post here today will outline three reasons why being fit for soccer is so crucial.
Simply put, soccer is a game of fitness, so it is important to be in the best shape possible.
Being fit for soccer will allow you to do 3 main things that will benefit both you and your team.
1. Being Soccer Fit Lets You Play the Whole Game with Limited Substitutions
Soccer games played at the highest level only allow for 3 total substitutions for your team; other levels will impose different limits.
This means that if you are a starter, you need to be fit enough to play the whole game.
You also want to be fitter than your opponent to constantly beat him or her to balls and be able to make run after run as the game goes on and other players start to get fatigued.
But this point isn’t just for players who find themselves regularly in the starting eleven.
Even if you are not a starter yourself (or if you play in a league where more regular substitutions are allowed), you still need to be fit enough to come off the bench and bring energy, enthusiasm, and help change the dynamic of the game.
This could mean either closing a game out or creating a spark to help change momentum towards your team. The importance of such a spark from a substitute might even make it more important for these players to be fit than the starters who may be able to strategically conserve energy throughout the match.
2. Improving Fitness Helps with your Touch
Being fit allows you to get your body into the correct position to receive the ball across your body.
If you are not fit, then you will not have enough energy to get into the correct positions, which will cause your first touch to be poor.
Basically, if you are playing tired you will start reaching for the ball, so when you are receiving it, your foot is planted on the ground.
This will prevent you from successfully cushioning the ball and will cause it to bounce up or away from you.
Being more fit allows you to get into the right positions and have the energy to raise your feet in order to better receive a pass. In short, it helps you better keep up with your soccer fundamentals over the course of a long game.
3. Better Soccer Fitness Leads to Better Communication
This last benefit is something that many players do not consider.
Overall, it is widely understood that communication is soccer is hugely important. But when you are tired, you tend not to talk at all.
The reason is because you are trying to conserve your energy to use it for running, passing, shooting, and tackling.
When you are truly fit to play soccer, you will be able to constantly talk and give your teammates information throughout the whole game.
It helps to break down teams, be organized defensively, helps your teammates know if he or she can “turn” or if there is a “man on,” just to give one example. There are countless other situations on the field where talking and communicating helps to form a cohesive unit.
These are just three reasons why being fit for soccer is so important, and why putting in the extra effort on your conditioning work can have major benefits for your game as a whole (and even the success of your team).
Do you have any other benefits of soccer fitness to add? If so let us know in the comment section below.
Photo credit: lusi