Coaching Team

Each team entered into a competition will need a coach or coaches. 

Our senior teams, youth teams and some of the junior teams have coaches, but we need more volunteers from parents for our junior teams.  If you are going to be at games anyway, why not help out as the named coach.  The club and its other coaches will give you all the help you need.  It's fun and rewarding and needn't take more time than you spend at the game in any case. 

Whether you just make sure the team is organised and ready to play, or you take it further through training courses run by Waibop, Football NZ and other sports organisations, your help is needed to make sure we can put the teams into the local competitions.

ps This letter may help appreciate the bonuses of volunteering as a coach - Click here to view the letter.



Thanks to the author Rene Pijnaker for the article.









February 2013





This Fitness in Football document has one purpose; to be a foundational paper for the soccer coach.

Fitness is one of the four pillars of soccer, besides technical, tactical and teamwork, and is probably the most undervalued aspect of the four.

Coaches focus on technical side of the game, without realising that if the fitness level is not good enough, it will limit the other aspects, and fitness plays a major role towards the end of the 90 minutes and is often decisional in the final score.

My goal is that this paper will improve the knowledge of the coaches and to use this information in their practice and so enhance the performance of the players in the best sport in the world.

After the introduction, part one describes in detail the explanation of energy fitness, what is the working and how to train the different types of fitness. It also contains an overview of heart rates as a device for the soccer practice. Furthermore some test for the two fitness types as well as some training examples to use.

The second part start with all the questions related to flexibility and the answers will be described further on.

The last part is focussed on nutrition with the main question: What to eat and why?

I finish with the question: Who is more important, the player or the coach?


Happy coaching,


Rene Pijnaker.

Physical Fitness in Football


The purpose of this document is to give soccer coaches a foundational explanation of physical fitness in soccer. Why it is important, what are the main aspects of physical fitness in soccer, when and how to improve physical fitness in soccer training.

Definition of physical fitness

Fitness is a broad description of wellbeing, but physical fitness, but according to Walmsley, 2003: "Fitness is a combination of components consisting of Cardio-Respiratory fitness, Muscular fitness, Flexibility, Motor fitness, Body composition and Psychological fitness".

Physical fitness is divided into a number of components such as:

  • Cardio- Respiratory fitness
  • Muscular fitness

Different sports require different types of physical fitness; for example compare a long distance event such as a marathon which requires cardio respiratory fitness opposite a shot putter, which requires muscular fitness.

Soccer requires both; cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness.

Cardio-Respiratory fitness

Cardio-respiratory fitness is the ability of the heart, lungs, airways, vascular system (blood vessels) to deliver oxygen rich blood to working muscles during sustained physical activity.

The term: cardio-vascular means: heart and blood vessels.



Muscular fitness

Muscular fitness contains different components:

  • Muscular strength

Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle or a group of muscles can generate in a single effort.


  • Muscular endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or a group of muscles to repeat a movement many times or to hold a particular position for an extended period of time.


  • Flexibility

Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen.


  • Muscular speed

Muscular speed is the ability to move the body very quickly. The distance they moved in a certain time. Reaction time is the period from when a stimulus is perceived to the beginning of the movement.


  • Muscular power

Muscular power is the ability to exert muscular strength quickly: when speed and strength is combined. When increasing strength or speed in a training program, the result will be an increase in power.


  • Balance

Balance is divided in:

Static balance is the ability to maintain stable in a stationary position. Dynamic balance is the ability to maintain stable when moving the body.

  • Agility

Agility is the ability to start, stop, change speed, and change direction quickly with precision. To be an agile player, you need strength, endurance, speed, balance and movement skills.


When analysing the game of soccer, players have to:

Run, sprint, accelerate, jump, turn, change directions, forward, back- and side wards, stop and start for the duration of the game (90 minutes or longer).

Other components which have an impact on the players’ physical fitness are their lifestyle and diet.

Before continuing the why and how of physical fitness in soccer, there are different strategies of approaching fitness training:

  • Analyse, study and identify the physical fitness requirements for various positions within the team.

Players must develop kicking skills, but different positions have different needs, for example; wing players need more specific speed and acceleration training, while midfielders need more endurance training.

  • Train one physical fitness component at the time.

All components are important and related to each other, but target on one goal at the time.

  • Remember that a soccer team exist of 11 + individuals, each with their own physical ability and soccer expertise.

What will work for one player doesn’t always work for another player; implement individual training programs during practices.

  • Record what you have done.

Write down results to compare performances, it will give the players a clear overall result and gives the coach inside information.

  • Motivate players, so they always want to train hard.

Extrinsic motivation (motivation from outside; like being rewarded) is a helpful tool, but intrinsic motivation (motivation from inside -self motivation, the drive of wanting to improve) is the most important one. Training should never be a punishment. Add fun and enjoyment to activities.

This document will now focus on the major physical fitness elements in football:

Part 1. Cardio- Respiratory fitness,

Part 2. Muscular fitness: Flexibility,

Part 3. Nutrition.


  1. Cardio- Respiratory fitness

To create and improve physical fit players, coaches have to understand how the body releases energy and how the body respond to exercise. The most important aspects are:

  1. The difference between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

B.       The build-up and absorption of lactic acid.

  1.      The difference between fast and slow acting fibers.

The body need continuously energy to power the muscles and sustain the life supporting systems.

Energy comes from food, which is converted to fuel in the body’s cells through a chemical process called metabolism. This process requires oxygen, which is provided by our respiratory system (lungs). This metabolic process and the production of energy by the muscles produce waste in the form of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, which will be removed by the urinary system.

The amount of energy used over a period of time is the metabolic rate. Average rate for women and men are different, inactive women need 2000 calories per day and men 2500 calories a day. Athletes doing intensive training need 4000 to 5000 calories per day. Muscles use 85 % of that energy, while the brain uses the rest.

A calorie is a measure of energy in the form of heat. It is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. Energy fitness is the ability of the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems to use the energy the body has stored.

Every physical activity has different needs: sleeping cost 28 calories for women versus 38 for men, while an endurance run will be 700 versus 748 calories.


  1. The difference between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

When starting to exercise intensively the body uses the anaerobic system (without oxygen), but the supply of fuel is very limited. As soon as the body demands more, the aerobic system (with the use of oxygen) will be in action, but it will take time for the heart and lungs to bring oxygen and fuel to the muscles. When the aerobic system is in action, and as long as the energy demands are not too high it is the basic source of energy. If there is more power needed, the anaerobic system will start to provide the energy, but only for a very short time. In short the three energy systems:

  1. ATP is the only fuel a cell can use straightaway to contract a muscle, but for a very short time; 1 - 2 seconds.

The breakdown of ATP produces energy and ADP. ADP when joined with CP redevelops ATP. This is the ATP-PCr system (Adenosine Triphosphate and Phosphate Creatine system). This process delivers energy for 4-6 seconds and doesn’t use oxygen.

  1. Actively contracting muscles obtain ATP from glucose stored in the bloodstream and the breakdown of glycogen (glycogen is a group of joint glucose molecules) stored in the muscles and liver. This process is called the glycolysis system and doesn’t use oxygen. This anaerobic system produces lactic acid,which will limit the system’s ability to continue to provide energy.

Lactic acid is a by-product of the production of ATP, resulting from the incomplete breakdown of glucose.

  1. The aerobic system requires the complete oxidation of carbohydrates or free fatty acids in the mitochondria (a membrane closed organelle in the cell) with the use of oxygen, to produce glucose, which will be converted to ATP. Carbohydrates are limited in supply in the body, but there is plentiful of fat in supply. As long as the body has enough oxygen, it burns fat and minimizes the use of carbohydrates, which are stored in the form of glycogen, ready to be used if necessary for an intensive period of exercise. ATP is produced copiously and is the primary resource during endurance activities.

The carbohydrate store will last approximately 90 minutes and the free fatty store will last several days.

According to Matthews (1971); when working at 95% effort these energy pathways are time limited and the general consensus on these times are as follows:



Energy Supplied By

1 to 4 seconds


ATP (in muscles)

4 to 10 seconds



10 to 45 seconds


ATP + CP + Muscle glycogen

45 to 120 seconds

Anaerobic, Lactic

Muscle glycogen

120 to 240 seconds

Aerobic + Anaerobic

Muscle glycogen + lactic acid

240 to 600 seconds


Muscle glycogen + fatty acids



  1. Build up and absorption of lactic acid

The glycolysis process is limited in production not because of the fuel supply of carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen and glucose), but by production of lactic acid. This lactic acid hinders the production of ATP, hinders force generated by the muscle, and weakens coordination. It is literally a pain, a burning sensation in the muscle and a source of physical and mental fatigue. It is not the source of muscle soreness after exercise. The body removes lactic acid within an hour of exercise. (The muscle soreness is a result of micro trauma in the muscle and connective tissue, which causes swelling).Lactic acid is removed from the body through the blood stream. By active recovery, the blood keeps moving and thus helps to remove the lactic acid; A very important reason to have a proper cool-down!

By training the aerobic system, athletes can delay the production of lactic acid, and by training the anaerobic glycolysis system they can clear lactic acid from muscle and blood more quickly.


When the intensity of the exercise is high, the body produces lactic acid faster than it can clear it. The point at which blood lactic begins an abrupt increase is called: “The blood lactate threshold” or “anaerobe threshold”. Highly conditioned players experience this threshold at 70-80 % of their maximum aerobic exercise capacity compared to unfit players who will have this threshold at 50-60% of their maximum aerobic capacity. The lactate threshold is important because it is an indicator of when a player is shifting from aerobic to anaerobic energy systems and the higher the lactate threshold the better and longer the players can perform.

Protein is another source of energy. It‘s used for tissue maintenance, repair and growth. However protein can be used for production of glucose if glycogen stores are too low, which can occur when training is too hard and the body has inadequate rest and diet to recover. When this happen athletes eat their own muscle tissue and let their kidneys work excessively hard.

The more aerobic fitness improves, the longer it will take to reach the anaerobic threshold, the better and longer players can perform, are able to stay alert, and are coordinated. The body is better able to convert stored energy in the form of carbohydrates and fat into ATP and to more efficiently use ATP within the cells to generate energy.

Fox (1993) stated: the energy resources used in soccer are 50% anaerobic, 20% anaerobic with the produce of lactic acid and aerobic, and 30 % aerobic, it varies for each position; striker versus midfielder versus defender.

C. The difference between fast and slow muscle fibers

Humans have three types of fibers; one slow type fiber and two fast type fibers. The percentage of slow and fast type of fibers is determined primarily by genetics. Slow type takes 110 msec to reach max tension opposite fast types which use 50 msec to reach max capacity.

The slow type fiber: For slower movements, have more endurance, have a rich network of capillaries (small blood vessels), large amount of slow fibers have high lactic threshold.

Fast type 1: fast oxidative glycolytic (FOG): twitch fast, use oxygen, and thus produce energy via aerobic system, but can also produce energy via anaerobic system.

Fast type 2: Fast glycolytic (FG) fiber: Are the fastest fibers, have the greatest capacity to produce energy via the anaerobic system.


In general it means that some players are fast by genetic advance due to the fact that their body contains more fast fibers.


Training energy fitness

Physical training is a disciplined routine of specialised procedure that is performed by the players to condition the body for the purpose of improving performance. It is a slow steady process whereby players persuade their bodies to adapt to increasingly higher physical demands. That process can’t be rushed, but can be optimized and that is what coaches have to do: optimize training so the players can perform at their best.

How to train aerobic fitness

When your aerobic fitness improves, your heart rate reduces and returns faster to its resting heart rate. The heart rate is the number of beats per minute, written as bpm.

By measuring the heart rate you can monitor the players’ improvement. How? Measure them individually or as a group by counting the heart rate straight after the exercise. The neck or heart area is a good place to measure (by putting the fingers only in the neck, carotid artery or heart area).

To improve fitness, players have to do an exercise for some time, at an intensity that raises the heart rate between 60 and 85 % of the maximum heart rate (MHR); this is called the trainings zone.

The question arises: How do you know if players put enough effort in the exercise / training? Answer: By measuring the players’ heart rates straight after the exercise. Aerobic fitness is between 60 and 85 %; and in general, anaerobic is between 85 and 95% of the MHR. (Remember the anaerobic threshold is individually different when a player goes from aerobic to his anaerobic energy system).                    

The maximum possible heart rate is 220 minus the age of the player.

Question: How to find the intensity of the exercise? Answer: By using the Karvonen formula. The exercise intensity is;

(Measured heart rate minus resting heart rate), divided by: (maximum heart rate minus resting heart rate), the result is the intensity in %. For example: The heart rate after exercise is 175 bpm and the resting heart rate is 60 bpm.

The intensity is: 175-60 / (220-16)-60= 115 / 144 = 80 %

In soccer practice, the coach wants to know if players are performing within the trainings zone (65 – 85%), not the intensity but the heart rate is important. Following the Karvonen formula to convert the intensity to Target Heart Rate (TTHR) is as follows:

Using the earlier example: A person, 16 yrs old, has a resting heart rate of 60 bpm, and an intensity of 80 %; what must the heart rate be at least?                  HR = x % (max HR – 60) = result + 60= answer.

80% of ((220 - 16) – 60) = 80% of 144 = 115 + resting heart rate (60) = 175 bpm.

Conclusion; a 16 year old player to perform at 80 % must have a heart rate of 175 bpm, or 29 beats per 10 sec. If not, than the player is / was cruising and so isn’t improve his aerobic fitness, and his anaerobic threshold will stay low, meaning the player can’t accelerate anymore after 3-4 times taking a sprint.


Aerobic and anaerobic training for young players up to adolescence

Brandon (2003) made the conclusion, regarding aerobic and anaerobic training for young players as : Aerobic capacity is trainable in children and it will improve their performance, but the focus for young players in training is all on strength, speed, co-ordination, sport-specific skills, and agility because, improvements can be made through enhanced neuromuscular recruitment, laying down the skills for adulthood. As the nervous system develops, it seems that the potential for improvement in skills is the greatest. Training for tough aerobic and tough anaerobic is best when the players reach adolescence, due that the body reached its natural capacity and training responses are the greatest.

Practical Consequences

The following overview is to make it simple for the coach to see if players are within the required trainings zone, the Target Heart rate, THR), and based on a resting heart rate of 60 bpm. Max HR is maximum heart rate, the result of max HR -60 is a workable number, from here the percentage is taken, and as a result the intended heart rate is visible, the second number is beats per 10 seconds due to the experience that heart rate is taken in 10 seconds.


Max HR

Max HR-

60 RH =











146 / 24

163 / 27

170 / 28

177 / 30

184 / 31



146 / 24

163 / 27

170 / 28

177 / 30

184 / 31



144 / 24

160 / 27

168 / 28

175 / 29

182 / 30



143 / 24

160 / 27

168 / 28

175 / 29

182 / 30



142 / 24

159 / 26

167 / 28

174 / 29

181 / 30



141 / 23

159 / 26

166 / 28

173 / 29

181 / 30



140 / 23

158 / 26

165 / 28

172 / 29

179 / 30



140 / 23

158 / 26

165 / 28

172 / 29

179 / 30


The intensity of the exercise, measured by percentage of the max HR for each type of training is:

65–84 % MHR = Aerobic training: low intensity and long duration.

85–89 % MHR= Lactate threshold training: increased intensity, at top of aerobic level            

90–94 % MHR= Anaerobic training: intense, short exercises.

95–100 % MHR= Speed training: max intensity, very short duration.





How to improve aerobic fitness

The aerobic energy system utilises proteins, fats and carbohydrates (glycogen) for redeveloping ATP. This energy system can be developed with various intensity – Tempo – runs.

Continuous tempo

Long slow runs at 50-70% of MHR, places demands on muscle and liver glycogen. Response by the system is to enhance muscle and liver glycogen storage capacities and glycolytic activities.

Players have to run continuously for 20 to 30 minutes and in a pace that their heart rate is more than 130 beats per minute.

Question: How do you know if players put enough effort on the run?                          

Answer: By measuring their heart rate. Max heart beat is 220 minus their age.


i.e.      14 yrs old: 220-14 = 206; by 135 = 65 % of max maximum heart rate.

16 yrs old; 220-16 = 204; by 135 = 66 %

18 yrs old; 220-18 = 202; by 135 = 66 %

            20 yrs old; 220-20 = 200; by 135 = 67.5 %


Extensive tempo – continuous runs at 60-80 of MHR, places demands on system to cope with lactate production. Running at this level assists the elimination of lactate and the body’s ability to tolerate greater levels of lactate.

Intensive tempo – continuous runs at 80-90 % MHR, lactate levels become high as these runs are between speed endurance and special endurance. Intensive tempo runs provide the base for the development of anaerobic energy system.

Sessions to develop aerobic energy system:


  • 4 -6 times 2 – 5 minutes runs, 2- 5 minutes recovery.
  • 20 times 200m, 30 seconds recovery.
  • 10 times 400m, 60 – 90 seconds recovery.


Aerobic fitness Tests

  • 12 min run: Cooper Test

Start and see where players finish after 12 minutes, around the field, write done the distance they have achieved. Place Cooper test at the beginning of the training after the warming up and the stretching’s, measure heartbeat immediately at the end of the test.

  • 1 Mile Run (1610 m= x time around the field, depending on the field seize). Write down the time achieved. Again begin with test straight after warming up and the stretching’s, and measure heartbeat straight after the test.
  • The Beep test

The beep test is a multi stage 20 meter shuttle test for maximal function aerobic power. The test measures how good the body is in, taking in oxygen (Vo2 max) and transferring the oxygen to the working muscles. The better this system works the longer the runner can run. It is a good 'tool' to offer to groups and it is simple to measure and compare the results.

The Beep Test can be done in- or outside, and the objective is to keep up with the progressively increasing speed over a 20m course for as long as possible.

At every sound level (beep) the players must have reached one of the 20m lines. This test is also a self-assessment test. If the player can’t reach the line twice in a row, they have to remember the last number announced and write that number down behind their name on the list. The number equates to a score.                                                                                                     This test also provides data to compare the participants (Leger, L., Lambert, J. Et. al., 1982).


  • Excellent            > 95           Fair                 40 – 60         
  • Very Good    80 - 95           Poor               20 – 40         
  • Good              60 – 80          Very Poor          < 20                                             

When to be done? In the preseason period, optimal would be 3 times per week, but players could run for themselves in a non-training time during the week. It is important to test them at least twice to measure their performance.

How to train anaerobic fitness

Soccer is a game where one minute players walk; next they are in a sprint or jog back. It is a game of highs and lows, energy wise. This kind of fitness will be developed through interval training, which varies the ratio of work versus rest. It is of great importance to find the right ratios to reduce the impact of the lactic acid, by intensive exercise (on or above 85 % of their max HR).

The Alactate Energy System (without producing lactate)

ATP stored in the muscle last for approximately 2 seconds and the redeveloping of ATP from Creatine Phosphate (CP) will continue until CP stores in the muscle are exhausted, approximately 4-6 seconds, this gives us 5- 8 seconds of ATP production. To develop this system, sessions of 4-8 seconds of high intensity work, are required like:

  • 3 sets of 10x 30 m, recovery time 30 seconds.
  • 15 sets of 60m, 60 seconds recovery.
  • 20 x 20 m shuttle runs with 45 seconds recovery.


The Lactate Energy System (with the produce of lactate)

Once the CP stores are depleted the body turn to stored glucose for ATP. The breakdown of glucose or glycogen in anaerobe conditions results in the production of lactic acid and hydrogen ions. Session to develop this system:

  • 5 to 8 x 300m, fast, 45 seconds recovery
  • 8 x 300m, 3 minute’s recovery, lactate recovery training.

Once the age is known and written down, the max heartbeat and the percentages 60, 80 and 90 of their performance are clear, it’s only a matter of a quick check (overview page 11) to tell if players are performing at the correct level.

Experience tells us: three repetitions of 85% maximum effort by 14 yrs old is enough, five for very fit players of 16 yrs old and adults 6 - 8 repetitions.

If times are recorded, compare with previous recording and see if there is a progressive achievement. Without timing or heart rate, facial expressions will give an indication of players putting effort in the anaerobic drills.

Now remember that anaerobic training is based on interval training, which is: work - rest, work - rest, etc. The ratio between the two aspects is important, besides the intensity (of 85% or more).  

Holmyard et al. (1994) found that there is an 81% recovery in peak power output (PPO) with a 1 minute recovery, and a 92 % recovery of PPO in 3 minutes! Conclusion; recovery time is of importance and the longer the recovery time the more the body will recover.

Follow the above mentioned sessions or start with 1: 3; which means if the exercise duration takes 30 sec, take a rest of 1.30 minutes, and reduce the rest once players can handle the exercise. Check via one of the anaerobic tests if there is improvement in the anaerobic fitness. You will see that some players have improved, and they should have a shorter rest than the others. Push them to the limit, because cruising doesn’t improve their fitness at all.

Check their heart beat and see if they can restart when their heart rate is around 50%; (220 minus age= 220 – 14= 206 x 50% = 103 beats per minute or 17 beats per 10 seconds).

Once you know how long it takes to have a heart rate of around 50 %, next time you don’t have to measure the heart rate any more, you just take so much time active rest.

If the anaerobic test results give an improvement then a shorter rest is necessary to increase their anaerobic fitness.


Principle of overload training

To improve their fitness level players must do more than what their bodies are used to doing. The body adapts to the increased situation. Overload can be in duration, intensity or both. For example: , getting a player to run the distance in a shorter time, it is an overload in intensity, by adding 3 extra minutes to the training is an overload in duration.

Progressive overload training

In progressive overload training there is a continuously increase in intensity or duration. If the increase is too quickly, the player will be unable to adapt and may break down. If the increase is not enough the player will not achieve the optimal fitness level.


Overtraining is a result of excessive training and inadequate recovering, and can cause long term physical and mental exhaustion. Symptoms are:


-         A decline in performance,

-         An inability to train at previous levels,

-         Loss of coordination,

-         Increased muscle soreness,

-         Increased resting heart rate,

-         A loss of appetite,

-         Loss of self-esteem,

-         Depression, emotional instable,

-         And fear of competition


What to do?   à The best cure for over trained players is rest.




Anaerobic fitness tests

Shuttle run test                                                                            Make 5 lines at 4.5 m intervals up to 22.5 m. Players line up at the start line and on command, touch the first line with one foot, go back to start line; go to second line back to start line etc. Record the time for each run and calculate the total time. With fit adults give them 6 x 40 sec repetitions and see what happens, with younger ones; 14 yrs- 3x, 16 yrs- 5 x.

Shuttle run times for players













In sec.


















4 sec Hargreaves acceleration test

  • Start from a line and run as fast as in four seconds, measure the distance. Mark the distances with cones.

The minimum score is:

14 yrs – 22 m, 16 yrs - 24 m, 18 -26 m, 20 yrs - 28 m

  • This test can be used as a trainings activity; let them run the 4 sec, mark the spot and do the same in reverse: turn and see if they can finish on the start line. Remember: Work in pairs, count loud and second person can mark the spot. There are a variety of options to make this an enjoyable trainings activity.
  • Start standing backwards with heels on the line and on signal go, turn and run for 4 seconds etc. Mark distances with cones; 20, 22, 24, 26 m etc. Second person can count the number of cones past during the run.

Speed test 45 m fly

Score: 14 yrs – 7.0 sec., 16 yrs – 6.2 sec., 18 yrs - 6.0 sec

There is a diamond triangle of 45 m made, on each corner there is a flag. The top two corners will have a second flag on the line 13 m away.


The run will be done as fast as possible over the straight line. The start is from a point 13 m away from first flag than runs over a distance of 45 m towards another flag. The timer is standing at the bottom point and can see when the runner passes the first two flags, signal to start the time, until runner passes the second two flags, signal to stop the time. Measure the time.


Zig zag test

Score: 14 yrs - 7.3 for 1 run, 23.5 for 3 runs

            16 yrs - 6.9 for 1 run, 22.1 for 3 runs

            18 yrs – 6.6 for 1 run, 21.4 for 3 runs


Rectangular 4.8 by 2.4 m, five flags arranged in an X shape, start and finish is on the same spot. Start run towards middle, go to right flag go around outside flag run towards next outside flag, go to inside flag around and go to opposite outside flag.








Anaerobic fitness drills


Pass and run

Two lines 25 yards apart, with 5 yards from both lines a cone. Three players, one with the ball in the middle, two without are on the side of both lines.


1. Runner runs to the cone to receive a pass from the side player, receives the ball, pass the ball back, turns and run to other side; cone to receive another ball, pass back , turns and run back etc.

2. Runner dribbles with the ball to the cone pass the ball to the side player, who will pass back to dribbler, who will turn and dribbles to other side and pass the ball to other side player etc.

3. Runner must head the ball back to side player; turns run to other side; cone and will receive another heading etc.

4. Runner receives a throw ball, controls it passes back, turn and runs to other side to do the same.

* As with all of the variations the quality of the service must be supportive.

* Each player makes a set numbers of runs.

Through the legs

Player A with ball and player B faces player with legs set wide apart. Player A passes the ball through the legs of player B, who must turn, accelerate and stop the ball as quick as possible. Arrange a marker between 5 and 10 m away from the player A. Player A has to play the ball just hard enough that player B can stop the ball, before the marker.


Turn and go

Two player stand back to back even distance to the ball, on signal turn 90 degrees, run and touch the ball.

Turn and tackle

Two players stand back to back, one has the ball, on signal player with the ball dribbles forward, while other player turns and chases.

Backing off and turns

Two players face each other, player A runs forward causing player B to go backwards. Player A accelerate, player B turn and try to stop player A from outrunning him. (Make pairs even in speed).

Resistance running

Two players; Player A holds player B by the waist, player B tries to run forward.

Speed training

Circular and continuous relay

Groups of seven, two players at the start, other players around the field on fixed start points. At start signal first player run towards next point and then next player is running to next point until all players are back at their starting point.


Shuttle relay 1

Two flags 27 m apart, teams of four, batten will be given to next player in line; player A gives it to B after he did full lap etc. time each team.


Pressure training

Three players stand in a triangle with a ball each. One player stands in the middle. Each server throws the ball in turn, middle player has to receive and pass, heading back to thrower. Speed depends on the middle player how fast he can pass the ball back to thrower.

Agility training

Footwork catcher

Arrange four players in a square of 9 x 9 m, one player is the catcher and stands outside the square. On signal outside player runs into the square and timer will time how long it will take to touch all four players inside the square. Once touched players have to stand still.


Skill Circuits

Plan a series of soccer skills in a sequence and let the players take turns competing against each other, or against the clock.

As a variation, let them start from one spot further and see if one can catch the one in front.


*In any of the above mentioned drills, variations are possible and you can make your own drill as long as it is: short, fast and players can repeat it several times.

  1. Muscular fitness: Flexibility

What is flexibility?

Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen.

Why is it so important? What kind of stretches are there? What are the most common stretches used in soccer? When do we stretch?

These questions will be answered in the following description.

Before we stretch, here are the rules of stretching:

1. Before we stretch, do an aerobic warm up.

2. Stretch before every work out.

3. Stretch daily.

4. Stretch within 10 minutes after every workout.

5. Stretch to a mild tension, but not to pain.

6. Breath normally during stretches.

7. Move into each stretch on both sides.

8. Repeat the stretch

9. Perform all one side stretches on both sides.

10. Never bounce!


What is stretching?

Stretching is to pull the muscle gradually to the full length, to the point of mild tension and keep it in that position for at least 20 seconds before moving back to the original position. Why 20 seconds at least? To hold a stretch for 20 - 30 seconds permanently affects change in tissue length.




The purpose of stretching

The whole point of stretching is getting your muscles accustomed to moving through a specific range of motion, so if the muscle is not used to going that far, you may end up with an injury. In short stretching is to avoid injury.


How to do stretches?

Every muscle is different in their movement, stretching is to follow the movement of that particular muscle until it can’t go further, don’t overdo it!! If you stretch properly before and after a trainings session, you will decrease your chances of serious injury and avoid soreness and pain.

If you stretch the muscle and tendons to the point of pain, the body will react with a defence mechanism called: The Stretch Reflex. This reflex protest protects the muscle and tendons by contracting them, thereby preventing them from being stretch beyond their limits. If you try to force your body beyond this fail- safe point, you run the risk damaging muscle tissues, tendons and ligaments.

When to do stretches

Stretching is part of the warming up. A good warming up raises your heart rate, increases your breathing, which increase your blood flow, and as a result increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the working muscle. The warming up duration is 5 -1 0 minutes of aerobic exercise. Breathing is a bit deeper, but not to the point where you are totally out of breath. You feel warm; maybe even break a light sweat. Now you are ready for stretching.

Common mistakes in Stretching


Bouncing will not help and could do more damage as you try to push too far beyond the stretch reflex.


Not holding the stretch long enough

If you do not hold the stretch long enough, you may start a habit of rushing through your stretch and the effect of getting the muscle accustomed to moving through a specific range of motion will not be achieved.


Stretch too hard

Stretching takes patience and accuracy. Movement must be fluid and gentle. Do not throw your body into a stretch or rush through it.

Forgetting form and function

Think about which muscles you use in your sport. A stretch routine for a soccer player is not the same as for a weightlifter.

Types of stretchings

Stretches are either dynamic (meaning they involve motion) or static (meaning they don’t involve motion).


1. Ballistic stretching

Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. This is stretching, using the stretched muscles as a spring which pulls you out of the stretched position. (E.g. bouncing down repeatedly, to touch your toes.) This type of stretching is not considered useful and can lead to injury. It does not allow your muscles to adjust to, and relax in, the stretched position. It may instead cause them to tighten up by repeatedly activating the stretch reflex.


2. Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed of movement, or both. Dynamic stretching consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently!) to the limits of your range of motion. In dynamic stretches, there are no bounces or "jerky" movements. An example of dynamic stretching would be slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists.

Dynamic stretching improves dynamic flexibility and is quite useful as part of your warm-up for an active or aerobic workout (such as in soccer).


3. Active stretching

Active stretching is one where you assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles (the active muscle). For example; bring your leg up high and then holding it there without anything (other than your leg muscles themselves) to keep the leg in that extended position. The tension of the agonists in an active stretch helps to relax the muscles being stretched (the antagonists, opposite muscle) by reciprocal inhibition.



4.Passive stretching

Passive stretching is a technique in which you are relaxed and make no contribution to the range of motion. Instead, an external force is created by an outside person or apparatus, either manually or mechanically. For example, bringing your leg up high and then holding it there with your hand. The split is another example of a passive stretch (in this case the floor is the "apparatus" that you use to maintain your extended position).


5. Static stretching

Static stretching involves holding a position. That is, you stretch to the farthest point and hold the stretch.


6. Isometric stretching

Isometric stretching is a type of static stretching (meaning it does not use motion) which involves the resistance of muscle groups through isometric contractions (iso = equal, metric = distance) of the stretched muscles.

The most common ways to provide the needed resistance for an isometric stretch are to apply resistance manually to one's own limbs, to have a partner apply the resistance, or to use an apparatus such as a wall (or the floor) to provide resistance. An example of using a partner to provide resistance is; having a partner hold your leg up high (and keep it there) while you attempt to force your leg back down to the ground. Another example is using the wall to provide resistance would be the well-known "push-the-wall" calf-stretch where you are actively attempting to move the wall (even though you know you can't). Isometric stretching is not recommended for children and adolescents whose bones are still growing. These people are usually already flexible enough that the strong stretches produced by the isometric contraction have a much higher risk of damaging tendons and connective tissue.


7. PNF stretching

PNF stretching is currently the fastest and most effective way known to increase static-passive flexibility. PNF is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It is not really a type of stretching but is a technique of combining passive stretching and isometric stretching in order to achieve maximum static flexibility. Like isometric stretching, PNF stretching is also not recommended for children and people whose bones are still growing, for the same reasons as isometric stretchings.

Practical consequences

The stretching phase of your warm up should consist of two parts:

  • Static stretching, as described before in number 2.
  • Dynamic stretching, as described before in number 5.

Important is that static stretches are performed before any dynamic stretches in your warm-up. Why? Dynamic stretching can often result in overstretching, which damages the muscles, while performing static stretches first will help reduce this risk of injury.


In soccer the following muscles are used most:

Quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, inner tight muscles, Iliotibialis, hip and psoas, lower back, buttock muscles, shoulder, and achilles tendon.

Obviously the most used stretching’s for soccer players are:


  1. Standing quad stretch

The quadriceps’s (quads) make up a group of muscles along the front of the thigh. These muscles are the powerful muscles used in sprinting and kicking and often prone to fatigue and cramping. Here is a simple stretch you can do while standing.



  1. Standing calf stretch

The gastrocnemius muscle runs along the back of your lower leg and in constant use while running the soccer field.




  1. Seated groin and inner tight stretch

This simple stretch, sometimes called the                      butterfly stretch,

It is a great stretch for soccer players.



  1. Iliotibial stretch

The iliotibial band is a tough group of fibers that runs

along the outside of the thigh and stabilizes the joints.

It may become irritated from overuse.







  1. Hip flexors and psoas stretch

The hip flexors are a group of muscles that

bring the legs up toward the trunk and help

generate a powerful soccer kick.





  1. Hip and lower back stretch

This simple stretch opens the hips as it                    

stretches the muscles of the hips,

groin and lower back.










  1. Lying piriformis (buttock) stretch

There are many different ways to stretch                

the piriformis muscle in the glutes (buttock).




  1. Simple shoulder stretch

This basic shoulder stretch can help open the chest

and loosen tight shoulders before playing soccer.








  1. Hamstrings stretch

The hamstrings need to be strong and loose to endure the demands of running and

Kicking. This stretch can help maintain length in the hamstrings.





  1. Achilles tendon, heel stretch

           The Achilles tendon may be prone to injury if tight,          

         weak or fatigued. Use this stretch to keep it loose.


  1. Hip adductors stretch

Stretches the tensor fasciae latae, gluteus medius and piriformis.


  1. Nutrition

What is it? And Why is it so important?

Nutrition is the intake of food (WHO), and necessary for health and growth.

The body uses energy and needs to be refilled with (fuel) energy, in other words, food. What kind of food is necessary to provide the essentials to: move, develop growth and repair body tissue. The essential nutrients are: carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals and fibers. The two most important facts are energy provision and fluid replacement. Diminished storage of glycogen, (coming from, derived from carbohydrates), will result in a significant reduced performance: particularly in the second half of the game. Low levels of glycogen can also result in a lower ability to make decisions, due to blood glucose for metabolism.


Carbohydrates are the provider of essential energy; it is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver, and as glucose in the blood. When doing an exercise, with a high intensity, carbohydrates are the major suppliers of energy. Due to the fact the body has only a limited storage capacity; we need to refill carbohydrates on a daily base.

Carbohydrates are dividing into simple or complex types. The complex type is divided into digestible and indigestible.

The simple carbohydrate include sugars, glucose, dextrose, fructose and are in fruits, vegetables, candy and sport beverages. Simple carbohydrates are converted to glucose for energy.

Digestible complex carbohydrates are found in potatoes, pasta, bread, cereal and beans. Indigestible complex carbohydrates are found in cereals, fruit and vegetables, and they provide fibers in the diet.

Complex carbohydrates contain more nutrients than the simple type.

The glycemic index (GI) is according to Jenkins,Wolever, Taylor, et al. (1981).; foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream, tend to have a high GI, and causes a more rapid rise in blood glucose levels and is therefore appropriate to eat on the game day, while foods with carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, tend to have a low GI, and is therefore more suitable for energy recovery after exercise. Glycemic means the presence of glucose in the blood.

Low and moderate glycemic foods such as spaghetti, yoghurt and bananas are best to eat as pre-day game food, where high glycemic food, such as potatoes and muffins are better to eat during or after energetic exercise to refuel the body- post game food.

What is hi, moderate and low GI of food? Hi is more than 85, moderate is 60-85 and low is lower than 60.

In general it means: The more intensive the training is, the more carbohydrates are needed and have to be consumed, but use carbohydrates with a low GI for refuelling and with a high GI for on the game day itself.

Where do we find low GI carbohydrates?

Low GI carbohydrates are use full, due to the fact that they release their energy over a longer period and examples are: Apples, dried apricots, beans, cherries, grapefruit, lentils, milk, fresh peaches, peanuts, plums, spaghetti, tomato soup and yogurt. (All examples are pre-day game food).

Moderate GI carbohydrates are:

Banana, basmati rice, grapefruit juice, grapes, ice cream-low fat, kiwi fruit, mixed grain bread, oranges, pita bread, popcorn, sweet corn, and sweet potatoes.

High GI carbohydrates are:

Brown rice, carrots, cheese pizza, corn bran cereal, corn chips, corn flakes, couscous, croissant, grape nuts, honey /syrups, ice cream, muffins, potatoes, raisins, rice cakes, rice Kris pies, soft drinks, sport drinks, waffles, watermelon, and white bread. (All examples are game day food).

On a daily base 50 – 65 % of the food intake should be carbohydrates. A carbohydrate snack, 60 minutes (sports drink or fruit juice) before training is advised and can be a boost to the storage.

A meal will take three hours to digest, Pre-training and pregame carbohydrate intake is for example: pasta, baked potatoes, bread (with jam), rice or cereals.

Carbohydrate consumed the day before the exercise is converted into glycogen and stored in the muscles and in the liver ready to be used. Carbohydrate consumed on the day of exercise is a supplement to the storage.


Protein provides 5 – 10% of the needed energy. Protein is responsible for building blocks for muscles; new tissues and repairing tissues. (Note: You build strength not by eating protein, but through resistance training). Protein makes a significant contribution to make fast decisions and general alertness. Protein is also important in the recovery process along carbohydrate. When protein is not been replaced after an exercise or training, or game then it result in a noticeable, loss in muscle strength.

Protein is in: Meat, poultry, milk, fish, eggs, baked beans, yoghurt, bread, peanut butter, rice, corn tortillas and vegetables.


Fat provides the most concentrated energy supply. Fat is needed to provide the necessary fatty acids for the body to function efficient. Fat help to maintain body temperature, protection, builds up body tissue, is storage for vitamins, and is the major energy supplier when the glycogen storage is empty.

Fat is in: butter, cheese, milk, fried food, meats and should be 30% of the daily food intake. The fatty acids are in: oily fish, walnuts, sweet potatoes and sunflower seeds. Obviously an overload of fat intake will increase weight and has a direct consequence in the performance.




Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are not a source of energy, but essential for growth and cell formation, and help in the water regulation of our body. The body can’t produce them; therefore we have to eat them in our daily food.

Vitamins are in: fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs and dairy products


Fibers are essentially carbohydrates and are found solely in plants. It is found in the walls of the plant's cells and is the only part of the plant that cannot be digested by the human body.

Fibre passes through the body virtually unchanged along with other digested food until it arrives at the large intestine. What happens next depends on which type of fibre is present; Insoluble fibre or soluble fibre.

Sources of insoluble and soluble fibres

Insoluble fibres can be found in foods such as bran, wholemeal flour and breads, brown rice, whole grain cereals, vegetables, edible peels of fruit, nuts and seeds. Soluble fibres are in fruits, vegetables, lentils, peas, beans, oats, barley, oatmeal, potatoes, dried fruit, soya milk and soya products.

The function of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly.


When exercising the body produces heat, and by releasing sweat the body cools down. Before and during practice players should drink plenty of fluid.

Prior to exercise players need to drink a lot a fluid, if not overhydrated (hyper-hydrated). Physiological and cerebral functions are going to reduce if not well hydrated. As soon as possible players should replace the fluid they lost in or during the game.

When dehydration happens the body temperature will rise, and heart rate can increase and severe dehydration can be fatal, it is therefore that regular fluid intake is necessary during training. A urine colour chart is a tool that will make players aware that their body needs fluids, in general a very light colour yellow means good hydration, a medium yellow to dark yellow / brown means: ALARM: your body needs to consume fluid straight away!

Water is essential for the body's functioning, but players get an advantage if their drink contains carbohydrate mixture, as in sport drinks: electrolytes, sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Sports drink

You can make your own sport drink by mixing: 0.8 litre of water, with 0.2 litre of fruit juice and add 1-1.5 gram salt.


Practical consequences

-         Carbohydrate intake is essential; learn to know the food that contains  carbohydrates.


-         Food the day before the game is: spaghetti, yoghurt and bananas.


-         Eat carbohydrates the day before the training or game and boost this up by eating a carbohydrate snack on the day 60 to 30 minutes before the training or game.


-         Refill the carbohydrate storage a.s.a.p. after the game by eating; high complex carbohydrate food: potatoes, popcorn and muffins.


-   Eat five portions a day of fruit and vegetables.

-   Eat fish twice a week.

-  Avoid excessive amounts of fatty food.

- Drink lots of fluid before and during the training or game.

-         Effective recovery requires rest.


-         Your daily food plate should consist of: 50-65 % carbohydrate, 25–30 % fat and 15-20 % protein.



Title: Best stretching Exercises for Soccer Retrieved January, 25, 2013 from


Davis, B. et al. (2000) The Interrelationship of the energy system and their threshold points [Diagram]. In: Physical Education and the Study of Sport. UK: Harcourt p.139

Denadal, B.S and Higino, W.P. (2004) Effect of the passive recovery period on the lactate minimum speed in sprinters and endurance runners. J Sci Med Sport, 7 (4), p. 488-96

Fox, E.L. et al. (1993). The Physiological Basis for Exercise and Sport. 5th ed. Madison: Brown & Benchmark

Hargreaves, A., & Bate, R. (2010). Skills & Strategies for Coaching Soccer. Human Kinetics. pp.343 - 364

Holmyard, D.J. et al. (1994) Effect of recovery on performance during multiple treadmill sprints. London: E&FN Spon

Jenkins DJ, Wolever TM, Taylor RH, et al. (March 1981). Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 34 (3): 362–6.

Title: Karvonen method. Retrieved January, 25, 2013 from

Leger, L., A. and Lambert, J. (1982). A maximal multistage 20m shuttle run test to predict VO2 max. European Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol.49, p1-5.

Matthews, D. et al. (1971) The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletics. Philadelphia: Saunders

Martens, R. (2004). Successful Coaching. Human Kinetics. pp. 270 - 272, 291 - 297, 339.

Title: Stretchings and Flexibility. Retrieved January, 25, 2013 from httHYPERLINK ""p://

Walmsley, A. (2003). The Think Fit Toolkit. Book A. User Friendly Resource Enterprises LTD. 18.

Title: What is Fiber? Retrieved January, 25, 2013 from

Title: What is Fibre? Retrieved January, 25, 2013 from

Title: What is nutrition? Retrieved January 25, 2013 from

New Zealand Football-Latest News

Photo Gallery

There are currently no photos to display