Many years ago, when I first created FineSoccer.com I described one of my favorite fitness activities. It’s a combination of breakaways, sprints, defending and goalkeeping and over 10 years later it’s still one of the best conditioning activities I know.
This activity requires two full sized goals, a keeper in each goal and 4-6 players to the right side of each goal. The size of the field can vary as the further the goals are from each other the greater the distance of each run but the closer they are together the more runs each player will get in a given time period. I have done this with goals as close as 35 yards apart and as far apart as 120 yards. In this example we are going to go with the goals 60 yards apart.
This is a breakaway activity with a defender chasing. To start, one player from the opposite line starts beside the first player. In this diagram, one yellow player starts by the first black player. Everyone, other than this one player, starts with a ball. When the coach says “go” the first black player starts dribbling at full speed toward the other goal. The yellow player has a 3 second “delay” and then starts chasing.
The player with the ball is trying to score on a breakaway so when they start approaching the 18 the keeper is approaching.
The attacker will try to get close to the keeper and then try to slot the ball past the keeper into the corner of the goal. The keeper is trying to read the attacker and take the ball on the last touch. The defender is trying to catch up and poke the ball away. If the keeper feels the defender is going to catch the attacker the keeper will stay back.
As soon as the shot gets hit, the first person in the opposite line takes off attacking the far goal. The player who just shot the ball must sprint and touch either goal post and then sprint to defend the new attacker.
This activity goes on continuously for 8 minutes at full speed. Using the 60 yard field as the example, the attacker sprints 60 yards at full speed (most while dribbling) and then as soon as they shoot, they have to sprint another 60 yards to defend. As long as you don’t have too many players in a line this is a wonderful fitness activity while forcing the players to be involved with a game related activity.
As a bonus, it’s fun to watch how many players will shoot and then forget to get back defensively. After a few times of “reminding them” the players will remember and this is a good reinforcers for transition from attack to defense.
Have a great day!