If You Need To Condition Without the Ball

Ideally we would like to do all fitness with a ball but the reality is there are times when pure running is helpful. Some players (and teams) simply are not capable of pushing themselves all out in soccer related activities and for those players it’s best to use activities where using fitness specific running is valuable.

In this activity you can vary the distances. I have done this with distances as short as 20 yards and as long as 120 yards. The thing I like about this activity is the faster the players run, the less distance they have to sprint. This is their incentive to really push themselves..

In the example below, we are going to use half a field for the distance. We could use a cone at each end but instead will use the goal for one end and the center circle for the other. Players start in two lines side by side

The players start by jogging around the around.

The “traditional way” to do this is the coach yells “go” and the back 2 people sprint to the front.


While this is certainly one way to do it, it’s NOT the way I do it. I go the other way so that the first 2 people in line sprint ahead and must go all the way around the field and then catch the group from the back. Keep in mind the group is jogging around the field the entire time so the slower the sprint the further the sprinters have to run to catch up to the group. The faster the sprint, the quicker they catch up to the group and the less they have to sprint. The faster the sprint the more time to rest up (which jogging) as well.

The coach is going to want to spread out the sprints so when the first 2 are ⅓ of the way done he might have the second 2 start. If the coach isn’t careful, everyone will be sprinting and no one jogging and at that point there isn’t a jogging group to sprint to.

The coach should determine ahead of time how many sprints each player should make. Using the example of the half field, it’s important to keep in mind it’s close to 180 yards of sprinting per sprint (60 yards in each direction plus 8 yards around the goal and 20 yards around the center circle plus the distance the group has jogged). If you go full field it’s 256 yards of sprinting plus the distance the group has jogged.

This is a very tiring and very effective way to work on endurance, sprinting and competitiveness (each sprint could be a race between the two runners as well as trying to catch the group ahead)

Have a great day!


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