Developing Anaerobic Fitness Using Sprints

By Jebreel Bubtana

This exercise will work on the anaerobic fitness of your players in a fun and competitive environment. As soccer involves a lot of short sprints, this exercise will focus on this.

Set up the field as shown below with two cones 8 yards apart. You can set up multiple areas so that your whole team can work on this, with two players per area facing each other in the middle between the two cones (figure 1).

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The players will give themselves a letter, A or B. A’s will start by racing to either cone (figure 2).

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B races to that cone to try and get there before A.

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Whichever player gets to the cone first, earns a point. Player A will take the lead 5 times and then the players switch roles, B will now lead and try to get to one of the cones while A tries to beat B to that cone. The short sprints will work on your player’s anaerobic fitness, which is something that you should be looking to develop in your players, as the real game involves many short sprints. It will also work on your player’s reaction time to get to the cone first, just as in a game; players need to react quickly to get to the ball before the opposition.

After they have completed 10 in total, they must jog to the furthest sideline on the field and back, this will give their bodies a chance to recover from the sprints.

You could develop this into a ladder competition so that your players keep facing different teammates in their sprints.

Coaching Points:

  • Players must be on their toes, legs shoulder width apart and knees bent
  • Shift all body weight to right leg and push off that leg to sprint to the left
  • Shift all body weight to the left and push off that leg to sprint to the right
  • To fake your opponent, take a step one way and drop shoulder before sprinting in the opposite direction

Progression:

In order to progress the exercise, it is essentially the same but now each player has a ball at their feet (figure 4).

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Player A takes the lead and sprints to one of the cones with the ball.  Player B tries to beat player A to that cones, also with the ball at their feet.

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Again, after 10 have been completed in total, the players must perform a light jog to the furthest sideline on the field and back. This will act as the recovery that their body needs after so many sprints.

Just as sprinting without the ball over short distances is common in a real game, short bursts of speed with the ball are required quite often with the ball in order to get away from the opposition, making this progression quite relevant.

Coaching Points:

  • Players on their toes, legs shoulder width apart and knees bent
  • Quick footwork
  • If trying to fake an opponent, take a step one way and drop shoulder before pushing the ball in the opposite direction and accelerating away

You can have your team perform the exercise with and without the ball two or three times and maybe even develop it into a ladder competition to have your players working hard in a fun environment.

Jebreel Bubtana
Director of Marketing at BRASA Brazilian Soccer Academy
NSCAA Advanced National Diploma
NSCAA Director of Coaching Diploma
Follow me on Twitter @jib1989

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