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How to Incorporate Energy System Development in Your Soccer Training
by Dan Berman
Sports Performance Director
Velocity Sports Performance, Anaheim
Soccer is a unique sport that challenges athletes' bodies in many different ways. Its quick explosive movements followed by bouts of active rest challenges the player's aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Neglecting either system would result in decreased performance as well as increased risk of injury. When designing a conditioning program for soccer, we must look at the unique demands placed upon the player, and then design the program appropriately.
Aerobic Energy System - This system is used when oxygen is present in the muscles, the body turns to this system when exercise is performed at a low intensity and for longer durations. Specific soccer examples of an exercise using this system would be; an easy jog as one would in returning to their position after change of possession, after a goal kick.or marking a player off the ball.
Anaerobic Energy System - This system is used when oxygen is not present is the muscles that are performing the task; these movements consist of short bursts of quick explosive movements. Specific soccer examples of exercises using this system would be; 1 v. 1, 50/50 balls, recovering from a breakaway, and any type of short sprint during the game.
Soccer, compared to most team sports, is unique in that game is played with 45 minute running halves with very little true stoppage of play. In contrast to sports such as football where plays last an average of six seconds, followed by 45 seconds of huddle, or baseball that may have several minutes between bouts of exertions.
Upon first examination, when designing a conditioning program for soccer players, one might misunderstand the demands of a 90-minute game. One error may be to prescribe 90-minute runs because it seems intuitive that if the players need to play 90 minutes, they're going to need them to be able to perform 90 minutes of running. In this example of a 90-minute run, you would be working primarily in the aerobic system, thus ignoring soccer's unique
intermittent play, as well as hindering the explosive and power outputs (anaerobic ESD) of your players. It's the player's ability to recover from repeated high intensity efforts and not maintaining low energy expenditures that defines a well conditioned soccer player.
An ideal time to build the player's aerobic base would be during the off-season. Once an aerobic base is achieved, it can be maintained through recovery from anaerobic work. Increasing one's work capacity can be done by short bursts of exercises, followed by short amounts of rest, and then continuing that cycle for an allotted time. This anaerobic work should be done closer to the start of the season.
Below are examples of when and how to execute proper energy system development:
Build an aerobic base, early on: practice one, if possible. Once the aerobic base is achieved, it can be maintained through recovery from anaerobic work.
Condition at end of practice to ensure quality of both conditioning and technical aspects of soccer practice
100-yard run in under 17 seconds, recover for 35 seconds and repeat up to 10 times. This should be done about once a week.
40-yard shuttle run: Run with a hundred percent effort 20 yards and back, recover 20 seconds and repeat up to 10 times,. This should be done about twice a week.
30-second jump test: Jump side to side repeatedly on both legs over a twelve inch hurdle or cone for 30 seconds. Recover for 2 minutes, repeat up to five times, this should be done twice a week.
About Velocity Sports Performance:
Velocity Sports Performance is a national network of training centers where athletes of all sports, ages and skill levels go to improve their core athletic skills - speed, power and agility. Athletes train in small groups with degreed and certified performance coaches. Velocity Sports Performance is the Official Performance Training Partner of Cal South Soccer. Players who train with Velocity Sports Performance can expect to get to the ball quicker, cover
more of the field faster, increase their shot power and reduce their chances of injury. Velocity Sports Performance has training centers throughout Southern California including Irvine, Redondo Beach, Anaheim, Carlsbad, San Diego, West LA and Santa Clarita.