Dawn Scott, the fitness coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, has written a great article on soccer fitness.
The key points are:
- The two key aspects of soccer fitness are speed and endurance.
- There is a “new term called ‘repeated sprint ability,’ or RSA, which refers to speed endurance, or how you repeatedly sprint in a game. You don’t run at one pace for 90 minutes in a game. Rather, you constantly sprint and recover, or run at different speeds and recover. Players want to be able to sprint with the same qualities in the 90th minute as they do in the first minute. RSA is a measure of this.”
- “Strength is the basis to every other aspect of fitness. If you don’t have strength, you can have a weakness when you try to develop any other type of fitness.“
- “One of the things with females that research has shown is that you tend to have a higher incidence of ACL injury in female players. With that in mind, I would make sure that female players are doing appropriate strength programs, especially strengthening the areas around the knees, to try to offset the chance of injuries like that.”
- “At the younger ages I would be doing specific sessions focused on developing agility, balance, and coordination. It doesn’t have to be intense but it’s programming the body to move in a certain way and building up basic strength using body weight, fun games and so on. You’re doing age appropriate work at those ages and then as they get older you can develop those programs and add in other components of fitness that are appropriate.”
- Recovery strategies are critical. Nutrition, hydration, sleep, and ice baths are important