Develop your soccer skills and improve your fitness by playing games with your friends.
Summer training shouldn't consist solely of traditional weight room workouts. Instead, gather a group of friends and play some games. Here are two games that not only provide a fun break from your regular routine, but can also help you achieve your soccer performance goals.
Aerobic conditioning, agility, reaction and teamwork
6 or more
2 soccer balls (use different colors or styles), jerseys and a stopwatch
The game is similar to "keep away." The object is to score points by hitting one ball with another.
• Form two teams. One team controls the ball and the other attempts to stop it or steal it.
• At the whistle (or "go" signal), a five-minute clock starts and the ball is put in play. The team in control attempts to move the ball around the field without having it stolen by the opposing team.
• After a short time, someone throws the second ball into play.
• The team in control attempts to strike the second ball with the one already in play.
• Players must stay at least six feet away from the second ball.
• A point is scored when the ball is hit. The ball is then removed from the field, to be thrown in again later.
• The team with the most points wins.
Agility, manipulative skills, reaction time and speed
8 or more
1 Frisbee and multiple cones/markers (optional)
The rules are similar to football. However, physical contact is limited, and the receiving athlete's role is slightly modified.
• Form two teams and set up on different sides of the field. One team starts on offense and the other on defense.
• The game starts when a designated athlete on the defensive team puts the Frisbee into play by throwing it to the offensive team's side of the field.
• When an athlete on the offensive team catches or picks up the Frisbee, he or she must remain stationary and throw it to a moving teammate. This is repeated until the Frisbee is moved down the field and across the other team's goal line—or intercepted by the other team.
• A point is scored each time an athlete catches the Frisbee in the other team's end zone.
• When a throw is intercepted, or after a point is scored, the defensive team goes on offense.
• Use a ball instead of a Frisbee.
More Performance-Improvement Games
Find more enjoyable games to supplement your traditional sports training at the following links. Most of them can be adapted to deliver a total soccer training session.
Source: Dawes, Jay, and Chris Mooney. 101 games and Drills for Conditioning Athletes. Monterey, Calif.: Coaches Choice, 2006.
Mark Roozen, STACK's senior content editor, has been in the strength, conditioning and performance field for more than 28 years. He holds a Master degree in exercise physiology and several certifications as a strength and conditioning coach, including CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT and FNSCA.
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