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How to Improve Stamina for Football

Good stamina build-up in football can help improve your endurance. It also gives you the strength to fine-tune your skills. With good stamina for football, you can keep going, even when the game gets intense.

When you live, breathe and practice football, these exercises to improve stamina will help you improve your football skills. Below is a guide on how to improve stamina for football players.

But first, let’s discuss what we mean when we say stamina and endurance?

What Are Stamina and Endurance?

What exactly are stamina and endurance and why can some players run for longer than others?

Football is an intense game, and you will see professional football players staying in the field for 90+ minutes of the game. That takes serious football endurance training sessions. One of the main goals of football training is to build endurance and stamina.

Stamina and endurance are terms used interchangeably in football. Football training sessions will try to build on both. However, they are slightly different.

Stamina is the amount of time that your muscles can perform specific actions at maximum capacity. On the other hand, endurance is the maximum time your muscles can perform a particular activity.

When you notice some football players running longer than others, they have a higher endurance and stamina build-up. These players train their muscles to consume oxygen conservatively but still perform at their best.

Mastery of these skills takes a lot of football endurance drills and stamina workouts. Keep reading to find out how you can get there as well.

Why Is Stamina Important in Football?

Stamina is important because football is a demanding sport. You have to be on your feet and on the move for more than 90 minutes of the game.

So you have to be in your best physical condition to compete in the entire stretch of the football game. Sometimes, you will play against opponents who seem to be everywhere.

To stand a chance to win in such games, you can agree that stamina is a key player. Examples of what good football stamina workouts can do for you include:

  • Covering more space in the field, thus making it difficult for your opponents to score.
  • Improving the team’s possession of the ball by winning the 50/50 balls.
  • Thinking clearly and making meaningful decisions, even in the middle of an intense game.
  • Taking advantage of the tired opponents and using that opportunity to score.
  • Fatigue increases a player’s vulnerability to injuries.

Stamina Drills for Football

To improve football skills, you have to build your stamina. Drill exercises for improving your stamina in football include:

High-Intensity Drills 

Soccer requires excellent levels of fitness, including strong aerobic and anaerobic systems. To increase anaerobic fitness, you must complete high-intensity exercise drills. For instance, you’ll need these for a successful counterattack. Here are 4 common high-intensity football drills:

1. Short Interval Sprints 

Short interval sprints are training sessions where you alternate between bursts of anaerobic loads in a short period, followed by longer recovery periods. An example is combining a quick 30-second sprint with a 4.5-minute mid-tempo jog during training. Short-interval sprints are particularly important for strikers and wingers. 

2. Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are uphill bursts that strengthen cardiovascular stamina and leg strength. These sprints demand maximal effort on inclines, which pushes you to your limits for improved performance and endurance.

3. Beep Test

The beep test is a standardized aerobic fitness test with timed intervals and increasing intensity. It measures cardiovascular endurance and agility, both crucial for assessing your fitness levels. 

4. Shuttle Runs

Shuttle runs are agility drills requiring rapid changes in direction over short distances. These runs enhance lateral movement, speed, and anaerobic capacity—all vital for improving your performance. 

Endurance-Focused Drills

Soccer is one of the most endurance-demanding sports in the world. You must cover vast distances, while maintaining high-quality techniques, for more than 90 minutes. Here are 2 essential endurance-focused football drills. 

1. Fartlek Training 

Fartlek training, a Swedish term meaning “speed play”, is a type of interval training that combines continuous running with altering speed intervals. It combines different heart rate zones, tapping into aerobic and anaerobic systems, to build your fitness for a soccer match. 

2. Long Distance Runs

Long-distance running involves running over distances at a steady, moderate pace, typically from 5 kilometers to marathons and beyond. Soccer players run 7 to 11 kilometers every match, meaning long-distance runs are critical for elite performance. Midfielders often run the most distance—up to 12km—so long-distance runs are integral. 

Football-Specific Stamina Drills 

Although it’s important to do endurance-focused drills, it’s important these drills must be football-specific. Here are 4 football specific drills to focus on:

1. Football Cardio Conditioning Workouts 

Cardio for football includes rope jumping, rowing, cycling, swimming, and running. For the exercise to be effective, you should complete 30-50 minutes daily to increase stamina. You should also cross-train to build balanced fitness levels. 

2. Football Strength Training 

Strength improves football players’ performance. By building your strength, you can do short-distance sprints, change directions, jump actions, and accelerate better in the field, which is particularly important for midfielders. 

3. Ball & Cone Drills

Ball & cone drills are critical aspects of soccer training. The drills include setting up cones to make patterns that players must navigate while controlling the ball. Popular ball and cone drills include slalom drills and cone squares. 

4. Small-Sided Games

Small-sided games are a dynamic and adaptable soccer training tool. The games develop your tactical abilities, technical skills, and physical conditioning by intensifying the action compared to traditional full-sized games.

How to Improve Your Running Technique

You have to run from one end of the field to the other in a football match, multiple times. To do so, you need to build your running techniques for efficiency. One popular technique to help includes practicing a proper breathing technique for running:

Proper breathing technique for running

Learning to control your breath when running plays a crucial role when you want to improve your football skills. As a beginner, you start by running at speeds where you are comfortable breathing.

As you progress, you will have to adjust how you breathe to accommodate more oxygen intake for your muscles.

Eat, Sleep, Football, Repeat – The Football Lifestyle

You can only achieve your dream of playing professional football when you also take care of your body. That means you should rest when needed and always eat healthy, balanced meals.

Football nutrition

Proper nutrition is a fundamental part of football. It provides your body with the energy it needs to push through the game and adds to your effectiveness on the field.

Eating properly maximizes training gains. In addition, it reduces the risk of premature fatigue. Also, what you eat before, during, and after training is different. Get to understand the different diets and stick to a healthy diet plan.

Drink & stay hydrated

Dehydration can reduce your endurance. You must hydrate before and during the training sessions. Be sure to drink plenty a few hours before training.

Rest and recovery

When your body works for you, you should show appreciation. In this case, gratitude comes in the form of rest and sleep.

After a day of training and learning how to improve at football, you should allocate enough rest time. Rest gives your gains time to manifest. Football players should rest for at least 2 days and get at least 7 hours of sleep before their game.

Remember, you can only be great in the field when your body is in its best condition. So, ensure you get enough sleep before a game, and you will see the results in your improved stamina.

GO PRO: Use a Football Tracker to Improve Your Stamina

Nothing beats a good training session than having data to look back into and analyse. If you want an effective method of how to build stamina for football, embracing new and efficient technology has to be your first step.

With software and kits like Playermaker, you can review your performance after a training session. The wearable sensors from both feet collect data on the player’s speeds, balance, work rate, and footwork. Coaches and players can then check and take notes on where to improve.

Players using Playermaker can view their training progress immediately after each  session. With this information, they can analyse their physical and technical statistics in the field.

Once players get feedback on their performance, they can focus on areas to improve, whether it should be speed  or cardio workouts to improve their performance.

The data from these football trackers enables you to be better informed and set a direction for your training. Over time, with valuable information and focus, it will have a positive impact on your gameplay.

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