• Cobra Health and Fitness


Football Fitness Training

Contrary to popular belief fitness within Football is not just the ability to be able to run for extended periods of time!!! We find that many sports coaches in all sports whilst having the necessary qualifications to coach the sport and to teach the rules, don’t have the necessary skills or knowledge to be able to deliver and develop the all-round athleticism needed to be able to increase performance within the sport. With this in mind the most successful athletes end up being those that seek to develop these key areas on their own away from the sports team. This isn’t the fault of the coach, this is often a failing of the sport’s governing bodies and their delivery of the coaching courses.


So, what should your overall training goals be?

In order to develop yourself as an athlete you need to aim to:


  • Increase your Endurance
  • Maximise Sprint Speed
  • Increase explosiveness
  • Improve your change of direction
  • Maximise Core stability
  • Increase overall strength


Why should these points be a focus of your training, and what do they entail?


  1. Endurance

General running endurance is important as it allows us to be able to effectively travel around the pitch for 90+ mins.  Whilst allot of sports teams concentrate the majority of their training on ball skills a key point to remember is that the game is 90 mins long, and on average you will be in contact with the ball for a maximum of 2 mins of that game. The rest of the time is spent running around the pitch trying to position yourself in order to be able to intercept / defend and attack. We need to be able to do this at varying speeds mid speed for following the ball up the pitch / getting in to position, and sprint speed for quick interception.

One way of developing this is tempo runs. Jog for 3-4 mins sprint for 3-4mins. Repeat 4 times. Additionally, running with the ball can be added to this.


  1. Maximising sprint speed

In a successful team, it is vital for all players to have sprint speed. Not just the wingers. Being able to run fast for short burst will stand you well above other players. We do this by increasing the strength of the Quads, hamstrings and calves under resistance.

The tools we use for this include Sled Pulls (forward and reverse), Parachute runs, bungee cord runs.

Try 4 lengths of 50m or so, with 30 seconds rest.

Football Soccer sprints







  1. Increase explosiveness

In order to be an effective player, you need to be explosive. This allows you to turn, accelerate and decelerate quickly. Training for this is hard but will position you well above the competition. Including this type of work in your training will increase your ability to accelerate past other players intercept quicker and more effectively.

Training explosiveness includes drills that consist of plyometric movements such as box jumps, bounds, squat jumps and explosive lunges etc.


  1. Improved change of direction

Being super-fast is great but if all you can do is run fast in a straight line then your use as a player is fairly limited! Every footballer regardless of their position needs to be capable of changing direction at a moment’s notice, with or without the ball.

Developing this skill includes cone work slaloms at varying speeds both with and without the ball. Each player should be able to do these manoeuvres in a controlled manner whilst still moving at full tilt. The key to quick change of direction is being able to decelerate and accelerate quickly. This skill is partially liked with explosiveness and core stability and the reduction of centre of gravity.

Agility and Change of direction training







  1. Core stability

The development of a strong core is crucial for any athlete. In football, a strong core will allow you to be able to put your body in to a position where you have lowered your centre of gravity and can quickly change direction. Core stability is in turn paired with speed and balance. A rock-solid core will most importantly allow you to stand your ground.

Now there is a difference between core stability and having a six pack… Core stability is all about balance, squats on a balance board, single leg exercises such as RDLs and Pistol squats. Ball skills can be added to this balancing on a Bosu ball returns of a football can be made using various kicks and headers.

These skills will help you immensely when jostling for the ball.


  1. Strength

All sports are paired with strength training, ignoring this discipline will cost you dearly if your looking to perform well or dream of a career in football at any level.

Football players above many other sportsmen are one of the most prone to injury. Strength training plays a key role in the prevention of injury as well as helping to develop explosive power, agility and core strength.

Resistance programmes promote strengthening of the Musculoskeletal system, tendons and ligaments, stabilising joints and their ability to absorb loads when under pressure through sharp changes in direction etc.

Exercises include but are far from limited to Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts.

Strength training should be performed several times throughout the week in order to gain the desired effect.


All of the points above are crucial to your development as an athlete. If you want to achieve anything in your sport these are areas that you must look to develop.


For more information on athlete development take a look at our Cobra Athlete Programme.






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