How to play box-to-box

Leeds United strength and conditioning coach Matt Pears details three drills to get you up to speed

Drill 1: Short, sharp sprints

“High-intensity training is key to success in football as sprints in and around the box invariably lead to goals. A good place to begin, then, is with a short sprint exercise. Start with a five-second sprint, stopping for a second and repeating five times at 80% of your maximum speed. Then rest for three minutes and repeat with 10 sprints of 10 seconds each. Rest for three minutes and finish off with a set of 15-second sprints 15 times.” 

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Drill 2: Speed endurance

“Having built some basic speed, it’s now time to progress to working on speed endurance. This will build the stamina you need for those occasional 60-yard dashes when hitting teams on the break or tracking back after a move has broken down. The idea is to sprint for 30 seconds at 70% of your maximum speed before resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five times with three-minute rests between sets.” 

Drill 3: Keep the ball moving  

“It’s now time toincorporate running with ball-work so you can put your training into a football context – also, it’s less boring this way. Set up a small 30 yard x 30 yard pitch and play a four-on-four game. But unlike a match, the key isn’t to win the game but for both sides to keep the ball moving quickly. Play a five-minute game, rest for two minutes and start again. Repeat five times. If some players aren’t running, stop and switch to five five-minute games of one-on-one.”

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