Small games, big gains

Fast-track your way to match-winning condition with small-sided football, says Manchester United head of fitness and conditioning, Tony Strudwick

Getting 11 unreliable blokes together on a Sunday morning is a thankless task. If they do turn up, they’re usually bleary eyed, stinking of booze and asking you for a spare pair of boots five minutes before kick-off.

Save yourself the hassle and switch to the small-sided version – your game will reap the benefits. Don’t just take our word for it, listen to Manchester United’s head of fitness and conditioning, Tony Strudwick.

More after the break

For him there’s no better way to boost your performance than playing 5-a-side football.

"The benefits of small-sided games are multi-faceted. You're getting all the benefits you would from 11 v 11 in a tighter area that is more condensed, focused and a lot more quality controlled,” he told FFT.

To find out why small-sided football will optimise all aspects of your game, watch this video interview with the champions’ sports science expert.

For more football tips see:
Manchester United match fitness

Train like Manchester United

Wenger: 5 skills for 5-a-side

Wenger: How to improve your 5-a-side

Improve your five-a-side with futsal

Four steps to five-a-side fitness

"The benefits of small-sided games are multi-faceted. First of all you can achieve all the physiological components you need - the days of running players long distances around the field [are gone]. We can achieve that through small-sided games.

Obviously from a physical point of view we tick the boxes. From a technical point of view we are putting the players under pressure, we are forcing them to move the ball quicker and work in tight areas.

Then we also have the cognitive and psychological components - it develops quick minds and the ability to move the ball quickly.

You're getting all the benefits you would from 11 v 11 in a tighter area that is more condensed, focused and a lot more quality controlled."

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