Pay attention to these training tips and you’ll bring your worn-out opponents to their knees, says Michael Watts, Aston Villa’s head of performance:
"With there being such a range of fitness levels at grassroots level, you can really elevate your team above the rest by training the right way.
If you can run harder for longer than your opponents – no matter how good they are technically – you’ll give yourself a chance, especially when the game enters the final 30-20 minutes.
More after the break
I call this exercise the Box Drill. It will develop your aerobic endurance – which means your body will have a greater capacity for supplying oxygen to your muscles during 90 minutes. The better it can do this, the fitter you are.
This drill asks players to walk and run – as you would in a game. It’s not designed as a technical drill, but using the footballs will develop dribbling skills and also challenge you to stay in control of the ball when you’re getting tired.
It’s also great for conditioning leg muscles and reducing the risk of hamstring, calf or quad injuries.
I use this drill to either condition players returning from injury or when topping up fitness levels after the training session."
RAMP UP YOUR RUNNING
Mark out the corners of the 18-yard-box with four marker cones. Now place two footballs next to cone A.
The player starts at cone A. On the coach’s command they dribble a ball to cone B, then sprint back to cone A and dribble the second ball to cone B. Once again they sprint back to cone A, before walking to cone B. They repeat this sequence around three sides of the box, as shown, until they return to cone A. Aim for 1-3 repetitions.
Challenge the players to complete this course in four minutes. You can make it more difficult by adding slalom poles between the cones, forcing the players to zig-zag between them, working agility and ball control.
Want some equipment to go with these drills? Lucozade Sport's Kit-Out Project can help. Visit www.lucozadesport.com/kitoutproject to find out more.