More after the break
How to: Mark out a line distance of 30 metres on a sand dune. Sprint from one end to the other, taking time to recover between reps. Keep your knees high and drive with your arms. The more time you’re in the air the less time you’re in contact with the sand – which slows you down.
“Football involves sprinting over short distances,” says Miller. “The sand’s resistance as well as the incline will increase your speed over the flat surface.”
How to: Plant two umbrellas in the sand either side of you, one yard apart. Stand in between the gate and have a partner positioned three yards in front of you. Have them throw a ballot you at different heights, which you have to return using two touches, one touch if possible. Once you have returned the ball, shuffle through the two umbrella poles in a figure eight.
“The touch of a footballer has to be precise and soft and this allows you to practice controlling the ball with different parts of the body,” says Miller.
How to: Get into the water at mid-chest height, with your arms down by your side. Sprint as you would normally, trying to drive through the water. Don’t pull yourself out of the water, but focus on generating forward momentum.
Reps: 6 x 60 seconds on
“By running through water you will increase your speed,” says Miller. “Because when you come out of the water and run on land you won’t feel the restriction on your sprinting style, but you’ll have more power driving you forward.”
How to: Sit down in the sand with a beach ball held out in front of your chest, keeping your arms straight. Lean back at a 45-degree angle, lifting your legs and feet off the floor. Hold your legs and arms in an elevated position, rotating the ball and your torso to the right. Now repeat the movement to your left, working your obliques.
“Every movement in football comes from the power generated by the core,” says Miller. “It also provides your body with stability. A weak core equals a weak body and results in poor performance.”
How to: Line up next to a sun lounger in a standing position. Lower your body for two seconds before exploding upwards and forwards, propelling yourself over the top of it. Land softly with your knees bent. Try to leap as far as you can, working your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
“This exercise will not only help develop power and strength in your arms, but it stimulates real game scenarios,” says Miller. “Clearing the sun lounger is like replicating a leap over a sliding tackle during a match.”
Speed and movement
How to: Mark out a diamond shape with beach towels – three metres by three metres. Number the towels one to four, with one being the towel at the bottom of your diamond and your starting point. Sprint to your left (number two), then across to three and finish off with a dash to four.
Sets: 2 (on second set, sprint from 1-3-2-4)
“This exercise simulates closing down an opponent with the ball,” says Miller. “It develops your ability to decelerate, changing direction quickly and accurately. Your movement should be aggressive and completed at match tempo.”
How to: Place your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your knees in a parallel position. Lower your body until your knees are in a 90-degree position. Pause, and slowly stand back up. This will work your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
“Lower body strength is critical to football and the top exercise to build up lower limbs is the squat,” says Miller. “This exercise will develop power for jumping, acceleration and shooting.”
How to: Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a rock, supporting your body weight with your arms. Keep your feet together and lower yourself in a flat position until your chin is five inches from the rock. This exercise will benefit your chest, shoulders and deltoids.
“Having a strong upper body will help you hold off opponents and run faster,” says Miller. “The more force you can generate with your arms, the more assistance they can provide your legs. Cristiano Ronaldo’s running style is a perfect example of this.”