Build powerful thighs to improve your speed, power and jumping ability. “Perform 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 scissor squats and 10 jump squats,” explains Scott Moody, founder of athletefit.com. “Go immediately from one to the next with no break. The set should take a minute. Take a minute’s rest between each set, and repeat three times.”
More after the break
You probably haven’t tried hopping since you were 12, but the motion is a great way to improve balance strength and stability. “Do a mixture of forwards and sideways hops, first on the right leg, then the left,” says Scott. “Do as many as you can for 15 seconds – two sets. Mix these with five-yard dashes, focusing on quick steps, 90-degree cuts and changes of direction.”
To get quicker feet you need only a ball and five square yards of grass. “Burst forwards and backwards with the ball,” advises Scott, “facing the same way and getting creative with your touch. Do four 30-second sets, resting for 15 seconds in between. Focus on quickness. You can also do this drill laterally, from side to side. The smaller the space, the more demanding the drill.”
Wall pass and turn
Many a top pro chiselled their close control with just bricks and mortar. “Do three minutes of work against a wall,” says Scott. “Play the ball off the surface and focus on your first touch. When you receive the ball, turn and perform a three-to-five-touch move, as if creating space. Move into the space and play the ball off the wall again.” Take a three-minute break, then start the drills again. Go round three or four times.
Get drenched doing drills - it works!
Mankind’s desire to avoid freezing to death can stop us from heading outside. But once you overcome that mental obstacle, the same instinct will actually help you work harder.
A study by Japanese researchers published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who trained in low temperatures and rain unsurprisingly worked harder, and burned off more energy, than those who enjoyed pleasant conditions.
Why? Because you’re hoodwinking your brain. A cooler environment leads to the perception of less exertion, while the fact that you’re staying cool means there’s less chance of getting overheated and exhausted.
Like a besuited businessman legging it for a bus in a downpour, there’s also the psychological motivation of getting back to nicer conditions, which can push you to complete your exercise faster. And once you’re back inside, you can feel the smug glow of a hardcore trainer who is putting in the time when others are huddled indoors. Have a pat on the back. And a bath.
Wet weather training kit
Nike Strike Woven Elite Jacket
Made from water-repellent nylon fabric, this Nike jacket will keep you dry. A mock neck zips up to your chin for optimum coverage, keeping you warm in Baltic conditions. A breathable lining prevents overheating, keeping sweat to a minimum.
RRP £100 nike.com
Nike Pro Hyperwarm Shield Fitted Mock Neck 2.0
This base layer – also available in cool grey – offers warmth and weather protection: 3D thermal knit fabric locks in heat and contrast panels repel wind and rain. Sweat will just run off you thanks to the stretchy Dri-FIT Max fabric.
RRP £60 nike.com
Nike Pro Warm Leggings
With a locked-in fit and lightweight fabric that stops sweat collecting on the body, these will help to keep you warm and comfortable during your toughest cold-weather workouts. The tights’ compression design provides a snug fit, allowing you to move freely and securely.
RRP £38 nike.com
Adidas ACE 16.1 Primeknit Soft Ground Boots
This boot is designed to give players complete control in all conditions. A thin layer of raised dots applied to the upper will keep the ball glued to your feet even when the rain is pouring. Don’t worry about staying on your feet, as aluminium studs will stop you from hitting the deck.
RRP £190 adidas.com