Football is arguably one of the most intense sports out there. Players need to have tons of stamina and motivation to get through practices and games. Due to factors like a large playing field, long games, and few substitutions, football players run an average of 7 miles per game.
With how intense football is, it’s important to have a solid training regime. Here, we’ll break down 4 tips you should incorporate into your football training routine if you haven’t already.
1) Take care of yourself
If you’re not at your best, your performance on the field won’t be either! Take the measures necessary to keep yourself in good health. Consider the following ways you can contribute to your overall well-being and fitness:
Eat well and hydrate
Though this likely isn’t news to you, football players should eat well and stay hydrated. Your intense physical activity causes you to sweat and lose nutrients, electrolytes, and water.
Stick to a diet that replenishes your body with the appropriate nourishment. Always stay hydrated. It’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after workouts, practices, and matches. Buying bulk bottled water with the team logo may be a smart move, as you can always have it on hand when you need it.
Stretching isn’t just for before workouts. Stretch all of your muscles out after any workout, practice, or game. Give special attention to especially tight muscles. Invest in a foam roller to relieve muscle soreness and inflammation.
Learn how to distinguish the pain of sore muscles from the pain of something more serious. Soreness will mildly linger for a couple of days while bad pain worsens over time. Know your limitations and let your coach know before participating in practices or games if you’re experiencing abnormal pain.
Build your endurance
Football is a game of running. You’ll need to be able to keep up with your opponents, so take time to run on your own. Alternate between sprint and long-distance workouts, and time yourself to measure your progress.
2) Develop your technique
This is the most rewarding tip to work on, as it’s the most obvious indicator of your skill development. Here are a few specific techniques you can improve upon:
- Body control (to optimise coordination and balance)
- Dribbling skills
- Ball control
- Passing accuracy
3) Improve your football knowledge
Even if you can kick the ball further than anyone else on your team, you won’t be a great player without the proper knowledge. Here are a few key mental aspects of the game upon which you can always improve:
- Spatial awareness. Spatial awareness refers to how you utilise the field around you. As a successful football player, you must be able to recognise open space and use it to your advantage.
- Risk assessment. Understand the difference between a smart play and a risky play. Placing yourself or others in harm’s way to make a good play is an unwise decision. Doing so can result in penalties and compromise the integrity of the game.
- Strategies. Fully educate yourself on the game’s rules. Understand each player’s responsibilities and importance. Communicate what you see to your teammates and capitalise on your opponents’ weaknesses.
Developing your game intelligence takes place both on and off the field. When you’re on the field, pay attention to fellow teammates’ and opponents’ movements and decisions. Incorporate what you learn into your own playing to improve your team’s performance.
4) Adopt the right mindset
Though you can take steps to improve on your own, football is primarily a team sport. Above all, your focus should be to contribute to your team’s success in any way possible. Be coachable, open-minded, and receptive to criticism. You should be willing to do what’s necessary to help your team improve as a whole.