How to REALLY Get in Shape for Soccer (2024)

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

How do you get in shape for soccer? The beautiful game is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in the world that requires a high level of fitness and endurance.

Getting into “soccer shape” is different from getting into shape for other sports because the athleticism required for soccer is much different. As a soccer player, amateur or professional, you have to be able to last 90 minutes on the field at a high level without letting your level of play go down at any point during the match.

If you are a youth player you may not have to last 90 minutes yet, but you still have to be able to last the entire game so that you are ready for the next level. That is what it means to be in shape for soccer; to be able to perform consistently and at a high level for the entire game.

In this blog, I will be going over tips and all the basic information you need to know about how to get in shape for soccer season. 

How to Get in Shape for Soccer Image by Tom Fisk

How do you really train for soccer?

To answer this question we first have to determine what the game of soccer is. Soccer is a game of 90 minutes in which two teams try to score the most goals and everything a team does is based on this concept, either stop shots at goal from the opposing team or go and score goals against them.

During those 90 minutes there is also a lot of chaos, unpredictable events, new scenarios that have never happened before, a lot of decision making, lots of change of directions, and ultimately both teams are trying to create order from all of the disorder of the game. Soccer is not a linear event in which you know what is going to happen next and it is the most unpredictable sport in the world in which anything can happen at any moment.

For this reason, the best way to get better at soccer and get in soccer shape is by training how you play.

How to Get in Shape for Soccer Image by Virgil Cayasa

Play the Game Consistently

To train how you play means to train in a way that best resembles a real soccer game and in a way that allows you to get into a flow state, or in the zone, since players need this state of consciousness for optimal performance and focus.

These are the best tips to get in shape for soccer:

  • Participate in your team trainings weekly
    • At least 2-3 times a week
    • Always give it your best effort during training
  • On days off from team training play other variations of the game such as
  • Play other sports
    • This will help improve overall athleticism and coordination, plus it works cardiovascular fitness in different ways soccer does
  • Also spend a lot of time playing barefoot soccer

The most important thing to remember is that the best way to get in shape for the game is to play the game a lot. Simple as that. If you think doing a lot of sprints, interval training and long runs is going to be the best way to get in soccer shape, you are forgetting that soccer requires a lot of decision making and quick reaction time, which also takes up cardiovascular conditioning, although in a different way.

This means that to get in soccer shape, you do have to be physically fit to run a lot, but also mentally fit to make the right decisions for the entire 90 minutes.

How to Get in Shape for Soccer Image by Source

Follow a Proper Strength Training Program

One way to help you become more athletic and to get in soccer shape faster is to follow the right athletic training program. The right soccer training program should have one main goal, to make you a better soccer player.

That may sound really obvious, but there are many training programs out there that focus too much on things that do not impact performance and recovery, such as how big your numbers are in the gym. If you are looking for the best online soccer training program, which is also the best soccer training app, then I highly recommend Football Entangled.

Football Entangled is by far the best online soccer training program designed specifically for footballers because it respects the fascia and natural spiral biomechanics of the body. This program targets the root cause of injuries and athleticism, which is your fascia system, and the root causes of health, which are your circadian rhythm and mitochondrial function.

Football Entangled is much more than just a training program and has the potential to change all aspects of your life including health, energy levels, and self-worth, not just soccer skills. 

How to Get in Shape for Soccer Image by Mauro Lima

Maximize your recovery

For soccer players, the next thing to do after they’ve been training and playing the game consistently as well as following a proper athletic training program is to recover properly. Recovery is just as important as all your training sessions, if not more, and players need at least one full rest day per week.

It is not possible to go 100% everyday and if you are it may lead to overtraining. Use these natural recovery techniques to help your body heal faster and be ready for your next soccer game or training session.

How to Get in Shape for Soccer

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Improve all Aspects of Your Life that Impact Performance

A lot of topics I discussed earlier were about how to train and what to do on the soccer field, but did you know that everything else you do outside of the field also directly impacts your mentality, recovery, and performance?

Here is a list of many important aspects to improve as well as attached blogs to find out how to improve them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lifting weights good strength training for soccer players?

Contrary to popular belief lifting weights is not as beneficial for soccer players as most people are led to believe. If you lift weight chances are you will get stronger, and will look better, but that does not necessarily mean you will become a better soccer player.

For the most part it only means you are getting better and stronger at those lifts, which are never done in a soccer game. In a soccer game you are never moving any external force, you are only moving your bodyweight and the soccer ball, which is not very heavy.

With that being said if you are already athletic and have the key athletic traits either subconsciously or consciously, which are having strong feet, a relaxed nervous system, good breathing patterns, and being fascia driven, then lifting weights may not have as many negative effects and could be beneficial. However, if you don’t have any of the things I mentioned previously, lifting weights can do more harm than good.

How do you prepare for a soccer match?

To prepare for a soccer match you have to improve your soccer skills and physical fitness, which can be done by reading this guide. Also, analyzing your games, both individual performances and as a team, by recording your games with a camera, is a great way to find out what you have been doing well in-game and what you need to improve on.

How can I learn more about the game?

To learn more about soccer the most important thing is to join a team, play the game as much as possible,  analyze high level games, read soccer books, listen to podcasts and interviews, and watch soccer documentaries, as well as some movies, tv shows, and anime.

How far do soccer players run during a soccer game? 

Soccer players run anywhere from 5-8 miles during a game but that will depend on various factors such as playing level, age group, positions, formation, and the tactics chosen by the soccer coach.

Conclusion

In conclusion, knowing how to get in shape for soccer is one of the most important parts of becoming a better soccer player. In this blog, I covered everything you need to know about how to get in shape for soccer, including how to improve your skills and decrease the risk of injury by improving various aspects of your life that affect performance and recovery.

So now that you know how to get in soccer shape, grab a soccer ball, grab your cleats, or play barefoot, and start training by using the tips on this list.

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