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How do Soccer Players Train? 4 Main Methods

How do Soccer Players Train? 4 Main Methods

Most times, you must have asked yourself how soccer players train themselves to become the kind of players that they are. Do they train daily, weekly, or yearly?

You might have often wondered about the kind of training that leads to the huge amounts that high-profile players are transferred for, which is usually in the tens of millions.

Soccer players have to run around the pitch for about 90 minutes for each game they play. How do they train for this? There are various ways that soccer players train. Soccer players need to combine their fitness attributes like agility and speed, endurance, coordination, and power.

Training regularly would ensure that the soccer player can play and also perform well at high intensity since soccer games last more than 90 minutes.

For a soccer player to be successful, it is usually dependent on the player’s tactical, mental, technical, and physical preparation before any game.

How do soccer players train?

Every successful professional soccer player needs more than just talent. Though having the talent is essential, you might not go very far without training. This is why soccer players need to train.

Soccer players are capable of training for hours every day, either in the gym or on the pitch. So how do soccer players train?

It is usually different based on the soccer player, but various consistent training cuts across every soccer player. Before every session, players perform a lot of training exercises on the pitch.

It could range from playing a small-sided game, or working on a pattern of play, performing shooting and passing, or even working on set pieces.

There are various and specific ways that soccer players train, and this training is sometimes seen on their bodies. Training might not necessarily make you physically fit like Cristiano Ronaldo, but it would help you to get in shape for playing soccer without problems.

A training session of a soccer team

Players also train to lose body fat and build up their core muscles and strong legs through core workouts and interval training.

Soccer players also run a lot on the pitch as a way of training. This is one of the methods that allows a soccer player to be capable of running on the soccer pitch for a full 90 minutes.

Soccer players must be fit. This is because soccer players run an average of 7 to 9.5 miles, and sometimes more in every match.

For pre-seasons, soccer players train heavily on getting match fit since they are expected to get the ball rolling once the season starts. In addition to performing physical work, soccer players also perform ball exercises for their training.

After every season on the pitch, soccer players go to the gym to train. They perform weight exercises and also stretching exercises. The weights training is usually light ones.

Soccer players train through a variety of means or methods, from interval training to skills and ball training, to body core workouts, improving overall fitness, and other means of training. You will be shown below some of the methods that soccer players train with.

Practicing with the ball

A major way that soccer players train is to practice with the ball. Here the soccer player trains his skills, including passes, dribbling, and others.

Soccer players also train their ball skills as part of their soccer training. Ball skill training ensures that soccer players become even better players.

There are different methods to train with the ball. Below are some of the ways soccer players practice with the ball.

Training Trapping and Passing 

Winning balls either in the air or on the ground is very important, but it is not always very easy to do so. You can train trapping and ball control with teammates or partners.

Get a partner, then receive the ball from the partner and proceed to pass the ball back and forth. Let the ball bounce, catch it in the air, and send it back at different heights.

Work on making a few touches as possible when sending the ball back. Ensure that you move fast but do not sacrifice the quality of sending the ball. Ensure that your game pace does not become sloppy.

2 young soccer players are Training Trapping and Passing

Drills and Close Ball Control 

An essential part of soccer is ball control. It would be best if you practiced control through dribbling the ball or through juggling. The ball should be kept as close to your body as possible while ensuring that you get as many possible touches on the ball while keeping the ball under your control.

While juggling the ball, ensure that your whole body is used other than your hands and arms. The ball should be prevented from hitting the ground. Get as many touches as possible.

There are various cone drill patterns; choose any of these Cone drills and dribble through them. Ensure that you quickly dribble around the cones without touching any cone. Perform another lap whenever you touch a cone.

The ball should be quickly bounced between your feet for close-touch drills. Then, while the ball is in place, use your toe to quickly tap the ball with both feet, ensuring that the ball rolls slightly under your sole.

The ball should be rolled to either of your sides, then bring it back to your other foot. To practice keeping the ball, you must make use of every part of your foot.

A soccer team is taking a cone drill

Training kicking the ball

Another training performed by soccer players is to kick the ball with various parts of their feet. This also ensures better control. In addition, kicking the ball from different angles can present different results.

Your foot should be trained to hit the ball in different ways to improve ball control and also increase your arsenal.

For short controlled passes, you should always use the inside of your foot. For example, kicking the ball with your lower laces would curl or spin the ball. The outside foot is used to curl or spin the ball in the opposite direction.

Kicking the ball in the dead center with your laces creates a knuckleball.

A soccer player is kicking the ball

Physical Exercises 

Physical exercises are one of the most common methods by which soccer players train. Physical Exercises include working on treadmills, performing distance training, and other types of physical training that improve fitness.

Below are some of the physical training methods that soccer players engage in:

Endurance and Distance Training

As a soccer player, a major way to improve fitness is to perform endurance activities, and long-distance runs. Soccer players should regularly perform long but slow runs since it is necessary to build up stamina.

Endurance and distance exercises are used when the soccer player is incapable of performing workouts. You could try out riding bikes or swimming as such exercises give rest to your joints.

Ensure that your pace is easy, and you should run for a duration between 30 minutes to one hour.

soccer players run in training session

The long-distance training should be alternated between short rest periods and hard sprints. This would ensure that your body recovers quickly after performing high-speed exercises.

This is usually more important than performing jogging for an hour, and it gives results faster.

High-Intensity Interval Training

Soccer players perform a lot of cardiovascular fitness compared to other sports athletes. Soccer players must be capable of running multiple miles in every game and instantaneously accelerate to a high-speed sprint.

Most soccer players train their cardiovascular fitness to be able to have short-term power and long-term stamina.

The human body has two energy systems which are anaerobic and aerobic. The anaerobic system does not need oxygen as it doesn’t last long. Therefore, it is used for intense and short-term exercises.

On the other hand, the aerobic system needs oxygen to create energy and is used for long-term endurance exercises.

Soccer players must train the anaerobic and aerobic systems, and performing high-intensity interval training is one of the ways to do so.

High-intensity interval training is a type of exercise that combines extreme intense exercises with short, all-out periods with active rest in between.

four people doing HIIT workout

High-intensity interval training can be completed in several ways. For example, you can perform inclines on treadmills or alternate speeds, sprint on a 400-meter track with one-minute rest in between, and run back and forth on the pitch.

There are a lot of options for high-intensity interval training, but they usually require only about 20-30 minutes for each exercise.

An important advantage of high-intensity interval training is that it is an excellent fat burner.

There is a lot of Cardio equipment that has cardio zones and fat burn zones. These machines usually distinguish fat-burning training and cardiovascular training, which in reality are of similar categories.

High-intensity interval training can accomplish fat burning since it works on the body by breaking down fat tissues quicker to be used for energy.

High-intensity interval training also increases some hormonal activities, which break down and utilize fat even after the player has stopped exercising for the day.

The ability of high-intensity interval training to reduce fats and work on the energy production system makes it a valuable tool for most soccer players to use for their training.

Note that high-intensity interval training is usually very intense and therefore should be performed about 1-3 times per week. This would allow your body to get the needed rest and recover properly.

Balance Training

Soccer players also train their balance. Soccer players perform exercises that keep their balance. These exercises are done to work on every major muscle group and also help you with your flexibility.

You can improve your coordination when you arch forward while you stand on one leg. This would improve your core and strengthen your legs.

one leg balance

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Soccer players need to work out on balance since they might be needed to run on a whim when on the pitch. Also, strengthening their cores and muscles ensures that the player is less likely to become injured while on the pitch or pull a ligament.

There is no need to make use of a dumbbell balancing exercise because this exercise ensures that your muscles are shaken as you work them.

Training to build your Upper Body 

Soccer players also train their upper body since it helps them to become harder to tackle, help against defenders, and win heading contests.

Soccer players that train their full body can resist tackles, fight against opponents for loose balls, and have muscles that can position on clears and crosses.

Soccer players usually perform light strength training that makes them formidable while on the pitch. Light training helps them to remain lean but strong.

You can train your upper body by working on the muscle groups shown below. You should train them two to four times a week while selecting two to three exercises from each of the groups.

upper body training

Core and Abs. To train your core and abs, you can perform planks, sit-ups, and crunches daily. Power should be transferred from the lower body to the upper body through your core. Heading, crossing, long passes, or shots need your cores.

Arms toning. You can build up solid muscles by training pull-ups, Bicep curls, tricep push-ups, and dips. When your arms are toned, you would be able to push attackers or defenders perfectly and keep your balance when with the ball.

Back and chest exercises. The back and chest exercises help soccer players to create and to keep the space in the air or the box. Furthermore, having a strong back increases the player’s overall strength and increases his balance.

Core Workout and Lower Body Lifting 

High-intensity interval training is usually more focused on the legs. This is because soccer requires that players have strong legs so that they can run faster or hold defenders off and even strike the ball harder.

But soccer is at the same time a sport of contact. Contact sports require that the players have a lot of agility. Therefore you need a strong core.

Strong cores and legs are not only for a soccer player but for everyone since everyone can benefit from it.

The core is referred to as every muscle in your torso or your trunk, which helps in stabilizing your body. This includes your middle back, your lower back, and also your obliques, your abs, and your glutes.

Core strengths and stability are very important for a player’s agility, and this is why most soccer players perform core strengthening multiple times every week.

Some core exercises that can be done daily to strengthen your core include back extensions, crunches, leg raises, planks, Russian twists, and sit-ups.

man doing planks

Core workouts build up soccer ability, burst speed, and endurance. Part of core workouts usually includes lower body lifting such as plyometrics, step-ups, lunges and squats.

Lower body lifting should be done about 2 to 3 times per week because it usually takes a toll on the body.

Tactical Training 

Another method of training by soccer players is soccer tactics training. Over time tactical training has improved tremendously.

Soccer players train tactically to have an understanding of their opponent’s tactics and also of tactics that they would use in their games.

Soccer strategy is used to assess the weaknesses of individuals or teams before any game, then such weaknesses or strengths are exploited. This is why soccer players have to specialize in a particular position from an early age.

Soccer coaches train their players by placing them based on their positional attributes while taking note of the opponent’s weaknesses and strengths.

Over time, there have been a lot of tactics that various teams have employed after studying their opponents and also employed in their games.

Coaches use tactics to promote togetherness and communication in their teams. Tactical training begins when the team chooses a formation.

Formations allow a team to train their players to use tactical techniques that would help them play better such as winning the ball in key areas of the field or high pressing the opposition.

Another tactical training is switching play. This tactic would help the team to be prepared against oppositions who make use of ‘park the bus’ or usually defend in numbers.

Sometimes players of a soccer team undergo training that allows them to draw their opponent into their defensive third with the aim of hitting them with a deadly counter-attacking play that could lead to a goal.

The coach is instructing his players tactics

These tactics aim to take the ball from the opposition, while the team exploits the space that is left to attack.

This tactic is split into defending and attacking. The defenders sit tight on the defense and try to regain the ball possession, and pass the ball to the attackers at a fast speed.

The key to this tactical training is to get the ball forward at a fast pace, by leveraging on the attackers who are supposed to be faster than the defenders. The ball is given to the attackers before the opposition can prepare themselves.

This tactic has been used by Leicester City when they won the English Premier League in the 2015/2016 league season and also Real Madrid in 2014 when they won the UEFA Champions League.

Soccer players also tactically train based on the reports by their analysis team following every fixture. This report would contain an analysis of the next team’s strengths and weaknesses that would be used to prepare for the next fixture.

The report by the analysis teams usually includes various indicators of the matches played by the opposition, the tactics used in the game, and the details of the game.

Practice Matches 

Much of soccer is about real experiences. Therefore, you should train your whole body by playing some games or practice matches as it’s a fast and easy method to get in soccer shape.

While it is essential to train, playing games works on your endurance, agility, speed, and strength in real-life situations.

five soccer players are in a soccer match

Getting exhausted after a game ensures that you’ll have performed a good training session. Therefore, when playing such games, ensure that you play multiple positions while trying out various skills and moves learned in training.

This ensures that you build up your body and learn the game.


When people watch soccer players perform various skills on the pitch and consistently run around the pitch for a full 90 minutes, it does not come by chance or talent.

Soccer players train through various means. They train off-season and in-season since they need to stay fit.

Training is very important for soccer players because it prevents ligaments and reduces injuries during games.