Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Play Soccer for Increased Cardio Fitness and Speed

Soccer (football) is arguably the most popular sport in the world, with players like David Beckham attaining a massive amount of fame and publicity worldwide. Recreational soccer can be a great way to not only relieve stress but also burn a lot of calories and tone muscles. A typical soccer game will last around 1 hour and 45 minutes with the game divided into two 45 halves and a 15 minute half-time. Some professionals estimate that professional football players can run between 6-8 miles a game. Recreational games probably involve less running due to the decreased intensity level.

Before You Start Playing Soccer For Fun

Typical soccer equipment includes a soccer ball, soccer shoes, shin guards, soccer socks and any type of sport clothing. Soccer balls are made using different levels of quality and materials so it would be best to do some online research and have a few players bring different kinds so there is a choice during the game. Soccer shoes also vary and depend on the type of field you will be playing on. There are cleat-less soccer shoes designed for indoor fields and soccer shoes with cleats that will give you better traction on real grass and dirt. Shin guards are not always necessary for recreational soccer games, but they can protect your legs from being kicked and severely injured in the case of an accident. Clothes should be loose fitting and breathable (keeps you cooler) but you don't want clothes that will interfere while running fast or stretching during a soccer game.

Warming Up for A Soccer Game to Prevent Injuries

As with all physical activities, it is important to warm-up and stretch prior to engaging in a full soccer game. Warming up can consist of running drills, dribbling the soccer ball or taking practice shots at the soccer goal. The idea with warming up is to elevate your body's core temperature and get blood flowing through all the muscles involved in soccer. Stretching after warming up is essential to avoiding injuries in soccer games. Stretching should be given plenty of time (15-20 minutes) and should involve all of your body's muscles, paying special attention to muscles in your legs and core. Common injuries during soccer involve ankle sprains, pulled muscles in the groin and legs as well as bruises and scrapes from falling and “rough” play.

Drills and Exercises for Becoming Faster and More Powerful on the Soccer Field

It seems obvious that two key elements in a soccer game are speed and kicking power. As a recreational soccer player, your focus should be two-fold. First, you need to be working on a base fitness level that will allow you to run continually no matter what position you are playing during the soccer game. The second area of focus should be your coordination with a soccer ball, which includes your ability to kick the soccer ball with not only power, but also precision and control.

For overall fitness as well as your fitness specifically as a soccer player, your workout routine should include long distance runs, interval running, and hill running. Long distance runs will build your overall fitness level, interval running will increase speed, and hill running will build the power in your legs. For dribbling drills you should view online videos and devote and entire workout session to nothing but soccer ball work. Remember to practice dribbling using drills that focus on both short and long distance dribbling on the soccer field. When you possess the ball during a soccer game, you will be required to not only dribble around other players (short length), but also make a break for it and dribble over long distances to get the soccer ball close to the opponent's goalie.

At first, playing recreational soccer games can be intimidating because most teams include players spanning a wide range of soccer skills. If your fitness level is lower, focus on trying to block the opponent team and stealing the ball so you can pass it to more experienced players on your own team. You can use the first several games as an opportunity to just familiarize yourself with running for an extended period of time. Positions closer to your own goalie typically require less running, whereas the forward positions have more sprinting and require better dribbling skills.