Physical fitness is another essential element to achieving success in football; a football match lasts for 90 – 95 minutes with very few subs. According to Livestrong, midfielders run an average of over 11 kilometers per match. Wingers perform the most “high-intensity” runs averaging nearly 150 sprints of at least 75% of their full speed per match. Apart from goalkeepers, center-backs run the least but still average 9.5 kilometers per match.
In addition to endurance and speed, footballers need balance and physical strength to defend the ball at their feet, to shoot, to pass the ball long distances, to win balls out of the air, etc.
In conclusion, physical fitness in football comprises 4 essential elements:
According to dictionary.com, endurance is the ability or strength to continue to last especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. That is, endurance not only refers to a player’s physical fitness and ability to make it through the entire 90 minutes. It also refers to a player’s mental strength and ability to continue despite the overwhelming fatigue he or she might feel.
Elite footballers must not just endure physically but also mentally. As the body fatigues, control, focus, and decision making becomes more and more difficult. The ability to perform both physically and mentally for more than 90 minutes is crucial to achieving success in football.
To improve stamina, you can practice running for 90 minutes changing speeds throughout, or simply, don’t quit when you’re tired. If you’re tired at practice, don’t go for that water break. Push through it. At your next practice, you’ll last longer.
9. Balance and coordination
Great balance and coordination are necessary skills for footballers. Footballers are often moving fast in small spaces either weaving through defenders or, on defense, keeping up with the moves of offenders. Moving quickly in small spaces with one foot on the ball requires a superb amount of balance and coordination. Balance and coordination (mixed with speed) is what makes a player agile and agility is a necessary skill for the best footballers.
Make sure you work on both feet. It’s difficult to be balanced and coordinated if you can only work comfortably with half of your body.
Speed is necessary for footballers in terms of both quickness and quick feet and speed across greater distances. Speed in terms of quickness and quick feet goes hand in hand with balance and coordination. This type of quick speed in small spaces contributes to a player’s agility and ability to weave through defenders. The quickness is also essential for defensive players to keep up with their mark and to keep offensive players from dodging them or sprinting passed them with the ball.
The second kind of speed is speed across greater distances. Such speed assists footballers in beating their opponents to the ball and also beating them in long runs down the sidelines both on offense and defense. Speed is a baseline skill for footballers and is of upmost importance. A player might be super agile with the ball at their feet, but if they’re slow and can’t beat their opponents to the ball, they’ll never get the opportunity to show off their agility.
11. Strength and power
Strength and power contribute to a player’s speed and agility as well as their ability to shoot, make long passes, defend and shield the ball, steal the ball from their opponents, and win balls out of the air.
Leg strength is undoubtedly important for passing the ball long distances and shooting and is undeniably advantageous in almost all aspects of the game. That being said, upper body strength and particularly core strength is also favorable while defending and shielding the ball and stealing the ball from opponents. In football, arm strength is often used to create space between the attacking player and their opponents while leg strength is used to maintain a low center of gravity. Therefore, while leg workouts are essential and should be prioritized, upper body workouts should not be overlooked.
Speed and agility are the physical attributes that are typically assigned to a so-called skilled player, but even an agile player can be easily pushed off the ball and lose possession without strength and power in both the upper and lower body.
Technique and game intelligence are vital to achieving success in football. However, without the strength and power to win the ball, protect the ball, send long and powerful passes, and sprint past opponents, even the most intelligent players are quite useless on the pitch.