World Cup Qualifiers | Top Dribble & Sprint Drills

Have The World Cup Qualifiers Given You Football Fever?

If the anticipation of the 2018 World Cup in Russia has you itching to strap on your boots, let it! Whether it’s a bit of five-a-side, Sunday league or a bit of a kick about in the park, here are some training and nutrition tips to help up your game.

Talent is one thing, but conditioning is another. There’s no use talking about how good you are while out of breath on the bench, you need to be match fit if you’re going to put your boot where your mouth is… or something to that effect.

Players are working for a full 90 minutes, with around 70 per cent of that time used spending your energy on low-intensity activity including light jogging and brisk walking. High intensity exercise, for example, sprinting that raises your heart rate to max levels, is a big part in the rest of the game.
While talent may determine the pace of the game, you need to be able to meet that speed when it calls. That means high intensity interval training and circuits.

As well as that, as with most sports, the best conditioning exercises are transferable ones that you can take directly from the game itself. So short of playing a match, try these drills to improve your endurance:

Dribble and Sprint

Starting on the goal line, dribble the ball as fast as you can to the halfway line, stop the ball there and sprint on to the opposite goal line and back to your ball. Dribble it the rest of the way to the original goal line and rest for one minute. Repeat this three times.

Short Stop Dribble and Sprint

For an alternative take on the above, set out five shorter markers ten metres apart in a straight line. Dribble the ball as fast as you can to the furthest marker and leave the ball there. Sprint back to the starting line and then back to retrieve your ball. Dribble it back to the starting line, turn as fancy as you like and dribble it back to the next cone, leave it, sprint, repeat.

Interval Sprints

Jog around the outside of a pitch starting at the half way line at a low intensity pace. Do a full lap and when you get to the same starting point, pick up your pace to a faster jog for half of the pitch. When you get to the halfway line at the opposite side of the pitch, build to a full sprint until back at your starting point. Once there continue at a low jog, the same as when you started. You should perform this in a clockwise route so that you can visualise the markers when you will need to increase or decrease your speed. Repeat this for ten minutes.

Sprint Ladders

These are a cornerstone in many a pro’s conditioning. They’re about quick turns, dexterity, agility, speed training and endurance.

✓ 2 x sprint 10 yards, rest 10 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 20 yards, rest 20 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 30 yards, rest 30 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 40 yards, rest 30 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 50 yards, rest 30 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 40 yards, rest 30 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 30 yards, rest 30 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 20 yards, rest 20 seconds between sprints

✓ 2 x sprint 10 yards, rest 10 seconds between sprints

Ladders and shuttles not feeling enough like game play? Try the following drills as part of a team.

Team Circle Training

It’s a game of team work, but in training that might be just as much about throwing obstacles at your team mates to prepare them for the game. Form a circle, a wide one that allows room to manoeuvre and build up a sprint. One player starts with the ball and must pass it to another in the circle by any means they wish. Once the ball has been passed they must sprint full speed after it to obstruct or tackle the player they passed it to. The recipient does the same, so there are essentially always two bodies sprinting from one point to another in the circle.

Keep Away Circle

In a similar setup, take it in turns for one player to man the middle of the circle while the others pass the ball around. The player in the middle must sprint after the ball while the others pass it to keep it away. Simple, right? Add another player into the middle or tighten the circle.

After drilling, we recommend that you always finish up with a skills session or match. Remember, extra time is always a possibility so don’t just think in terms of 90 minutes.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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