Game Speed Conditioning

The following comes from Chris Gorres' post "A SIMPLIFIED APPROACH TO CONDITIONING" that can be found on his website at Read the full article here.

This is the type of conditioning that separates the good from the elite.  In soccer, being fit for 90 minutes is not enough.  Traditionally, coaches have simply looked at the average distance in a game (approx. 8 miles) and conditioned their players to run that distance.  The problem is 8 miles in 90 minutes is 5.3 mph, and that doesn’t even include halftime.  If you’ve ever run next to someone at 5.3 mph, you know that’s not very fast.  Looking deeper into the numbers, you’ll find that players must be able to sprint hard for 4-6 seconds and then recover before the next sprint.  They must able to perform these sprints in the first minute and in the 88th when the game is on the line.  If you look at other sports, you’ll find a similar pattern - quick bursts of speed followed by a quick recovery.  For my gym goers, this is about the time you’re thinking that none of this applies to you.  You are wrong.  High intensity training intervals are exactly what you need, especially if you are trying to lose weight and get “toned”.  15 minutes of interval sprinting will help you burn more calories in the session and the “after burn affect” will help you burn more calories thru out the day.  Would you rather workout for 15 minutes and get better results, or waste time for 90 minutes, burn less calories for the day, and pretend like you “earned” a trip to Wendy’s because you spent extra time on the recumbent bike?

Tip #1 Sprints should last 10-15 seconds with a recovery time of 45-60 seconds.  As you improve, the sprints will actually be shorter in time and rest periods will increase.  This is the opposite of what you may be thinking.  Set the distance at 100 yards.  Run a sprint at the beginning of every minute.  As you improve, the time it takes you to run 100 yards will decrease by a second or 2, and the rest period will increase by a second or 2.  

Tip #2 Put everything into the sprint.  Don’t water it down by trying to add funky jumping jacks or burpee WODs during the rest period.  If you were truly sprinting, you shouldn’t have energy for that.


Think outside of the box on this.  LITERALLY.  I see to many of the same mundane sprints and shuttle runs repeated over and over and over.  The next time you go to set up the drill, watch your players reaction as they start to recognize what you are setting up.  Think about what kind of effort you are really going to get from them.  Instead of doing the same old tired drills, think of new ones that challenge a players fitness but also they’re thinking and decision making.  The game doesn’t move in pre-determined straight lines so you’re drills shouldn’t look like that either. Running in a straight line requires absolutely zero thinking! Another tip is to stop setting up the same distances.  Your players will learn how to cheat the drill, they’ll know exactly how many steps it takes to run a 5-10-15 long shuttle. CHANGE IT! Make it a 4-8-12 or 6-6-20.   

This is a video I posted on Instagram.  I'm using the FITLIGHT Trainer with Ali Krieger of the USWNT.  I separated the lights at a random distance but I kept the square shape, simply because of the facility.  On a field I would set them up randomly in space with no shape.  The drill is set for 12 lights with a maximum reaction time of 2 seconds per light.  If she doesn’t get to the light in 2 seconds, it will count as a miss. The drill forces her to react quickly, execute a quick movement, and challenges her spacial awareness as she then has to quickly reposition her body to see all the lights. The information from the lights will pop up on my tablet and I can score her based on hits/misses, average reaction time, and total time.  (This is the difference between the fit lights and colored cones).  I can still use my desired work:rest ratios and the instant feedback is a motivator for her.