Improving Strength and Fitness

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As soccer becomes more competitive – through increased shared knowledge and access to facilities – people throughout the game are looking for anything to give them the edge. One area that has exploded has been in specialist strength and fitness training. Clubs and colleges use experts, often from outside of the game, to train their players as athletes. The goal is to make faster, stronger players, with greater stamina and recovery times. After an initial generic phase the trainers now for the most part try to integrate some form of soccer-specific movements into the activities in order to target improvement in areas that they are most likely to need in the game.

After the honeymoon period of the trainer as the solution, there has been a recent backlash from some commentators about their effectiveness. Some argue that the best fitness comes from playing the game itself and that taking time away to work without the ball is detrimental to player soccer development. Others argue that the majority of the game they don’t have the ball, but they are expected to move and be ready for their entire time on the field.

Our goal here is not to decide what the answer is, but to present different viewpoints and let you make up your own mind. We talk to Raymond Verheijen – the renowned dutch professional coach as well as specific strength and conditioning coaches from the college level and beyond. Bobby Fisk of New Jersey Institute of Technology talks to us about how he schedules the year for their varsity teams in the weight room and in speed and agility work.

Interview with Raymond Verheijen Interview with Bobby Fisk of NJIT

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