As a Personal Trainer and Soccer Coach, there are a number of important points that you should be aware of when training your kids to be fit for soccer. Your first consideration should be the age and current fitness levels of your players. It is very important to realise with your training that kids are not just little adults, and as such adult fitness and conditioning drills are largely inappropriate. Second consideration should be the types of soccer drills that you are going to use. For children, I always like to make sure that a ball is involved in all of my soccer fitness and conditioning drills. For this reason I use a lot of small sided games for training my kids, as small sided games keep them involved and moving at all times, incorporating both fitness and ballwork together.
When considering fitness drills for your kids, your first realisation should be that kids are not just small adults. Adult fitness drills are generally inappropriate for kids. For the kids that I coach I tend not worry about any kind of fitness drills at training up until about the age of eleven. Up to the age of eleven I try to coach them so that they are active throughout the whole of the training session and I find this sufficient in terms of soccer fitness After this age you should take into consideration the current fitness levels of your players when considering fitness drills. You must then decide which elements of fitness you want your players to work on and formulate your drills accordingly. The various elements include speed, agility, and endurance.
At all training sessions, my primary aim is to maximise the number of ball touches that each player gets during the session. For this reason in most instances I incorporate a ball into the fitness drills that I use with my players. If you devote a significant amount of time to fitness training then you will significantly reduce the amount of ballwork that you are able to do with your players. The best way to avoid this is to incorporate a ball into your fitness drills. Another method that I have used with older children ad with representative teams is to give players a preseason fitness routine. This ensures that your players have a base fitness level when you begin training and will mean that you can spend more training time on ballwork and skills and less on fitness and conditioning.
There are many elements of soccer fitness that players require when they play a game. Factors like speed, agility and endurance are important elements that players require on the soccer field. I find that using a variety of small sided games is an effective way of training these different elements of fitness whilst not having to make the players do fitness drills. In an ideal world the players will not even realise that they are doing fitness drills. There are many different small sided games that I use to simulate the different elements of soccer fitness I find that these are a great way to incorporate both fitness and ballwork into my soccer training sessions so that the players have fun, and learn the different elements of soccer fitness that they require to enjoy the game.
In terms of soccer fitness and conditioning your first thought should always be that kids are not just little adults. If you try to use adult fitness drills with kids they will usually lose interest very quickly and become discouraged. Use a ball as often as possible in your fitness drills in order to maximise the number of ball touches that each player receives during the training session. I find that the best way to do this is to use a variety of small sided games with players so as to teach them the different elements of soccer fitness that they require. The most important elements of soccer fitness for kids are speed, agility and endurance, and the soccer drills and small sided games that you use should focus on developing these elements in each of your players.