Last week, we took a closer look at what specific training a goal keeper needs to be physically prepared for their position. In Part 2 we will analyze two seemingly unlikely partners, that need similar endurance training: Center backs and center forwards!
Center Backs Endurance Training
Players on this position(s) have, starting in U11, the most headers. Whether it is to clear a long ball from the center, or a cross from the outside. Center Backs need to be able to jump high. Special training to improve the vertical will be beneficial to jump higher than the forward. In addition, this position engages in a lot of 1v1 tackles. So strength, especially coming from the core, will help to remain balance and push forwards off the ball. Center Backs seem to run very little, but most of their distance is covered in short sprints, leaving their formation to attack the forward, and sprinting back in position. Agility training as well as mobility and reaction should be trained to get to the ball before the forward.
Center Forwards Endurance Training
The center back´s counterpart needs similar traits. When the center back needs to be strong to push the forward off the ball, the forwards needs to be even stronger to shield the ball and protect it. Strength and excellent core muscles are important for this position. Dynamic movement and quick acceleration are important to gain the deciding yards before the defender. This requires a high number of sprints in the game. Center forwards are required to change the pace a lot, from almost stealthy walking away from the marking defender. And right into a quick sprint, followed by slowing down again, only to jump high for a quick header. When training a center forward, extreme changes of pace should be incorporated, as well as exercises to improve their vertical.
Great Minds Train Alike
When taking a step back and analyzing the situation, it makes sense to train positions in groups based on their counterparts on the field. Soccer is a physical sport, and players need to individually outperform their direct opponent on the field, to help the entire team win a game. Next week, we will take a closer look at the next pair of positions on the field: Outside Backs and Winger.