Fitness Training: Shuttle Runs

The Soccer Skills Pro blog has recently started to include a few soccer coaching exercises including a drill to work on shuttle run speed.

I say ‘shuttle run speed’ because the body’s reaction to it’s training is so specific – if you practice shuttle runs you get better at shuttle runs, if you want to get better at football guess what you need to practice?

I’ve commented on the post but I thought there are a few points in my reply which you might find useful so I’ve included them here:

“This is a nice little drill for adult players. However there might be better practices for players under 16.

Those going through puberty don’t have the correct physiology for sustained 100% sprints and 180 degree turning.

Younger players find ‘line drills’ boring because they don’t represent a realistic portrayal of a football game (the reason they’re at football training!); there’s no intrinsic motivation to give full effort (such as the chance to score goals, the opportunity for more touches or chance to test new skills) and the skills don’t readily translate to a scrimmage or match because the step-up from no-pressure to full-pressure is too great.

Perhaps placing a competitive element and some goals could boost the enjoyment of this practice and make it more match-realistic?”

As you will know if you’ve read a few of my posts I am a huge proponent of coaching soccer skills through small-sided games.

With this in mind I’m going to focus on increasing the number of SSGs available on Better Football over the next month, I believe with a core of 6-8 strong small-sided games to work from most coaches will have enough session ideas for an entire season.

If there are soccer coaching websites you find useful or if you have a favourite SSG you’d be willing to share with us please leave a comment below.


  • Top players cover miles of pitch in 90 minutes with few recovery breaks. They must posses a broader range of fitness than almost any other athlete. Fitness is so important in these players that a proper conditioning program can more than make up for a lack of “natural talent”.

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