Youth Soccer Training and Conditioning: Anaerobic and Aerobic Strategies, Part 1

Methods for soccer conditioning and training for anaerobic and aerobic energy systems for young soccer players have changed over the years.

We will look at current anaerobic and aerobic training and conditioning for youth soccer players. We’ll address the common myth about going for a twenty to forty minute run to build an aerobic base.

The game of soccer is played with intense, powerful bursts of energy and active rest periods that emphasize both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Soccer training and conditioning for young players should be done the way the game is played.

When was the last time you saw a soccer player young or old jog at a steady pace for an entire game? Both the energy system and the muscular system need to be trained according to the demand of the game regardless of the age of the player.

Let’s take a look at the different types of energy systems and how they influence anaerobic and aerobic soccer training and conditioning for young players.

1. The Phosphagen or ATP-PC system

* This system does not require or need oxygen.

* The chemical fuel source is phosphocreatine and it is stored in the muscle.

* Provides energy for short, quick bursts of energy

* Provides maximum power – In soccer this would be a 10-20 meter burst from a striker attacking a defense.

* Greater source of energy for the first 30 seconds of intense exercise.

2. The anaerobic glycolytic system

*Glycogen is the fuel source, oxygen is not required

* Lactic acid and free hydrogen ions produced

* Provides energy for activities of moderate intensity and short duration. In soccer, this would be a midfielder moving up and down the field a few times.

* Main source of energy from 30 seconds to 90 seconds

3. The aerobic system

*Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are sources of fuel and are used in relation to their availability and the intensity of exercise.

*Oxygen required.

*This system is the main system after the second minute of exercise.

So what system is used in soccer? All three systems are used regardless of the age of the youth soccer player.

The Phosphagen energy system is used when forwards run 20m to open up in the attacking third.

Midfielders use the anaerobic glycolytic energy system to support both forwards and defence.

The aerobic energy system is used from the beginning to the end of the game for active recovery from the powerful intermittent bursts of energy throughout the game.

If we look at the game from start to finish it is an aerobic sport with anaerobic components. This concept

is continually overlooked. If soccer were really an anaerobic sport, games would be over in two minutes.

Remember that anaerobic media without oxygen. Players need oxygen before starting the game.

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