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Choosing A Soccer Fitness Test

Deciding on a soccer fitness test 

Often questions arise about what is the best choice for a soccer fitness test. No perfect answer exists and will depend on the level of your team and what your goals are.Several questions must be answered prior to choosing a test or test battery.   

1.       Are you looking for a pass/fail test?

One option is to pick one of the various fitness tests and set a time or distance a player must break. Many Division 1 colleges have come up with their own that is a combination of various runs such a (X) number of 800m runs in (Y) time followed 400’s and 200’s etc. As long as a player makes all their times then they pass. The drawback of pass/fail is that players that are at the high end of fitness will not be pushed or less motivated compared to a test that gives a score.    

2.       Is the fitness test also designed to be a mental test as well?

If this is your goal then try this method for coming up with a test or test battery. Have them do the fitness test you have chosen as a baseline and record times. Then adjust your times so that a certain percentage of your team fails, 10%, 20%, etc. That is your cut-off point and anybody or the whole team has to do a certain amount of extra running based on how many don’t pass. This is a great way to bring up the bottom portion of the team. Other options are to include a physical activity such a burpies, sit-ups, intertwined within the test.

3.     How closely do you want it to replicate the game and running of soccer?

If this is the case then it needs to be intermittent and include cutting of some sort. You may either create your own or use the YoYo intermittent test. You can get creative here and include various shuttles, cones, hurdles, etc so that players have to replicate many of the movements of soccer at speed and while fatigued. 

4.       Do you want to be creative?

At the end of the day, there is more to the game of soccer than just running. It’s the ability to perform when fatigued.Incorporate a ball into your fitness test.It can be something as simple as passing a ball into the goal after a 100 yard sprint or as complex as 100 juggles.

5.       Do you want a scientific number such as VO2 Max?

Several choices are available such as the Beep, YoYo, YoYo intermittent, or VO2 Max treadmill test. Formulas are available for conversion of test results in an athlete’s VO2 Max.

As with all tests, it is beneficial to inform your players of the test and times prior to the formal test.This allows players to practice and understand the test. This will allow them to perform their best during the test. Additionally, this will minimize the practice effect on future tests and give you a true measure of performance improvement.

Cooper Test

Beep/ YoYo Test

YoYo Intermittent test

VO2 Max Treadmill Test

VO2 Max Treadmill Testing with Metabolic Cart

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