Why Running is so Important in Soccer
Making the statement that running is important in soccer may seem a fairly easy matter to grasp, but running in soccer often encompasses more than just dribbling with the ball. The world’s best soccer players know that. Much of running in soccer pertains to movement off the ball, and this article is geared at discussing all the times in which you must be prepared to run, even the goalie.
The most important aspect of off the ball running in soccer is that you need to put heavy pressure on your opponents at all times. This is why fitness and endurance is such an important part of being an athlete. When you have the ball and immediately feel the pressure of a defender bearing down your neck, you may panic. You may let your guard down and make an errant pass. Perhaps you’ll seize up like a deer in headlights and will get cleanly dispossessed. Such turnovers can often result in a goal being scored.
Whatever the error may be, such mistakes are a direct result of defensive pressure. The best teams have players that are hungry and capable of winning the ball back, and that aggression is only possible if you have soccer players that run hard.
The other benefit of running is shown in the offensive movement of a team. The most exciting plays in soccer happen when a team sets to work on a counter-attack, and while all the players are sprinting full speed ahead, they work the ball around the field like magic and someone finishes up with a goal. All the players involved in such a successful attack will run 60 yards or more down the field. Sometimes if a soccer match is incredibly open, such plays will happen in quick succession and you may find yourself running over 150 yards back and forth chasing the ball. Only the strong can survive this sprint and will end up winning the ball from an exhausted opponent and scoring the goal. This is the kind of style that makes Carlos Tevez such a successful soccer player.
Now, when you are on the ball running is just as important. You need to be such a confident runner that while you have the ball, your legs can go on autopilot while your focus is on making the correct touches and keeping a look up around to find open teammates or eye up a chance on the goal. Running should become second nature to your game. Even the goalie needs to be prepared to chase down a loose ball or dribble away from an opponent. The players that are in the best of shape rarely feel fatigue throughout a match because they are so used to running.
Therefore, if you want to become a better soccer player, make sure that your fitness is in the best possible shape. Eat healthy, sleep reasonable hours, and practice jogging and sprinting so that you’ll be making the impact play late in the soccer game. Perhaps you will find that running itself can be a joy, which will only serve to improve your game further.