Tests in Soccer

Advised which tests in soccer?

Just watch them play a game. There is no great mystery or scientific method needed.

Yes. have to agree with Justy. Many soccer coaches pound the crap out of the their players with distance work and end up killing the speed of their team. Look at the actual demands of the sport, especially by position, and then look at what tests are necessary. I’ve heard of so many distance tests coaches put their players through, it makes me want to vomit.

I agree with both of these posts 100%. But, let me throw this out there. Most soccer teams are over run and over tested. I think we could all agree that this is the case for many teams we have worked with. So the question should be what kind of test would/should a strength coach run because they have to (the coach wants to see it).

Well, i guess if it were my team, i would want a bunch of sprinters who could play soccer. Can’t tell you how many games i’ve been to where the fastest players on the field dominated the game. The first person to the ball is the first person to shoot. Quite simple, but they have to be able to do that throughout the course of the game. Nike research put out a study a short time ago showing the demands of the game. Most of the game was spent walking, jogging or standing. 20% was spent sprinting and something like only 3% of the game the players had contact with the ball. The study found that the portion of the game that had the most impact on the outcome was the 20% spent sprinting. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when i train my players to be as fast and explosive as possible and their coach goes out the next day and has them run 2-3 miles or a shitload of shuttles (even goalies), not to mention they are running them 9 months away from the season. Do sport coaches have any knowledge of adaptation of stress? Seems to me more is better is still dominating college athletics.
Anyway, back to the question…as far as the tests go…i would look at it by position. I have no idea why coaches still have goalies train and test them like x-country runners when they need to be the most explosive players on the field. The furthest point from them to the outside of the box is, i believe, 18 yards. They should be able to run very fast for a short distance and be able to jump like hell. A different example would be an outside-mid, who may run the most throughout the game due to the distance they cover. But again, watch the game and you will see they are running fast, not jogging. So how do we test them???
Maybe for an outside-mid test a series of 40-60yds sprints with the appropriate recovery. For defenders, a series of 20-30 yard sprints. And, so on depending on the position. Shuttles may be of use, but i believe they are most often misused, especially 300yd shuttles. when does a player ever run 300yds at one time on a soccer field? So, i guess the way i see it, test them based on the demands of the position and the game. Thats my opinion, but i would like to see how others feel and what tests they think are appropriate.

so does anybody else have any opinions on optimal tests for soccer???

Just playing devils advocate here. I was reading through Sports Speed. The author George dintman, makes all athltes do the same test for speed. The procedure is:

Have the athlete do a 120 yd sprint with a timer at each 40yd segment. The first 40 is your current 40yd. The next is your flying 40 which is your projected 40. The last 40 is testing your speed endurance if there is more than a .3 drop off between your flying 40 and you last 40 then you have to work on your speed endurance.

I have never tried it… but I was considering trying it out this summer.

aaahhh test sounds ok, but what i’m looking at is if you had to have a conditioning test for a soccer team…what would do you think the best test would be?

What specific age group are you referring to? The most common test presently is known as the Yo Yo Recovery Test. The two additional tests are the 300 yd shuttle and the 7 x 30m tests for speed endurance. The latter can provide excellent feedback for player performance.

Coach Boone

Other than that there are other tests. Such as the 6min run test. Were you just run as much as possible on a 400m track or the 2000m run.

I’d ignore that test. First off, the athletes playing will almost all be past their top speed point by 40. Second, the next 40 can’t be your top speed as you already reached it before you even started this segment and no-one can carry top speed past 20m. Finally, you’re already well into Speed End before you get to this segment for most athletes and there’s no SE in soccer anyway.

What specific age group are you referring to? The most common test presently is known as the Yo Yo Recovery Test. The two additional tests are the 300 yd shuttle and the 7 x 30m tests for speed endurance. The latter can provide excellent feedback for player performance.

Coach Boone

  • college soccer players…not a fan of the shuttles as a test…in my opinion, shuttles are one of the most overused tests and conditioning element there is…what does it really tell you? 7x30m sounds a little more on track…i would probably look at, based on position, a series of 20-40m sprints with each sprint being executed under a certian established time based on their best time for that distance. Afetr all, soccer is a game depending on the ability to perforn many sprints over a period of time.

would you be concerned with any special endurance? unless the SE part includes both…

sorry, i’ve asked this before, but i was just thinking about cases where perhaps you have to do a “certain” short distance 2 or 3 times in a row with short recoveries (e.g., defense/attack/defense with chasing/losing/chasing again the ball, or something like that anyway… or is the game itself taking care of this?

just curious… thanks!

Again, we are talking about Speed Endurance, a quality that is not involved in the game. Speed yes (primarily acceleration) and aerobic endurance, two qualities that can be complimentary, as shown by Omega Wave testing. There is always a trade-off between Speed/Power and Speed Endurance. This must be carefully balanced in sprinting, but this is a balancing act that can be avoided entirely with Soccer. The balance between speed and tempo (aerobic work) volume is a ratio of about 20/80 for Soccer, compared to about 35/65 for Sprints. This lower speed volume is more than adequate if, and only if you concentrate on the needed area.

thanks for this Charlie!

a bit of topic here, for 200m and two track sessions per week, would you eliminate top speed work, working exclusively on accel and speed endurance? have done top speed in winter and need to extend speed endurance, as you know, but sessions might have to be only two from now on… :frowning:

thanks and sorry to the soccer guys!

Mr. Charlie,

I know that you gave ratios for the sprints and soccer but I was wondering about the volumes. I believe that 35% SPD/SE per week is about 2000m and that tempo is about 6000m per week. Considering that there is no need for SE in soccer, would the weekly amount of SPD be 1500m (3 x 500m) per week and 7500m (3 x 2500m) of tempo volume??? Wouldn’t the soccer player benefit more from a higher volume of tempo work say in the order of 3000-4000m per session (9000 - 12000m per week)? Marita Koch did 4000m in her quest for the 400m world record. Surely soccer players must be at least on par with Ms Marita???

Thank you for your ongoing inspiration and efforts.

The overall ratio in soccer might be 80/20 tempo to speed with no SE. So tempo vols might well reach those levels for the top players.

But, is this what YOU had in mind (volumes of speed and tempo) when you mentioned 20/80 ratio???


Interestingly Nike published research which supports your ratio. 20% of the time is spent sprinting / running and 80% walking or jogging.

Yes, that is how I’ve approached it.