Striking the Ball on your Laces

The World Cup has just finished (what a World Cup it was, by the way) and you would think there would be a break from Football. Think again, Professional and Semi-Professional clubs are already back training, making sure that they are preparing themselves for the season ahead.

Over the years many players have dreaded pre-season training. The thought of long hard runs didn't exactly thrill many players, but times are changing. Focus is more upon short and sharp bouts of high intensity activities. The long hard runs are becoming less common, with more of a focus on shorter, sharper sprints and agility exercises. Pre-season is focused on preparation, making sure that players are strengthening and preparing their muscles for the season ahead.

It is still undoubtedly one of the toughest times of the season, but you can prepare and put yourself in a great position to have a strong pre-season.

It is important that you have a high 'base-rate' level of fitness. This allows you to jog at a consistent pace for a prolonged period of time, giving you strong foundations to perform during the physical test of pre-season training.

Prior, and during, pre-season training it is important that you are also working on your fitness individually.

In my opinion (some may think differently) you should aim to get on the ball as much as possible. Ball Mastery and intense ball control drills will help replicate game like scenarios, giving you fitness and technical training.

Think about the situations when you have been extremely fatigued in training or a match. What was the most noticeable thing to happen to you? Did your touch and close control become tired and sloppy? Were you making incorrect decisions, struggling to strike the ball cleanly?

It is most likely that you have experienced most of the questions above when you are tired, but at times we can all forget how important it is train our fitness while using the ball. The more that we can do this, the more impact we will have on the game and the less tired we will be in those intense situations with the ball at your feet.

Practise Ball Mastery after some intense sprinting drills, include Ball Mastery or close control in your fitness activities. It will only help in the long run. Improving your fitness and your touch, even in the most tiring of situations.

I used to find that my legs would become very tired if I was fatigued. I'd struggle to move my feet quick enough, or make the right movements to receive the ball. Training with the ball helps you overcome this, ensuring that you are prepared and ready to hit the ground running during pre-season training.

Check out our YouTube channel to see some Ball Mastery drills that you could implement in your pre-season training.

Strike it like De Bruyne