T Nation

Teen Soccer Conditioning


My 15 year old son is going to be a sophomore in high school playing on his high school soccer team. He needs to be able to run 2 miles in 12 minutes. He currently works out with weights 3-4 times a week. He's gone from 100 - 135 lbs since last November. Part of this is due to gains in height. His arm has gone from 10 inches to 12.25. Chest from 31 - 32.5.

Once he's done with this school year, I plan to have him run hills on Tuesday mornings, sprints on Thursdays and the 2 mile course he has to run on Saturday mornings. He'll continue to work with weights.

From the time school is out until practice begins is 8 weeks. I was planning the following progressions for the hills and sprints:

Week 1 - 4 sets of 4 - 2 minutes rest in between sets
Week 2 - 4 sets of 4 - 1 minute rest in between sets
Week 3 - 4 sets of 6 - 2 min
Week 4 - 4 sets of 6 - 1 min
Week 5 - 4 sets of 8 - 2 min
Week 6 - 4 sets of 8 - 1 min
Week 7 - 4 sets of 10 - 2 min
Week 8 - 4 sets of 10 - 1 min

Wk 1 - 10 times 30 yards - 60 seconds in between each sprint - rest 10 min. then repeat
Wk 2 - 10 times 40 yards - same recovery and second set (srars)
Wk 3 - 10 times 50 yards - srars
Wk 4 - 4 times 1/4 mile - 2 min. in between 1/4 miles - rest 10min. then repeat
Wk 5 - 10 times 30 yards - 30 seconds in between each sprint - rest 10 min. then repeat
Wk 6 - 10 times 40 yards - same recovery and second set as Wk 5 (srars)
Wk 7 - 10 times 50 yards - srars
Wk 8 - 4 times 1/4 mile - 1 min. in between 1/4 miles - rest 10min. then repeat

The hill is pretty big. It's the same hill I ran in high school for football practice.


Thanks in advance.


The hills seem out of place.
What is his current time for the 2 miles?
What kind of lifting is he doing?
Is it just weights and running?
Conditioning with the ball would be better. (and the 2 mile test obviously)


I agree that the hills are out of place. From a biomechanical perspective, if the hill is more than 15 degrees in gradient, it will change his biomechanics, making slower even though he may be better conditioned. and from a guy who is playing soccer currently,and has been doing so for over 10 years, I concur with the suggestion to have a lot of the ball involved in the training.

the most a player has to sprint in a soccer game is no more than 40 yards, unless he is an attacking defender. Studies show about 15 to 20 seconds between sprints also depending on the position. I suggest the following:

Record finishing times for 5 x 30 meter sprints with 25 seconds rest. the rest must be active- jogging back to the starting line for example. After the 5, allow perhaps 2 minutes of rest then repeat. the target is to last as long as a half would last without drastic changes in finishing times. Each session should only last 45 minutes or however long one half of their games will be.

short intense games from 3 to 5 players per team if they are available to him will be very helpful as they will get him the necessary conditioning and keep up his ball skills too.

Find literature by Bangsbo. He is an excellent source for soccer specific testing and training.


this is not a question about development of soccer speed, this is a question about how his son can pass the test.

hills are a great idea. Who cares about mechanics, he's not usain bolt, you really think mechanics are perfect on the field?

Barry Sanders ran hills all the time, didn't hurt him did it?

Sen say-

If you're just trying to get him to pass the test. I would suggest.

Tues- 400 repeats with incomplete rest. start out at 1-1.5 miles total distance, work up to two. These should be fast and unpleasant.

Wednesday- Extended run 3-4 miles comfortable pace.

Sat- Speed development day (this probably won't help him for the test but speed and acceleration are important aspects for the sport). You could do hills on this day because I've found they're good for acceleration technique/strength. for speed development the key is full rest and make sure to quit once there is a dropoff. The other days he should just push through.

He might want to do another slow long day sunday for recovery purposes.

If he's playing on a summer team or if he plays a lot that could subsititute for the long slow sessions on wednesday on thursday.

Halfway through I would have him do the test. Also as the test nears I would drop the speed development day and do a couple fast miles i.e 1 mile in 5.30, 2 min break then another mile full speed.


best way to beat the cooper test (the 2 miles in 12 minutes u were talking about) is to just do it... over. and over. and over. I couldn't beat it my sophomore or freshman year, first time I tried as a freshman I finished the 2 miles in 14:22. just have him do the test as many times as possible on his own, run the two miles as fast as he can (not the other way around where you just stop at 12 mins). try to cut time by 10-20secs each time he does it and he'll be good to pass it in under a month. and when he actually does the test, have him shoot for his first mile in around 5:15, and the second he should shoot for under a six minute mile.