Increase Your Tempo: Football Conditioning Session

‘Football Fitness’ can be defined as the ability to deliver your playing-style at a high tempo and maintain that tempo for the duration of the game (90+minutes).

This simple statement is the essence of what coaches should consider when they are contemplating – “Are my players / team fit?”

Ask yourself – “Can we play at the tempo that I want and can they maintain it for the full game?” If the answer is “Yes” then you can be confident that your team is fit.

The following session utilizes football activities to develop certain Football Fitness characteristics.

The goal of the 4v4 activities are to develop the ability to recover faster between football actions; if players can adapt to recovering faster between actions this means they can make more actions in a certain period of time (per minute). More Actions per minute = Higher Tempo play.

It is by gradually placing greater demands on players within football activities that their bodies adapt; and, importantly, football fitness characteristics can be developed within the team playing style.



A 2v2 + 3 is organised in a 12x10m grid – 2-3 groups are organised to accommodate all players present.

Diagram A


POSSESSION – Intensive:

**Note: Players performed an 8min Dynamic Warmup to prepare for this activity.

Teams maintain possession in a 5v2 numbers-up situation. Players are limited to 2-touch play.
10 consecutive passes = 1 goal
Play is continuous
4×1.5min Rest 30 seconds

Coaching Points:

  • Restriction of Space / Time demands a high number of Actions.
  • Quick ball circulation
  • Quick movements to find space
  • Quality of passing / receiving in tight spaces
  • Emphasis on immediate DEFENSIVE PRESSURE from opponents



Squad split into 4 groups. 2 Goals + Goalkeepers.

Diagram B



Player (A) pass to (B) checking off the mannequin: Player (B) lays back to oncoming (A) and then bends his run into channel – Player (A) gives a return pass. Player (B) now cuts the ball back to the top of the penalty area for (A) to move forward to strike at goal.

**Can replace Mannequin with Defender (dependent on ability of players)

Time: 2x3min

Coaching Points:

  • Encourage players to place the ball around Goalkeeper – not always power!
  • Gradually build the intensity – first 3min block – place the ball around GK; second 3min block can go for sprint / power shots



Players work in pairs.  Max Effort – Football Sprints with Max Rest.

Diagram C



(A) 6x5m: Players move forward, touch the central stick, backpedal 1m and then sprint 5m forward.

(B) 4x15m: Coach passes ball down channel – wide player sprints 15m to cross the ball. Central player must pull away / around the stick before sprinting 15m to attack the cross

(C) 2x25m: Coach passes the ball the required distance: Players must race to the ball and attempt to score in the main goal.

Coaching Points:

  • All sprints must be MAX effort
  • Develops the ability to perform Max Explosive Actions that will support Better Quality Football Actions
  • Maximum / Full Recovery is required so that the next rep can be at 100% effort



Playing area is 32m long (36yds). 5 teams of 3 players are organised.

Diagram D



4v4 (3 +GK)
2×6 x 1min – Rest 1.5min
Rest 4 min between series – 12 games total.
Maintain elements of Playing Style: –
Quick ball circulation
Quick play in front
Counter-Press on any loss of possession


Immediate pressure on ball

Coaching Points:

  • Games develop the ability to make MORE ACTIONS PER MINUTE
  • Football Fitness characteristic developed – QUICKER RECOVERY between Actions