How to be a Better Fullback in Football
Fullbacks have one of the toughest jobs in the modern game. They are responsible for providing relentless support for both the attack and the defence. Therefore, fullbacks need to be really well rounded as far as their technical skills are concerned. In addition to technical ability, fullbacks also need to be in great shape. This is because you’ll have to constantly be running up and down the wings as a wide player. In this article, we’ll be focusing on providing football specific fullback training so you can take your game to the next level.
In this first section, we’ll focus on covering 4 technical areas that are important for fullbacks to master. If you’re interested in a more in depth training guide, we’ve also put together a free individual training program for players of all ability levels.
All fullbacks need to be able to defend against opposing wingers, so practicing defensive drills is crucial for improving your game. Drills that focus on positioning, tackling, and marking are some of the best to focus on. These drills can include one-on-one defending situations, as well as small-sided games.
If you’re looking for more details on the best drills for defending, we have a list of 5 tips that will help improve your defensive skills. Remember that the more you practice being in defensive situations, the more experience you’ll gain over time. Below are some of the key elements that you need to focus on when defending as a fullback:
- Apply Pressure
- Force Them Outside
- Don’t Dive In
- Block Passing Lanes
- Get Between the Man and the Ball
Modern fullbacks also need to contribute to the attack, so practicing offensive drills can help improve your overall decision-making on the field. These drills can include overlaps, underlaps, and passing combinations with midfielders and forwards.
One of the best ways to practice counter attacks is by using small sided drills. Training in small sided scenarios will give you a lot of practice setting up goal scoring opportunities. So try and implement some 5v5 or 7v7 training with your teammates. Remember that counter attacks should be all about speed and passing efficiency.
Fullbacks often have the responsibility of providing width and delivering crosses into the box for their team. Practicing crossing drills can help improve your accuracy and technique when delivering balls into the box.
You also need to be able to send in crosses with both feet. This will make you a more versatile and unpredictable player. So when you go out to practice your crosses, try and hit several with both your strong foot and your weak foot.
Over the course of 90 minutes, fullbacks may find themselves in more advanced positions up the field. This means that you’re likely to be involved in at least one goal scoring opportunity. Therefore it’s important to be comfortable with shooting the ball from both long and short distances.
If you’re looking to improve your shooting technique, I’ve put together a tutorial on how to increase your shot power. Improving your shooting ability will ensure that you can be a goal threat in the opposition half of the field.
Best Workouts for Fullbacks
Technical ability will only get you so far if you don’t have enough match fitness. All fullbacks need to have the stamina to run over the course of 90 minutes. They also need to be quick and physically strong. Remember that combining technical ability with physical prowess will help you perform at your highest level. In this next section, we’ll go over 4 areas that fullbacks should focus on to improve their overall athleticism. We’ll also provide workouts in each area that you can implement into your training.
Improving your speed is a great way to make you more dangerous on the field. Fullbacks need to be able to cover short lengths of distance quickly and repeatedly, so sprint training can be a useful way to improve both speed and endurance. Regardless of your current speed, there are ways you can become faster as a player.
Developing your speed can include implementing short sprints of 10-20 meters in your training. Leg strength is another key component to improving your speed as well. Check out our article on how to get faster for football to see which workouts are best for improving your speed.
Fullbacks should be running just as hard in the first minute of the match compared to the last minute of the match. That’s why building up endurance is so important. Fullbacks need to be able to maintain their physical efforts over the course of a 90 minute match.
Endurance training, such as running or cycling for long distances, can help improve your stamina and enable you to maintain your intensity throughout the game. So be sure to incorporate long distance training alongside your short distance speed workouts.
Fullbacks also need to be strong enough to hold their own in physical battles with opponents. Strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, and leg press, can help improve your lower body strength and power.
Not only will getting stronger help you perform better in challenges, but it will also help you become more resistant to injuries. Football puts a lot of stress on the lower body, so it’s important to have resilient muscles and joints. If you’re looking to improve your strength, checkout our list of the 10 best leg exercises for footballers.
Plyometric exercises, which involve explosive movements like jumping, can help fullbacks improve their power and agility. These exercises can include box jumps, burpees, and skater hops.
Often times, fullbacks will need to jump for headers and lunge to make clearances. These explosive movements can put a lot of strain on your body. If you’re not prepared, they can lead to an injury. Plyometrics can help prepare your joints for the impacts that they’ll inevitably experience during a match.
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