College fitness tests are commonplace during the initial preseason period. For some athletes, these tests can be make or break. It is not unheard of for some coaches to cut athletes from rosters or limit their equipment/practice time due to a failed result.
The purpose of this article is to describe the requirements and components of a women’s soccer fitness and offer suggestions on how to pass the test. This fitness test is for an NCAA division II women’s soccer program.
To perform this fitness test you will need
- A 400-meter track
- A regular sized soccer field
The test consists of 4 primary components:
400 meter run
300 yard shuttles
120 yard sprints
6-18-60 yard shuttles
With the exception of the mid-way point- rest times are two minutes (2:00) between each element.
Now let’s break down the test in a little more detail:
|Component||Distance Per rep (yards)||Total reps||Total Distance (yards)|
|400 meter run||436||4||1,744|
|300 yard shuttles||300||4||1,200|
|120 yard sprints||120||4||480|
|6-18-60 yard shuttles||168||2||336|
Total running distance = 3,760 yards or 2.13 miles
In addition we can calculate the percentage of total running distance for each component
|400 meter run||1,744||46.3|
|300 yard shuttles||1,200||31.9|
|120 yard sprints||480||12.7|
|6-18-60 yard shuttles||336||8.9|
From the above chart we can see that the test primary emphasizes endurance through the testing of 400-meter runs. The maximum running time for the 400-meter portions of this fitness test is 1 minute and 30 seconds which equates to a 6:05 mile pace. That’s fast!
The 300-yard shuttles are performed in 25 and 50-yard increments. This will require an athlete to accelerate and change direction 11 and 5 times per repetition, respectively. Because of the inherent stop start component of these tests I do not advise pacing this component. These components should be a sprint. Interestingly, it will be evident from this component who the stronger and faster players are. Weaker and/or slower players will have a difficult time successfully completing this section due to the time constraints.
The maximum allowable time for the 120-yard sprint is 18 to 19 seconds depending on the repetition. For the 18 second requirement an athlete will need to cover 6.66 yards second or run at 13.62 MPH and for the 19 second the athlete will need to cover 6.31 yards per second or run at a speed of 12.90 MPH. This is a fast pace and may feel like a 100% sprint effort due to fatigue from previous elements of the test.
Training for the test
As we saw previously the test is broken down into four components. Let’s say that the test is broken down into four components. These consist of short, medium and long duration sprints/runs. Because of this my recommendation is that you should follow a similar format for your training program.
|400 meter run||1:30||Long|
|300 yard shuttles||1:07 to 1:12||Medium|
|120 yard sprints||18s to 19s||Short|
|6-18-60 yard shuttles||34s||Short|
On each day of your training program you could emphasize a different component. For example:
To train specifically for the test the rest period between all reps and sets should equal two minutes. Here is the hard part. How many repetitions should you perform each day?
Look back to the first table and you will find that total repetitions for the specific elements of the test equal 2 to 4 repetitions. I doubt that you will go to a track and field just to perform 4 120-yard sprints in your daily session.
For the past number of years I have used a range of 300 to 1,500 yards of running volume per session for speed or speed and agility training sessions. You can do more or less than this range depending on your current fitness level but none of these sessions should leave you feeling crushed.
The total volume of the fitness test is a little over 2 miles (2.13). Keep that number in mind when running the “long” 400 meter days. Up to 8 reps of 400-meter runs could be performed. Again- this will depend on your current fitness level as the goal time for each repetition is 1:30.
Try the test out for yourself and let me know in the comments how it went! It is not easy!