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  1. Football training programme for under-18 player

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    Needs Analysis of under- 18 football player

    football training programmeA guest post by Simon Worsnop, this study provides  a needs analysis and periodised football training programme for an 18 year old male academy fullback, based on the requirements of football and the individual.

    It accounts for his test scores and medical history. Although he has had no chronic injuries to date, he exhibits knee valgus on rapid knee and hip flexion.

    Table 1. Performance results of the case study athlete and normative data.

    TestCase Study PlayerNormative Data
    Height1.79m179.3 Boone et al 2012

    177.2 Sporis et al 2009

    Body Mass79kg73.4 Boone et al., 2012

    74.5 Sporis et al 2009

    Body Fat %8.910.8 Rebelo et al., 2012

    10.4 Boone et al., 2012

    12.2 Sporis et al 2009

    VO2max test (Direct Gas Analysis on Treadmill) ml.kg.min-16859.2
Sporis et al 2009,61.2 Vasilios and Kalapotharak 2011,61.2 Boone et al., 2012
    5-Repetition Maximum Squat kg82.5142.47 Comfort et al., 2014

    149.3 Styles et al 2016

    Countermovement Jump35cm46.35 Comfort et al 2014,

    38.6 Boone et al., 2012,

    44.2 Sporis et al 2009,

    40.2 Castagna et al 2013,

    39.2 Arnason et al 2004,

    37.0 Ingerbrightson et al 2013

    5m Sprint Time s1.161.0 Comfort et al 2014

    1.05 Styles et al 2016

    1.43 Sporis et al 2009

    10m Sprint Time s2.131.78 Styles et al 2016

    1.93 Mendez-Villanueva et al., 2011

    2.14 Sporis et al 2009

    20m Sprint Time s3.303.00 Comfort et al 2014

    3.05 Styles et al 2016

    3.22 Manuel-Lopez et al., 2011

    3.36 Sporis et al 2009

    Notes: Boone et al 2012 data on Elite Belgian Midfielders

    Sporis et al 2009 data on Croatian 1st Division Mid Field Players

    Castagna et al 2013 U20 Italian national players

    Ingerbrightson et al 2013 Elite Danish 17 year old players

    Comfort et al 2014 17 year old English Academy players Squat Score is 1RM based on 5RM test

    Styles et al 2016 18 year old British Academy players 1RM 90o Knee Angle Squat.

     

    The player is a fullback. He has two years’ strength and conditioning experience; training twice a week on a physical literacy programme. He is competent in the basic lifts including the front, back and overhead squats. He trains with a sub-elite league academy thrice weekly.

    Table 2: Training Schedule

    18.00 – 18.4518.50 – 20.0020.00 – 20.30
    MondayWeightsTechnical/TacticalSmall Sided Games
    WednesdayWeightsTechnical/TacticalSmall Sided Games
    FridaySpeed & PlyometricsTechnical/TacticalSmall Sided Games
    SaturdayIn Season: Match on most Saturday afternoons

    Introduction

    football training programmeFootball is a high intensity aerobic game game, with a player’s metabolic conditioning being crucial to his performance (Helgerud et al 2001). A Premier League full back covers 10,730m in a game; 1,115m of this above 19km/h (defined as high intensity distance) and 288m above 26.2km/h (defined as sprint distance), comprising a total of 68 sprints (Walker and Hawkins 2018).

    Players sprint every 90 seconds for a distance of between 1.5 m and 100m, with over 90% of these being less than 30 m (Bangsbo 1992), and almost half the sprints less than 10 m (Mirkov et al 2005). Because some of the sprints are from a rolling start or cover distances of over 60m maximum speed is important. Sprints can often decide the outcome of a game, determining who gets to the ball first (Comfort et al 2014). A player changes direction every 2 to 4 seconds,  a total of over 1200 within a game (Bangsbo 1992, Verheijen 1997)
. Therefore, metabolic training should emphasise the repeatability of these high intense activities as opposed to long continuous running.

    European soccer players miss on average 37/300 days through injury (Ehrmann et al 2016). Most injuries occurred in the lower extremities (82.9%), with the most common diagnosis being muscle/tendon injury (32.9%), especially hamstrings (13.3%) and groin (8.3%) (Stubbe et al 2015). One injury that can be career threatening is an Anterior Cruciate Ligament rupture. Whilst these are high profile injuries, their occurrence is relatively low (0.43 per team per season) (Walden et al 2016). From both a player welfare perspective, and in order to be able to select the best team any training programme should aim to reduce injury occurrence.

    Player Needs Analysis

    His anthropometric measurements are within the norms of elite soccer players (Carling et al 2010), body mass being towards the top of the range. Compared with data in the table the player has a very good endurance level measured by his VO2max test. VO2max testing is done via a number of methods, which makes comparisons not ideal. Tests such as MSFT and YoYoIET have an acceleration and deceleration element which a treadmill test does not, possibly explaining the high score in this test. It is important not to get to “hung up” on VO2max scores as they do not always correlate with game related fatigue (Hoffman et al 1999). 

    In comparison with normative data exhibited in Table 1 the player is deficient in speed, strength and power. His squat strength is well below that expected for a player of his status, and improving this must be the priority as this will have a positive effect on speed and power (Comfort et al 2014). Currently his 5 Repetition Maximum (5RM) is 82.5kg which approximates to a 1RM of 92.75kg using the Brzycki Formula. This compares to scores of over 140kg in similar players in the works of Comfort et al., 2014, and Styles et al 2016. Squatting results are sometimes difficult to compare, some being based upon 5RM and others on 1RM, and differences of depth in various data, however even taking all this into account the difference in squat performance is huge. 

    football speed testCounter Movement Jump (CMJ) is a validated measure of power (Comfort et al 2014). The player’s CMJ scores are below those observed in similar aged players; 10cm below English 17 year olds (Comfort et al 2014), 5cm below Italian U20 (Castagna et al 2013) players and 2cm lower than Danish U17 players (Ingerbrightson et al 2013). These scores indicate a deficiency in power.

    The same can be said for his speed scores with his 5, 10 and 20 metre times all being considerably slower than similar scores. The speed tests from some European studies e.g., Sporis (2009) seem at odds with other results, this may be due to the reliability of the timing systems, starting procedures or running surface, therefore I have only considered those conducted most recently by British authors i.e., Comfort et al 2014 and Styles et al 2016.

    An area of concern is the valgus movement of the knee during hip and knee flexion, which may significantly increase strain on the anterior cruciate ligament (Berns et al., 1992). This condition is often associated with weakness in the hip area, specifically the Gluteus medius (Hollman et al 2009). This will be addressed in the programme, although “knee valgus means nothing if you don’t identify the cause” (Cook 2003 p 193). Proprioceptive/coordination training has been shown to reduce ankle injuries and better jumping and landing mechanics have been shown to decrease the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes (Junge and Dvorak  2004), and these should form part of the warm up for field sessions. As stated earlier, there is a prevalence of groin and hamstring injuries within football and therefore exercises such as Nordics and Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlifts are included in the strength programme with hip mobility and lateral lunges being part of the field warm up (not discussed in this article).

    Periodised Footballl Training Programme 

    Metabolic Training

    Players with improved aerobic fitness covered greater distances, increased work intensity, the number of sprints and were involved in more “decisive” plays (Coutts 2005). Running velocity at Lactate Threshold is a key feature of football fitness (Ziogas 2011), therefore speed and anaerobic fitness are important.  Fatigue may also lead to reduced skill accuracy and decision-making ability (Stone et al 2009), and therefore influence game outcome.

    Players spend two thirds training at low intensities; however, only the time spent at high intensity (>90%max HR) improves aerobic fitness (Castagna et al 2011). High-intensity interval training successfully improves aerobic fitness in a relatively short period of time and is an efficient training mode. Eight weeks of interval training increased VO2 max by 10.8 per cent, running velocity at lactate threshold by 13.1 per cent and increased running efficiency by 6.7 per cent (Helgerud et al 2001). Hoff and Helgerud 2004) used an intensity of 90 – 95 per cent of maximum heart rate (HRmax) for a duration of three to eight minutes, with recovery periods of 3 minutes at approximately 60-70 per cent HRmax.

    Small Sided Games (SSG) have beneficial results in football (Helgerud et al 2007); academy footballers using SSG improved performance equally to those following an aerobic interval training protocol (Reilly and White 2004), this protocol thus being an adequate substitute for physical training (Little and Williams 2006). Not all players achieve the same training results from SSG (Baker 2014). Players should be wearing Heart Rate Monitors and/or GPS to monitor the sessions. To provide bespoke metabolic training Maximal Aerobic Speed sessions could be implemented (Baker 2011).

    Owen et al (2012) found a 4-week period of SSG did improve Repeat Sprint Ability (RSA) and Running Efficiency; however, Gabbett and Mulvey (2008) found SSG may not simulate high-intensity, repeated-sprint demands. (The Owen study has some serious design faults, and extrapolating the conclusions is questionable). RSA is often trained separately through position specific pattern runs that include a high-level skill component (Walker and Hawkins 2018), as it may be poorly associated with Intermittent high-intensity endurance (Turner and Stewart 2014).

    Many successful coaches integrate SSGs within a holistic tactical approach known as “tactical periodization” (Delgado-Bordonau, and Mendez-Villaneuva, 2012). If SSG are being used as the sole method of improving metabolic condition they should be periodized appropriately.  Footballers must reach their peak in pre-season and maintain it through a long season (Turner and Stewart 2014). Therefore, the annual plan must reflect this.

    Player numbers, pitch size and the presence of a goal keeper affect physiological outcomes. Larger dimensions increase the aerobic demands (Casamichana and Castellano 2010, Rampinini et al 2007) but reduce the pressure of decision making; reducing field size increases decelerations, accelerations, direction changes and contacts with other players, and should not be introduced in phase 1 (Burgess 2014).

    Thirty minutes training time is allocated to small sided games. Longer periods of work and larger player numbers are used early in the preseason. Players work more intensely in shorter interval periods; therefore, the rest periods are normally of approximately equivalent time. In larger sided games played for a longer time period the rest period is relatively lower. When reducing rest periods it is important to monitor that players are able to maintain the required intensity. Low intensity skill drills are used in the longer recovery periods (> 1 minute).

    Friday’s session occurs when there is no game, therefore whilst the purpose is primarily metabolic conditioning, larger numbers (5 a side) are used to increase the tactical component and the numbers of high velocity actions. Wednesday’s session is in addition to a match on a Saturday, therefore the numbers are smaller to increase the metabolic intensity, with less requirement for tactical stimulation (Turner and Stewart 2014). This is similar to the “intensive” and “extensive” approach (Walker and Hawkins 2018). Constraints in SSGs are adapted to achieve physical and tactical outcomes (Worsnop 2011); however here, for simplicity, equal numbers are used and it would be up to the coach on the day to manipulate these as required.

    Speed and plyometric training are emphasised in Friday’s programme (not analysed in this article); so during the second phase, compared with Monday, SSGs with the smaller area will be used.

    Table 3. Summary of Metabolic Periodisation.

    PhasePlayer NumbersPitch SizeInterval Periods
    1Initially 7 v 7, including a goalkeeper reducing to 5 v 5 without a goalkeeper40 x 30 increasing to 60 x 40The larger sided games will be played for periods of between 4 & 8 minutes. The work time of the smaller sided games will progressively reduce as will the size of the pitch. This should shift the emphasis from aerobic conditioning with some longer sprints to anaerobic with more acceleration, turning and deceleration.
    23 v 3 on Friday

    3 v 3 to 5 v 5 on Wednesday

    15 v 15 to 20 x 25

    25 x 30 to 60 x 40

    3Various dependent upon the available players, injury and fatigue status etc.  A variety will be played within the week and in consecutive weeks rather than specific blocks. This form of concurrent periodization is more applicable to team sports and practically also avoids a player missing a whole stimulus  block
    4
    5

    Strength Training Programme

    In the Pre-season strength training will follow a classical periodization programme, but in the competition phase an undulating approach (Poliquin, 1988).is used with volumes and intensities manipulated on a weekly and daily basis depending upon the playing schedule and the individual’s fatigue status (Turner and Stewart 2014).

    Whilst there will be a greater emphasis on one strength quality within each mesocycle, there should always be some aspect of the others, especially the speed aspect that is so vital for success in football.  Olympic Lifts are used to generate power (Hoffmann et al 2004). The player is competent in various squats, however there is no mention of Olympic Lifts. Therefore, these have not been included, but simple dumbbell and barbell derivatives have been.

    Squats are emphasized, as there are strong correlations with both absolute and relative squat strength and sprint and jumping performance in trained youth and adult soccer players (Comfort et al 2014). A twice weekly 6 week in-season programme with one higher (4 x 5/85-90%) and one lower (3 x 3/85-90%) volume session showed moderate increases in absolute and relative strength and small but significant improvements in sprint time (Styles 2016). Some practitioners do not use back squats (Bosch 2015, Boyle 2010), but they are in a minority, ¾ of rugby conditioners regarding it as the most important exercise (Jones et al 2017), Some exercises are more suitable than others in developing power than maximum strength. Various weighted and unweighted jumps are extremely useful in developing power.

    Table 4: Programme Summary

    Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3Phase 4Phase 5
    Strength EnduranceStrengthStrengthPowerPower
    Day 1
    ExplosiveClean High Pull From FloorClean Pull to ThighSingle Arm Dumb Bell SnatchMid-Thigh Rack PullJump Shrug
    Squat TypeFront SquatFront SquatBack SquatConcentric Box JumpBack Squat + Drop Jump
    Horizontal PressDumb Bell Incline Press

    + Dumb Bell Split Squat

    Incline PressBench PressSmith Machine Bench ThrowsVRT Bench Press
    Vertical PullPull Ups

    + Dumb Bell Lateral Lunge

    Chin UpsWide Grip Pull UpsMedicine Ball SlamsChin Ups
    Hip BentDumb Bell Walking Lunge
    Rotational +/or RehabDumb Bell Step Up +

    Cable Wood Chop

    Nordic Raise
    Day 2
    ExplosiveSnatch Pull From FloorSnatch Pull From ThighBarbell CMJSingle Arm Dumb Bell Snatch
    SL SquatDumb Bell Lunge + CMJBarbell LungeBack Squat
    Vertical PressSeated Dumb Bell Press + SB Leg CurlStanding Dumb Bell PressMilitary PressDumbbell Push PressDumbbell Push Jerk
    Horizontal PullStanding Cable RowBent Over RowSeated Cable RowProne RowSA Standing Cable Row
    Hip StraightKB SL SLDLBB SL SLDLTRX Leg CurlNordic RaiseKB SL SLDL
    Rotational or RehabNordic Raise

    Rotational and Rehabilitation exercises will be added as the coach sees fit dependent upon the player’s status.

    Phase 1 (Weeks 1 to 3)

    training programme for football

    banded hip raises

    Classically this is known as the hypertrophy phase, but more specifically it is strength endurance.  Volume increases in preparation for what follows, using high repetition ranges, lower intensities and supersets. The primary aim is to increase tolerance to the demands being placed on the body and to address individual concerns via bespoke exercises. The number of exercises is greater than in subsequent phases, and includes more unilateral exercises and different planes.

    Specific to this player, split squats and step ups will be included to work the gluteus muscles in a sport specific way (Boyle 2010, Contreras 2009), and exercises for glute activation, e.g. mini-band walks and banded clams should be included during warm ups (Walker and Hawkins 2018)

    The programme must include horizontal and vertical push and pull exercises alongside adequate trunk training. There are a number of approaches to twice a week training, the one used offers a balanced approach, where the various exercise groups are spread over the two days. Where possible exercises within a preceding phase act as a preparation for the next.

    Table 5 Phase 1 Strength Endurance Week (1 to 3)

    Monday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Clean High Pull From FloorFront SquatDumbbell Incline Press

    + Dumbbell Split Squat

    Pull Ups

    + Dumbbell Lateral Lunge

    Dumbbell Step Up +

    Cable Wood Chop

    Week 13 x 12

    40% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 12

    60% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 each leg

    45s between sets

    Week 23 x 12

    50% 1RM 60s between sets

    4 x 12

    60% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 12 – 15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 -15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12- 15 each leg

    45s between sets

    Week 33 x 12

    60% 1RM 60s between sets

    4 x 12

    70% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 12 – 15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 -15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12- 15 each leg

    45s between sets

    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more but in this phase you should have a “repetition to spare” working in good form not to failure. For the other exercises choose weights that will allow you to work within the given rep’ range. Where there are two exercises these are carried with the second immediately following the first. Use assistance bands with the pull ups if required

    Front squats are used as they use less load than back squats. A clean high pull uses less load than a pull to the thigh, and is appropriate to this phase.  Super setting allows volume to be added in various lower limb exercises to improve specific strength endurance.

    Table 6 Phase 1 Strength Endurance (Week 1 to 3)

    Wednesday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Snatch Pull From FloorDumb Bell Lunge + CMJSeated Dumb Bell Press + Swiss Ball Leg CurlStanding Cable RowKettlebell Single Leg Stiff Legged DeadiftNordic Raise
    Week 13 x 12

    40% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 12 el +10

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 +12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 each leg

    45s between sets

    3 x 8
    Week 23 x 12

    50% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 15 el+ 10

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 – 15 +12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 -15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12- 15 each leg

    45s between sets

    3 x 12
    Week 33 x 12

    60% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 15 el + 10

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 – 15 + 12

    45s between sets

    3 x 12 -15

    45s between sets

    3 x 12- 15 each leg

    45s between sets

    3 x 15
    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more but in this phase you should have a “repetition to spare” working in good form not to failure. For the other exercises choose weights that will allow you to work within the given rep’ range. Where there are two exercises these are carried with the second immediately following the first. Use assistance bands with the pull ups if required  For the Nordic Curls attach your feet under the feet hooks of a cable machine, use a band around your chest attached to the column so that you main control throughout the descent (Refer to the video on the Academy Facebook Page)

    Specific details for Nordic curls are included as they are often poorly executed.

    Table 7 Phase 2 Strength (Week 4 -6)

    Monday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Clean Pull to ThighFront SquatIncline PressChin UpsNordic Raise
    Week 43 x 5

    75% -85% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 8

    80% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 8

    80% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 8
    Week 53 x 4

    80 -90% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6

    85% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6

    85% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 12
    Week 63 x 3

    85-95% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 15
    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more Make sure you have carried out any prehab before starting your programme and are fully warmed up and mobilized.  Use 2 -3 warm up sets prior to your work sets for the clean pulls and squats. Use weighted vests or belts for the chin ups. For the Nordic use a lighter resistance band than in phase 1.

    Clean pulls develop “strength speed”. The rest period, less than that used by competitive lifters is more appropriate for footballers.

    Table 8 Phase 2 Strength (Week 4 -6)

    Wednesday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Snatch Pull From ThighBarbell LungeStanding Dumb Bell PressBent Over RowBB Single Leg Stiff Leg DeadLift
    Week 43 x 5

    75% -80% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6 each leg

    90s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 6
    Week 53 x 4

    80-85%1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6 each leg

    90s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 6
    Week 63 x 3

    85-95% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4 each leg

    90s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 6
    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more. Make sure you have carried out any prehab before starting your programme and are fully warmed up and mobilized.  Use 2 -3 warm up sets prior to your work sets for the snatch pulls and lunges. If you have any back soreness/fatigue substitute supported bent over dumbbell rows for barbell row

    The snatch pull from thigh is used on the second day as it uses less weight. Lifts from the hang have a greater speed component than those from the floor.

    Table 9 Phase 3 Strength (Weeks 7 – 12)

    Monday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Single Arm Dumb Bell SnatchBack SquatBench PressWide Grip Pull Ups
    Weeks 7 – 83 x 5

    60s between sets

    3 x 5

    85% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 8

    80% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    Weeks 9 – 103 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6

    85% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    Week 11-123 x 3

    60s between sets

    3 x 3

    92%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more Make sure you have carried out any prehab before starting your programme and are fully warmed up and mobilized.  Use 2 -3 warm up sets prior to your work sets for the squats. Use weighted vests or belts for the pull ups.

    Back squats use more weight than front squats providing greater neurological stimulation. Due to the extra stresses placed on the body by the back squat, single arm dumbbell snatches are used as a power exercise as opposed to an Olympic barbell derivative.

    Table 10 Phase 3 Strength (Weeks 7 – 12)

    Wednesday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Back SquatMilitary PressSeated Cable RowTRX Leg Curl
    Weeks 7 – 83 x 3

    80% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 5

    85% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 8

    80% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    Weeks 9 – 103 x 3

    82%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 6

    85% 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    Weeks 11- 123 x 3

    85% 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 3

    92%+ 1RM 90s between sets

    3 x 4

    90%+ 1RM 60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, if you are feeling stronger you may be able to add slightly more Make sure you have carried out any prehab before starting your programme and are fully warmed up and mobilized.  Use 2 -3 warm up sets prior to your work sets for the squats and military press. Maintain bridge position in TRX leg curl (check video on Academy Facebook page)

    TRX curls are used as opposed to a traditional exercise such as the RDL to reduce load on the back.

    Table 11 Phase 4 Power (Week 13 – 18)

    Monday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Mid-Thigh Rack PullConcentric Box JumpSmith Machine Bench ThrowsMedicine Ball Slams
    Week 13 – 143 x 5 70% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 5

    90s between sets

    3 x 8 20% 1RM 60s between sets3 x 5 (use 10% of body weight)

    60s between sets

    Week 15- 163 x 4 75% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    90s between sets

    3 x 6 25% 1RM 60s between sets3 x 6

    60s between sets

    Week 17- 183 x 3 80% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 3

    90s between sets

    3 x 4 30% 1RM 60s between sets3 x 4

    60s between sets

    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, do not be tempted to add extra weight to the bench throw as we aiming for speed of movement as well as speed of muscle contraction. For the box jumps aim to increase the height of the box each week.

    This session concentrates almost exclusively on power, with the rack pull also offering some strength stimulus. Bench throws load should be low in an inexperienced athlete (Baker 2001), velocity measurement would be useful.

    Table 12  Phase 4 Power (Week 13 – 18)

    Wednesday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Barbell CMJDumbbell Push PressProne RowNordic Raise
    Week 13 – 143 x 5 25% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 5

    90s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 8
    Week 15- 163 x 4 30% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    90s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 12
    Week 17- 183 x 3 35% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 3

    90s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 15
    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, do not be tempted to add extra weight to the CMJ as we aiming for speed of movement as well as speed of muscle contraction. For the Nordic Raise choose an appropriate resistance band if required.

    Dumbbell Push Presses and supported rows are used in case of residual fatigue from the long season. CMJ load should be low in an inexperienced athlete (Baker 2001), velocity measurement would be useful.

    Table 13  Phase 5 Power (Week 19 – 24)

    Monday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Jump ShrugBack Squat + Drop JumpVRT Bench PressChin Ups
    Week 19 – 203 x 5 30% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 5 (75%) + 5

    60s between squat and jump and subsequent squat

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

     

    Week 21- 223 x 4 35% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 4 (80%) + 5

    60s between squat and jump and subsequent squat

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    Week 23- 243 x 3 40% 1RM

    60s between sets

    3 x 3 (85%) + 5

    60s between squat and jump and subsequent squat

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    NotesOn major exercises work to the percentages 1RM given, do not be tempted to add extra weight as we aiming for speed of movement as well as speed of muscle contraction. For the drop jumps aim to increase the height of the box each week (you will be given the exact depths to work from). Use 20% load from elastic bands for VRT Bench Press
    best football training programme

    Jump training

    Back squats are re-introduced, otherwise the player would not squat for over 12 weeks. The load is a compromise between providing enough stimulus and not inducing fatigue. Jump Shrugs are used as the power exercise, with the emphasis on the speed part of the speed-strength curve. Variable Resistance Training is included as it improves speed strength in academy age athletes (Rivie`re.2017).

    Table 14  Phase 5 Power (Week 19 – 24)

    Wednesday

    18.30 – 19.15

    Single Arm Dumb Bell SnatchDumbbell Push JerkSingle Arm Standing Cable RowKettlebell Single Leg Stiff Leg DeadLift
    Week 19 – 203 x 5

    60s between sets

    3 x 5

    60s between sets

     

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

    3 x 8

    60s between sets

     

    Week 21- 223 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

     

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    3 x 6

    60s between sets

    Week 23- 243 x 3

    60s between sets

    3 x 3

    60s between sets

     

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    3 x 4

    60s between sets

    NotesMake sure you work on scapula retraction during the cable row.

    Single limb exercises are used on “day 2”, to reduce the risk of fatigue when using a heavier barbell alternative, and emphasising the speed element of power.

    Metabolic Conditioning

    Table 15  Phase 1 (Week 1 – 3)

    WednesdayFriday
    Week 17 v 7 including goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    3 x 8 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    6 v 6 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 x 6 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 26 v 6 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 x 6 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 5 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 36 v 6 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 x 6 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 6 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Table 16  Phase 2 (Week 4 – 6)

    WednesdayFriday
    Week 45 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    3 v 3 no goalkeeper

    Pitch Size 25 x 20

    4 v 4 minutes

    4 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 54 v 4 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    3 v 3 no goalkeeper

    Pitch Size 20 x 15

    5 v 3 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 63 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery between sets 1 & 2 and 2 & 3, 2 minutes light skills between sets 3 & 4 (Do not tell players about the reduced rest period, note how they react mentally and physically)

    3 v 3 no goalkeeper

    Pitch Size 15 x 15

    6 v 2.5 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Table 17  Phase 3 (Week 7 – 12)

     

    WednesdayFriday
    Week 75 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 83 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    6 x 2.5 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 94 v 4 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 103 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    (2 x (4 x 2) minutes)

    1 minute recovery between reps 2 minutes between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 115 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    5 v 4 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 123 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    2 x (4 x 2) minutes)

    1 minute recovery between reps 2 minutes between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Table 18  Phase 4 (Week 13 – 18)

    WednesdayFriday
    Week 135 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 143 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    6 x 2 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 154 v 4 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 163 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    6 x 2 minutes

    1.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 175 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 x 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 183 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    8 x 2 minutes

    1.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Table 19  Phase 5 (Week 19 – 24)

    WednesdayFriday
    Week 195 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 203 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    6 v 2.5 minutes

    2 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 214 v 4 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 223 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    (2 x (4 x 2) minutes)

    1 minute recovery between reps 2 minutes between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 235 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    5 v 4 minutes

    2.5 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 50 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Week 243 v 3 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 40 x 30

    2 x (4 x 2) minutes 1 minute recovery between reps 2 minutes between sets

    5 v 5 no goalkeeper.

    Pitch Size 60 x 40

    4 v 4 minutes

    3 minutes light skills drills as recovery

    Useful Resources

    Gambetta Vern (2007) Athletic Development, The Art and Science of Functional Sports Conditioning Human Kinetics Champaign Ill

    Strudwick Tony (2016) (Editor) Soccer Science, Using Science to Develop Players and Teams Human Kinetics Champaign Ill

    References

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Engebretsen L, and Bahr R. 2004 Physical fitness, injuries, and team performance in soccer. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36: 278–285,.
    • Baker, D. 2001 Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 15(2):198-209,
    • Baker D 2011 Recent trends in high- intensity aerobic training for field sports UKSCA Journal  Issue 22
    • Baker D 2014 High Powered Workshops Presentation 5
Current Trends in Endurance Training for Field, Court and Short Duration athletes. Workshop Sheffield 2014
    • Bangsbo J. 1992 Time and motion characteristics of competition soccer. In: Science Football (Vol. 6),. pp. 34–40
    • Berns G S, Hull M L, Paterson H A. 1992.  Strain in the anteriormedial bundle of the anterior cruciate ligament under combined loading. J Orthop Res 10167–176.
    • Boone, J, Vaeyens, R, Steyaert, A, Vanden Bossche, L, and Bourgois, 2012 J. Physical fitness of elite Belgian soccer players by player position. J Strength Cond Res 26(8): 2051–2057,
    • Bosch, F. 2015 Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach Uitgevers Rotterdam
    • Boyle, M. 2010 Advances in Functional Training: Training Techniques for Coaches, Personal Trainers and Athletes On Target Publications Santa Cruz CA
    • Burgess, D. 2014 Optimising Pre-Season Training in Team sports in Joyce, D, and Lewindon, D. High Performance Training for Team Sports Human Kinetics Champaign Ill
    • Carling, C and Orhant, E. 2010 Variation in body composition in professional soccer players: interseasonal and intraseasonal changes and the effects of exposure time and player position. J Strength Cond Res 24(5): 1332-1339,
    • Casamichana D and Castellano J. 2010 Time motion, heart rate, perceptual and motor behaviour demands in small-sided games: Effects of field size. J Sports Sci 28: 1615– 1623, 2010.
    • Castagna, C and Castellini, E. 2013 Vertical jump performance in Italian male and female national team soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 27(4): 1156–1161,
    • Castagna, C, Impellizzeri, FM, Chaouachi, A, Bordon, C, and Manzi, V. 2011. Effect of training intensity distribution on aerobic fitness variables in elite soccer players: A case study. J Strength Cond Res 25: 66–71,
    • Comfort, P., Haigh, A. and Matthews, M. J. 2012 ‘Are changes in maximal squat strength during preseason training reflected in changes in sprint performance in football players?’ J Strength Cond Res, 26: pp. 772-776.
    • Comfort, P, Stewart, A, Bloom, L, and Clarkson, B. 2014 Relationships between strength, sprint, and jump performance in well-trained youth soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 28(1): 173–177
    • Contreras, B 2009. Advanced Techniques in Glutei Maximi Strengthening ebook
    • Cook G 2003 Athletic Body in Balance: Optmal movement skills and conditioning for performance Human Kinetics Champaign Ill
    • Coutts, A. 2005 Training aerobic capacity for improved performance in team sports Sports Coach 27 4
    • Delgado-Bordonau, J, L, and Mendez-Villaneuva, A 2012 Tactical Periodization: Mourinho’s Best Kept Secret Soccer Journal May/June 2012 p29 -34
    • Ehrmann, FE, Duncan, CS, Sindhusake, D, Franzsen, WN, and Greene, DA. 2016 GPS and injury prevention in professional soccer. J Strength Cond Res 30(2): 360–367,
    • Gabbett, T, J and Mulvey, M, J. 2008 Time and Motion Analysis of Small-Sided Training Games and Competition in Elite Women Soccer Players Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(2), 543-552.
    • Helgerud J, Hoydal K, Wang E, Karlsen T, Berg P, Bjerkaas M, Simonsen T, Helgesen C, Hjoth N, Bach R, and Hoff J. 2007 Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39: 665–671,.
    • Helgerud J, Engen L, Wisloff U, and Hoff J. 2001 Aerobic endurance training improves soccer performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33: 1925–1931,.
    • Hoff, J, and Helgerud, J. 2004 “Endurance and strength training for soccer players” Sports Medicine, 34(3): 165-80.
    • Hoffman, J.R., J. Cooper, M. Wendell, and J. Kang. 2004 Comparison of olympic versus traditional power lifting training programs in football players. J. Strength Cond. Res. 18(1):129– 135.
    • Hoffman J R.; Epstein S; Einbinder, M; Weinstein, Y 1999 The influence of aerobic capacity on anaerobic performance and recovery indices in basketball players Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 13:407-411
    • Hollman J.H, Ginos B,E, Kozuchowski J, Vaughn A,S, Krause D,A, Youdas J,W. 2009 Relationships between Knee Valgus, Hip-Muscle Strength, and Hip- Muscle Recruitment During a Single-Limb Step-Down. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 18: 104-117.
    • Ingebrigtsen, J, Shalfawi, SAI, Tønnessen, E, Krustrup, P, and Holtermann, A. 3013 Performance effects of 6 weeks of aerobic production training in junior elite soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 27(7): 1861–1867,
    • Jones, TW, Smith, A, Macnaughton, LS, and French, DN. 2017 Variances in strength and conditioning practice in elite Rugby Union between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3358–3371,
    • Junge A and Dvorak J. 2004 Soccer injuries: A review on incidence and prevention. Sports Med 34: 929–938
    • Little, T, and Williams, A. 2006 Suitability of soccer training drills for endurance training Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research  20(2), 316-319)
    • Manuel-Lopez, S., Marques, C. M., Roland, V. D. T. and Gonzalez-Badillo, J. 2011 ‘Relationships between Vertical Jump and Full Squat Power Outputs with Sprint Times in U21 Soccer Players’.  Journal of Human Kinetics: 135 – 144. DOI:10.2478/v10078-011-0081-2.
    • Mendez-Villanueva A., Buchheit, M., Kuitunen, S., Douglas, A., Peltola, E. and Bourdon, P. 2011 ‘Age-related differences in acceleration, maximum running speed, and repeated-sprint performance in young soccer players’.  Journal Sports Science, 29: 477-484.
    • Mirkov D, Nedeljkovic A, Kukolj M, Ugarkovic D, and Jaric S. 2008 Evaluation of the reliability of soccer-specific field tests.
J Strength Cond Res 22: 1046–1050,.
    • Owen, AL, Wong, DP, Paul, D, and Dellal, A. 2012 Effects of a periodized small-sided game training intervention on physical performance in elite professional soccer. J Strength Cond Res 26(10): 2748–2754,
    • Poliquin, C, 1988 Five ways to increase the effectiveness of your strength training program. NSCA Journal 10(3):34-39
    • Rampinini E, Impellizzerri FM,
Castagna C, Abt G, Chamari K, Sassi A, and Marcora SM. 2007 Factors influencing physiological responses to small-sided games. J Sports Sci 25: 650–666,.
    • Rebello, A. et al. 2012 ‘Anthropometric Characteristics, Physical Fitness and Technical Performance of Under-19 Soccer Players by Competitive Level and Field Position’. Internal Journal Sports Medicine, 34(4): pp. 312-317.
    • Reilly, T, and White, C. 2004 Small sided games as an alternative to interval training for soccer players J Sports Sci 22:559
    • Rivie`re, M, Louit, L, Strokosch, A, and Seitz, LB. 2017 Variable resistance training promotes greater strength and power adaptations than traditional resistance training in elite youth rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 947–955,
    • Sporis G, Jukic I, Ostojic SM, and Milanovic D. 2009 Fitness profiling in soccer: Physical and physiologic characteristics of elite players. J Strength Cond Res 23: 1947–1953
    • Stolen TK, Chamari C, Castagna C, and Wisloff U. 2005 Physiology of soccer: An update. Sports Med 35: 501–536.
    • Stone K, L, and Oliver, J,L, 2009 The effect of 45 minutes of soccer-specific exercise on the performance of soccer skills. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 4 163 -175.
    • Stubbe, J. H., van Beijsterveldt, A.-M. M. C., van der Knaap, S., Stege, J., Verhagen, E. A., van Mechelen, W., & Backx, F. J. G. 2015. Injuries in Professional Male Soccer Players in the Netherlands: A Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(2), 211–216. http://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.64
    • Styles, WJ, Matthews, MJ, and Comfort, P.2016  Effects of strength training on squat and sprint performance in soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 30(6): 1534–1539, 2016—
    • Turner, A, and Stewart, P,F, 2014 Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players Journal of Strength and Conditioning 36 (4) p1 – 13
    • Verheijen R. Handbuch fur Fussballkondition. Leer, Germany: BPF Versand. 1997.
    • Waldén M, Hägglund M, Magnusson H, et al 2016 ACL injuries in men’s professional football: a 15-year prospective study on time trends and return-to-play rates reveals only 65% of players still play at the top level 3 years after ACL rupture Br J Sports Med;50:744-750.
    • Walker, G, J, and Hawkins, R. 2018 Structuring a Program in Elite Professional Soccer Journal of Strength and Conditioning 40 (3) p72-82
    • Worsnop, S 2011 Rugby Games and Drills Human Kinetics Champaign Ill
    • Ziogas, GG, Patras, KN, Stergiou, N, and Georgoulis, AD. 2011 Velocity at lactate threshold and running economy must also be considered along with maximal oxygen uptake when testing elite soccer players during preseason. J Strength Cond Res 25(2): 414–419.
  2. Are you fit enough to play in the Champions League Final?

    3 Comments

    Only the fittest will prevail.

    As the world’s top footballers prepare to meet in the Champions League Final this weekend, we explore what it takes to make it at the highest level.

    Advances in Sports Science have revealed the highly energetic demands within the modern game, what we as coaches then do is help you get ready to play and meet those demands.

    What is football fitness?

    Modern footballers run about 10km within a 90 minute game. One Champions League Final saw Barcelona’s Xavi cover a distance of 11.95km.

    Due to the length of a football match, roughly 90% of energy release is aerobic (3), with the average oxygen uptake (VO2) for elite footballers measuring roughly 70% of maximum (1).

    However in addition to sustaining effort for the full duration of a game, the ability to repeatedly produce rapid short bursts is vitally important.

    Being able to run at speed and change direction quickly in order to beat an opponent to the ball or evade a tackle will give a player a significant advantage.

    Top class players perform between 150-250 brief intense actions during a game, accounting for roughly 30% of activities within a game (1). The distance covered during high intensity efforts varies by position (2) and is shown below.football fitness

    How can I get fit for football?

    It is clear that footballers need the ability to work at high speed, to repeat the high speed activities regularly throughout a game and to continuously work at low intensity in between efforts. So how do you train all of these components together?

    agility for footballBefore trying to increase the quantity of high intensity work in training, it is first necessary to train the quality of speed.

    This will involve training straight line speed to improve the ability to run faster as well as agility to change direction at speed.

    Changing direction is a very energy consuming movement, and the ability to do so efficiently will save energy which can be utilised later on.

    Once the foundation of quality has been set, the quantity of high intensity work can be increased to improve speed endurance. Exercises such as shuttle runs and repeated sprints can be used to train speed endurance. However to more accurately mirror the demands of the game, football specific drills can be utilised.

    (We are currently working with 3 members of the England team preparing for the Paralympics. Their game is different, but we use the same principles to help them get fit for intense competition).

    Conclusion

    To maximise the effectiveness of these training strategies, speed and speed endurance work should be done regularly and when the players are not fatigued.

    Devote 10-15 minutes at the start of technical/tactical training sessions to speed and speed endurance work: this allows quality to be developed.

    The lower intensity work can follow this and will provide the base for the continuous work capacity needed to sustain effort for the duration of a game.

    This allows players to practice skills in a fatigued state, preparing them for a game situation. It is also important to monitor fitness through testing.

    If you want to get fit for football without getting injured, then why not start now with our Sports Training System?

    Matt Durber 

    References

    1)      Bangsbo, J., Mohr, M. & Krustrup, P. (2006) Physical and metabolic demands of training and match-play in the elite football player, Journal of Sports Sciences, 24 (7), 665-674.

    2)      Bradley, P.S., Sheldon, W., Wooster, B., Olsen, P., Boanas, P. & Krustrup, P. (2009) High-intensity running in English F.A. Premier League soccer matches, Journal of Sports Sciences, 27 (2), 159-168.

    3)     Hoff, J., Wisloff, U., Engen, L.C., Kemi, O.J. & Helgerud, J. (2002) Soccer
    specific aerobic endurance training, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36, 218-221.

  3. Speed Training: Frans Bosch

    6 Comments

    We (the Dutch) lost the World Cup Final against Germany in 1974, our biggest willem van henegentrauma after the war.

    One of the players in the famous ‘74 team, Willem van Hanegem, was interviewed some two decades later by a soccer magazine. One question was, what his reply would be to a wide spread opinion that we lost, because he was very, very slow.

    Willem answered; “speed is not existing”. This quote made the cover of the magazine and became famous.

    Back then it immediately made sense to me without really knowing why and now I want to add; “and strength is not existing either”. Thinking in the basic motor properties, like we usually do, does not make sense to me anymore.

    There is no stand-alone entity named “speed”.

    The fastest sprinters do not have faster limb movements, than slower runners. There is no strong relationship between fast concentric contractions and running speed. The link between the % of FT fibers and sprint performance is by far not as well proven by science as always is stated.

    If anything, new scientific insight drifts away from this stand-alone idea of speed. Running speed may well be limited by loss of robustness and increasing fragility of movement patterns.

    The way Dynamic System Theory has shed a different light on how we control our running patterns is fascinating and calls for an integrated approach of training.

    Dutch football speedSpeed, strength, coordination and even endurance are not separated entities, but merely doors, that give access to the same building.

    So do not train them separate, but treat them as variations of the same overall theme.

    The value of what we do, is not in the sum of the trained elements, but in the interaction between them.

    Rumor has, that Willem was not just very slow. He also was very nearsighted, half blind. Still he was from a tactical point of view one of the best players we ever had.

    Frans Bosch – author of “Running- Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology Applied in Practice”

    Run Faster boschSee our Run Faster programme here.

    Or buy the ebook Run Faster  here

     

  4. How to get faster for football

    5 Comments

    How to get faster for football

    With the football season finally over (for barely a few weeks!), we take a look at how you can use the off season to give you or your team the best preparation for the season to come.

    Football is an increasingly high intensity and high tempo game, often decided by the smallest of margins. Having the fastest players then gives your team the best chance of success.

    Speed training for football

    There are two main aspects of fitness which relate to speed for football:

    1. Maximum speed– needed when chasing a long pass or an opponent.
    2. Changing direction at speed (agility)– needed to beat an opponent in a small space or to track an opponent who is trying to move into space off the ball. 

    Both aspects are vital for performance in different scenarios in the game; however they require different physical abilities and should therefore be coached as separate skills.

    This article will focus on improving running technique and speed. For more information on agility, see our pre-season guide to agility training

    Maximum Speed

    football speed trainingThe ability to run fast in a straight line can be broken down into two components:

    1) Acceleration– the ability to get to top speed quickly.

    The key to acceleration is horizontal displacement of body weight. Although this requires force which can be achieved through strength training, what is more important is how the force is applied and how quickly.

    Training sessions (gym and field based) should include work on applying force in the right direction and as fast as possible to improve acceleration.

    2) Running technique– the coordination of the body to maintain horizontal velocity with minimum energy expenditure.

    Running is a skill, with key technical points to be coached. These points can be worked on in specific running sessions (see below), but can also be included in warm ups and worked on during skill sessions too.

    How to apply this to football training

    football speed trainingPre-season training is the optimal time to begin working on speed and running technique as players are generally fresh after a few weeks off post-season.

    Speed sessions could be scheduled as standalone sessions, or at the start of a team session followed by technical skills training.

    Try our speed guide with 6 sessions each designed to work on a different aspect of running technique. With 2 sessions a week, you have a ready made 3 week speed block to greatly enhance the athleticism of your players.

    It is important to remember that these sessions should focus on quality, rather than quantity. Running is a technical skill and once players begin to get tired, their running mechanics will decline.

    Players should have adequate recovery between efforts in order to perform the exercises well and reinforce good technique. Think of the 4 Rs:

    • Run Well
    • Run Fast
    • Rest
    • Repeat

    Once players have developed their running technique and speed, sessions can then be designed to increase speed endurance and conditioning. Now your players will be able to run further, faster and then repeat that speed.

    Without speed training, what will they be able to endure?

    Matt Durber 

    We are currently running weekly “speed training for team sports” sessions in Willand, Devon. Contact James for details.

  5. Men In Tights! Lessons to be learnt from training for the performing arts.

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    Nick Allen is the clinical director of the Jerwood Centre, and looks after the dancers of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.  His lecture was well structured, informative and entertaining. He gave an overview of the different aspects of dance training, the problems he encounters and some of the solutions.

    Dancers are athletes

    The dancers do 150 shows a year, about 8 shows a week when it is running. Their day might start with a 90 minute class, rehearsal in the afternoon, perform in the evening. They sometimes rehearse and perform different shows on the same day.

    They train on a flat studio surface, with good force reduction properties. The stages are irregular in nature, with variations in force reduction properties, and it has a 4% rake (tilt) from back to front, to allow the audience to see all the dancers.

    So they train and perform on two very different surfaces. Allen then went through some stats and ideas on how they have tried to bridge this gap through improving the home stage, but travelling is still problematic.  

    The impact is not helped by the fact that the dancers wear shoes that they proceed to batter to make them look better, and thereby negate any hope of having support in their footwear.

    Wearing costumes also adds stress to the body, with some dancers losing 5kg of weight in each show, despite taking on 3 litres of fluid. Allen has been working with costume designers to try and make the costumes more breathable.

    Injury management

    ballet fitnessAll this led into the type of injuries the dancers have: medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) is very common and the males have more thoracic back injuries (due to lifting females) and the females have more facet joint injuries in the lumbar spine.  The ACL rupture protocol is for a 9 month rehab, which leads to stronger knees on return. Allen used to work in premiership rugby, where 6 month protocols were used, and this led to further injuries.

    Allen then went through the training philosophy, which looked at building the foundations first. This involved 4 layers of “bricks”with the bottom being motor learning; the next layer being flexibility, strength and skill, the next layer being endurance and the top layer being performance. (I really liked this graphic and it makes a lot of sense to use something similar with all athletes).

    Allen then compared the likelihood of injury between athletes and dancers at 2 different ends of a continuum. An athlete will have levels of strength and fitness, with less skill, so if they get a move wrong they can cope with it.

    But get it wrong too often and then they will get injured.  A dancer on the other hand will be very efficient at each move, but weak, so if they land or jump or lift out of place- they get injured.

    Allen then described how he looks at the function of the movement, understanding the asymmetries within the dance. He looks at function over pathology, and efficiency of movement.  He ended the lecture with an aside about bone health – 80% of the dancers have vitamin D deficiencies, some smoke, some are amenorrhoeic – which leads to more stress fractures.

    Summary

    A very informative lecture, which showed a sound methodology of analysis and training, together with some imagination and innovation.  I will be following up on a lot of this information over the next couple of months.

    You might like: are girls more flexible than boys?

  6. Fitness testing for football: Mladen Jovanović

    1 Comment

    Discussion with Mladen Jovanović

    football fitness testing

    Mladen

    Mladen is the physical preparation coach at Hammarby football club in Sweden. He writes an excellent blog on physical preparation and analysis for football. Some of his ideas led me to produce the work capacity infographic.

    In preparation for the fitness testing CPD workshop, I asked different coaches for their input. Here are the Q&A with Mladen.

    Q: Do you fitness test players? If so, how much of the information that is obtained is actually used to influence your programming? Do the football coaches understand the results?

    (I ask because I see a lot of generic testing for testing sake, and the coaches can’t interpret the data, let alone the players!)

    A:I believe most if not all testing should be “action based” or provide some form of player profile and help individualize the training program, along with showing the effectiveness of the same.

    Testing for the sake of testing is pointless. I suppose when talking about ‘fitness’ you suppose aerobic/anaerobic energy systems – as far as you know there are laboratory and field tests and both has pros and cons.

    I am big fan of Martin Buchheit test 30-15IFT, which is a form of intermittent beep test. I even developed my own version which is still in beta testing called IE20-10.

    The point behind these, and here is where most coaches make mistakes, is to make tests training specific, rather than sport specific. If you plan doing long slow runs, then test them in a similar test or time trial. If you plan doing more short runs with change of direction, like 15-15 or 30-30, well test the guys in similar way (i.e. 30-15IFT or IE20-10).

    I would say that if a pre-school kid can’t understand the test rationale, then one needs to work on his explanation skills 🙂 So, yes, coaches should be able to understand the logic behind it.

    Q: How do you monitor overall workload of the players: including the intangibles like travel, sleep disruption, warm ups, gym work, technical/ tactical work and endurance sessions.

    (I see people monitoring part or some of this, or one staff member measuring endurance, another the gym, with little coordination).

    A: Start with the simple attendance sheet. Training location, time and duration, type, field type, enlist players and their status (full training, part training, sick, etc). This is a starting point.

    After one has this up and running, one can play with tracking couple of parameters as well. If you have access to GPS or Polar Team2 you could track these, if not basic sRPE and short Wellness Questionnaire should suffice.

    Add some performance tracking (like jump power or something simple and similar) and you have decent monitoring system. Using this you can compare what is planned to what is actual workload and how do players react to it.

    Please note that it is not only the workload that affects players readiness – remember the 24/7 concept. Sometimes the recovery and other factors need to be taken into account, and as would Dan Baker say no amount of good planning and monitoring could replace good old professional habits of the players.

    Q: Do you analyse movement quality at all? If so, do you see any strengths and weaknesses according to position, or even by age? (Are the senior players good athletes, or have they limitations?)

    A: We do some basic screening and we plan making things even simpler. What the research has said is that age and previous injury are the best predictors of the next injury. So I believe older players should have more individualized workload. Maybe skip one or two team practice and work on strength and power, since one tend to lose these as they get older.

    One also need to take into consideration normal variability and asymmetry into account, since not all of it is red flag. Same thing with all ‘screening’ test. Take it with the grain of salt IMHO.

    Q: Top 5 books to read? What are you currently reading?

    A: At the moment I mostly read psychology – habit building, managing irrational behavior, communication, assertiveness and some philosophy (big fan of stoics).  When it comes to training related books I am reading the new edition of Physiological Tests for Elite Athletes by AIS.

    Thanks again for your time Mladen. I really am interested in your insights on football fitness testing, it is important to see what is happening with other coaches in the real world, rather then the text books.

    You can follow Mladen on twitter here 

    Further reading:

    How to get faster for football.

  7. World Cup Preparations: The pitfalls

    1 Comment

    Two interesting, but ultimately sad stories:

    The first on yet another young footballing prodigy who has failed to live up to the unrealistic expectations of the “Talent scouts”  Freddy Adu. Where will this young man be in 10 years time? Why does football insist on doing this?

    The second on the sad diagnosis of Zac Herold of Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is an abnormal thickening of the heart wall. It is lucky they got this in time, as if undiagnosed or recognised then it can lead to heart failure.

    (One of my team mates with this condition, didn’t get it diagnosed and died in training.)

    So two more young players potentially on the footballing scrapheap. Do any football Clubs actually develop players, or is it a random process and survival of the fittest and earliest developers?

    (Thanks Steve for the input.)