How To Plan Your Pre-Season Training
No matter what standard of football you play; whether you are a youth player, amateur, semi-professional or a pro, it is important that you are in the best condition possible for the new season. By putting in some serious work during the summer months before the season kicks off you will give yourself and your team the best chance possible as once the fitness levels are there then you are free to work on tactics and the technical side of the game. Here are some tips for coaches to follow to help get the most out of pre-season training.
Ease The Players Back In
Many coaches may be tempted to over-do it on the first day of pre-season and simply run the players until they drop. This is not the right strategy to adopt as it will delay their recovery time and it will be sure to take any enjoyment out of it. Pre-season training should be something that you can look forward to. Of course it will take a lot of hard work, however, by easing your squad in with a light warm up jog and a few drills it doesn’t have to be as daunting as some make it. Start with a 5 minute jog followed by 5 minutes of good stretching to make sure there are no pulled muscles. Then introduce some drills involving a ball which will always be met more enthusiastically by players and allow them to get their touch back after a few weeks off.
Keep It Fresh, Variety Is Key
Make sure that you do not spend too much time on one particular drill or exercise as this will lead to concentration and enthusiasm levels dropping. Footballers usually have a short attention span and so the key to a good training session is to keep their interest up while giving them the best workout possible. By implementing fun drills such as games of tag, possession games and sprinting challenges your players will not even realize how much work they are putting in as their competitive natures and enjoyment of the games will take over.
Make Sure Everyone Gets To Know Each Other
At all standards of football, from Sunday league right up to the professional ranks, one common factor will be that it is likely that your squad will contain a few new faces. Therefore it is important that you give your new players a chance to integrate within the squad. If you have you players running round and round for miles then they may talk to the person next to them but they will not get the chance to talk as a team. By giving the players regular stretching and water breaks you will give them a chance to get to know each other better. Training drills that involve the whole team communicating with each other such as football tennis is also a good way to introduce new players into the team. Bear in mind that the purpose of pre-season training is to best prepare your team for the season ahead so do not overlook the importance of allowing your team to gel.
End The Session With A Game
Many managers at all levels refuse to allow their players to touch a ball until a couple of weeks into pre-season; this can have negative effects of the morale and enthusiasm of the team. You want your players to be leaving the first pre-season session tired but happy and looking forward to the next one. By ending each training session with a mini match you can see who looks to be in good form, the players will enjoy getting the chance to play and they will put in extra work that they wouldn’t have if you ended with a running drill. You can introduce regulations to the matches such as a 2 touch rule or 10 passes equals a goal which will give the games structure and an end goal.
Strength Is Needed As Well As Skill
It is important for modern day footballers to be physically fit and strong. Strength is becoming more important within the modern game and so giving your players some sessions in the gym will be a great boost to their preparation for the new season. By using free weights such as dumbbells and gym equipment like rowing machines your players will be able to improve on their strength, their physiques and their general stamina.
Jim Anderson is a football coach with 25 years experience within the game. He has noticed an increase in the need for players to be physically stronger within the modern game and has introduced gym equipment and weights such as dumbbells to his training sessions.