Thursday, January 31, 2008

Natural Athletes

Is our western society decreasing the number of natural athletes through the regimented training strategies we use with children. I was recently in Fiji and was facinated by the local kids that would sneak into our resort to use the pool. The flips and dives over the vollyball net made my children and me stand and clap and I started to think I bet they have had no sessions with a personal trainer or gymnastic coach. We have much to learn from the idea of letting kids do their own thing without boundaries if we want to develop athleticism. sure enough the next day my kids were trying the same thing with some success until thier conservative Dad was worried about their safety. See even I have to let the athleticism develop

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Physio Addiction

Im just wondering if anyone else has problems with players who are addicted to the physio. In that I mean that the physio becomes God Like and that injuries seem to become greater and more time consuming than they really are. Im not sure if Im on the right track its just an observation that when a physio is present more players are injured. Im not against physio's as I think they do a great job but I also think they err on the side of conservation without movement to regularly. Im interested in your thoughts

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Psychology and athletic development

I have been very concerned recently by the concept of a player testing very well but not performing up to their testing results. For example the player who has a 65+ VO2 but fails to make recovery runs when the ball has been lost but this same player if they were doing a et of intervals would be leading the pack. I am interested if others have seen a similar problem with players still pacing themselves although they are conditioned to not have to worry about pacing. I have been very strong with this point recently trying to get players to trust how well prepared they are. I welcome feedback

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Head Coaches

I think our job is dictated by the relationship you have with the head coach. There is no doubt without the aid of a good head coach our job is very very difficult. This year I am very fortunate to have a great head coach (Milan Blagojevich) who has made our pre season such a success. He has given me the freedom to plan the training phases and where there are sections for bal orientated conditioning he has followed the plan perfectly. Too often there is conflict between the head coach and Director of Athletic Development and fault lies with both. In our role we must understand that the head coach is the BOSS but the head coach should acknowledge that we are hired for our expertise. If you cant get along with your head coach try to work it out otherwise the athlete will suffer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Semi Professional Soccer and Athletic Development

As stated in an earlier post I ham going to use the team I am working with this year as a case study for everyone to view. The team completed the 2007 season in June and with the next season not starting until Feb 20/2008 you can see there is an extended off season. As in most instances with semi pro players they do not pay much attention to their physiological status during this time and thus pre season training becomes a large hill to climb. To combat this I had a testing date of October 16. At this stage (Phase 1) I give a report outlining results and than met with players to outline the following phases. At this stage I gave a a 6 week program that they were to complete at home. This program consisted of strength (3 x/week), speed (2 x/week), stability, agility and endurance (fartlek orientated) - if you want a detailed copy of this please email me. Every 2 weeks the players came in where they completed a session with me and the rest of the squad. This session was primarily focussed on speed with an emphasis on technique. At the completion of this 6 week period the players were tested again and Phase 2 begun on December 1. This phase consisted of 4 sessions/week in a team situation but strength sessions (3 x/week) were completed by the individual. This phase consisted of a combination of work with and without the ball for instance

  • Group warm up
  • Split squad into 2 groups (n-16)
  • 1 group doing small sided games/group 2 doing speed and power (switch after 25 minutes)
  • Squad comes together and completes longer intervals 9 4x4minutes@90-95%max H/Rate with 2 minute recovery)
  • Group cool Down

Now if you know me you may ask those intervals seem quite long and I agree. It is a well published protocol that is reported to increase Vo2 by approx 10% after 8 weeks of 2 sessions/week. I do think it is long and I only used it for 4 weeks in combination with a shorter protocol that I developed. We used this shorter protocol 2 x/week thus Session 1 and 3 ws the longer protocol and session 2 and 4 the shorter.

DS Protocol

5 sets of (5 x 20m) 25s work 25 s recovery

2 min rest

6 sets (5 x 15m) 20s/20s

2 min rest

7 sts (5 x 10m) 15s/15s

These intervals are to be completed at 100% and are very specific because they involve the turns and are a sprint

These sessions were preceeded by agility work and ball mastery activities

Stabilty and co ordination were work on every session.

Again if you want detail please email me

At the completion of this 4 week block there was a 7.8% improvement in VO2 with the team average now being of 60 which is great for this time of year and also for a emi professional outfit

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Going into 3 day camp this week with our team. Camp's unfortunately can become an excuse to murder players with excessive conditioning and thus result in large injury numbers. This camp will involve a sound balance and oo me the most important point of camps is the tactical and psycholgical peperation of a team. It should be where a group of players start to become a team. In saying that if you havent already have a look at the movie the "Miracle" the story of the 1980 Olympic Ice Hockey Team from the USA. Herb Brooks is an inspirational character and highlights just how important preperation is.