Monday, May 26, 2008

Keep it SIMPLE

the thing that strikes me with many athletic development programs is that they are just too complicated. I wonder if the coach is trying to show off all his/her tricks or if they really just dont get it. If we stick to analysing a sport ensuring our training is specific to the sport than its difficult to go wrong. I have been interested to see the pre season program of a local professional football club and Im finding it difficult to understand why they are doing what they are doing and I wonder if they really know. Firstly starting 14 weeks prior to the season for a professional team seems excessive but than filling this time up with non specific junk is more about wasting time than getting the job done. Telll me why you would use regular boxing and swimming sessions as your main component of a program. Tell me why you do soft sand plyometrics when fatigued - it just doesnt make any sense but than again the AThletic Development program is a reflection of the head coach. Im just thankful I have a great head coach who gets it. Look closely at your sessions and reflect on how they fit into an overall plan and if they are specific to the sport. Pool sessions work for recovery/boxing now and again to mix it up and for a bit of team bonding but dont get off track just to show all your tricks or what you have seen on you tube. I love looking at differnt stuff but if it doesnt fit inot the sport DONT use it

Thursday, May 22, 2008

100/200/400m intervals for soccer players

If you are doing programs with these distances in a straight line - I want you to think again or if you want to make me thing again because I cant see the relevance in respect to team sports at anytime of the season. We have to become specific in our training and not think traditional endurance training. remember we are not training triathletes of distance runners.

Pre Season

Pre Season training sends a shiver down most players training. Players seem to believe that all physiological conditioning work is finished once the season begins. I believe that this is a mistake as I dont believe in a mAitanance stage over the course of an entire season. We need to look at the overall structure of our plans and take a big picture view and be flexible in what we do. Too often I see the overall fitness levels drop throughout a season and this is because of the training plan. Fitness levels can be increased but must be juggled beteen recovery and performance etc. There may be phases in the season where there are many games in a small amount of time for example I have a team that has 5 games in 10 days so during this time recovery is important. Dont get caught in the Pre Season trap of getting players ready for round 1 and thinking your job is done. The difficulties of the job have not even started.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Planning and busy playing schedules

There is no doubt that modern sport provided us with a balancing act between recovery and our players performing at their peak. Inseason is the most difficult time for the athletic development specialist and this is where you really earn your pay check. The preseason block is often misunderstood and non specific but most teams will come into the season with a reasonable level of fitness but if a team is well planned this level can increase throughout the season. I dont believe in the maitennace period of traditional periodisation models which normally coincide with "the Season". I believe that with careful monitioring and adjustments of volume/intensity and variety players can have periods of advancements and periods of maitenance during the season. I love this part as it is about setting yourself apart from the rest. We have just completed the first round (11 games) after a successful pre season tournament which we won (6 games) and now have a maximum of 14 games (main competition)) and 4 games (mid week Cup) to go. We have been by far the best conditioned side so far but the question remains have we peaked/are we tired/is our conditoning level decreasing. I monitor how the players are through feedback forms/video analysis/GPS analysis and general observation and my feeling is that mush of the fatigue players feel is mental. It is a juggling act but if you work on 4 week blocks you will be close to the truth. Too often if you plan too far ahead you will miss out on too much information

Sunday, May 4, 2008

warm ups and cooldowns

sydney olympic FC had a great win today but my thoughts today are on match day warm ups and cool downs. I always like to watch other teams prepare as often we are on the same warm up pitch. I am always amazed at the poor warm up procedures of most teams that we play against. Today was one of those days where their players came out 45 minutes prior to kick off and proceeded to do a jog warm up and lots of static stretching followed by some drills that were more appluicable to skills training than a warm up and followed with more static stretching. They than proceeded to go to the changeroom 22 minutes prior to kick off. Why do I take notice? I see it as one of my jobs to inform the head coach about this as it is obvious from a wrm up like this they cant be ready to perform at a high level. Today we didnt score early even though we had great chances but it was obvious they were not ready. Also the cool down s the first stage of the next training session and if we do not do thi well than players will not be at their best for the next session. Again I am interested to see most teams go through the motions but it is vital that we do it properly.