No one likes pre-season training. Not even the pros. After a summer of boozing in the sun and enjoying the delights of a weekly BBQ, getting back into shape doesn’t sound like the most appealing past time. For you or the pros. But it has to be done. Whatever your level, you can’t afford a slow start to the season. It’s not necessary where league titles are won and lost, but it’s where the bedrock to a successful season is built. That means shuttle runs, stretching, strength work and then if you’re lucky – some time with the ball.
It’s not like when you were young when the summer meant football every day, queuing up for the latest Liverpool football shirts with your mates, and endless games of Wembley doubles. Now it’s training, lactic acid and probably a little bit of sick.
Sound fun? Take a look at our quick guide of kicking everything off.
Remember under 10s when you just used to head out onto the pitch, bang a few shots at the massive goals and then run your lungs out for an hour. It’s not the same anymore is it? A proper warm-up is always essential.
Start with a light jog of no more than five minutes, just to get moving. It should be a light challenge, but nothing too heavy. Standing stretching is the calm before the storm. It gives a feeling of unity enabling the unfit amongst you to have a rest and encourages a bit of socialising. Stand in a circle and work all the muscles in your legs and your groin.
Get things going a bit more with a longer, more intense jog to get enable the fitter players to open their legs and to push those who’re starting to struggle.
It depends how many weeks you’re back into pre-season, but sprints are always going to play a key part. At all levels of the game speed is essential, so it must be worked on. The best way to work sprints into a summer training regime is to have all players lined up at the side of the pitch, all walk together to the edge of the penalty area, sprint to the other side of the area, then walk to the other side of the pitch. Walk for 20 seconds to keep you on your toes then repeat. Depending on squad fitness, do this between 4 and 6 times and throw in a competitive element.
This is vital to get your touch back for the start of the season. Play small sided two touch matches, practice shooting, and throw in the classic piggy-in-the-middle. Think sharpness, touch, precision and speed. If Barcelona can do it…
This is what we all look forward to at any training session, so it has to be done. Keep the teams and the pitch small, stay to two touch and no goalkeepers. The score is important, the development more.
A light jog and a stretch at the end of the session are vital to reduce muscle ache and chance of injury, so make sure you do it.
And finally make sure everyone stays hydrated throughout the session.