Fitness remains integral in the life of a footballer and this is how they maintain high standards
Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 due to heart disease. According to Barcelona’s announcement, the condition was caused by arrhythmia – a broad term to describe any heart rhythm that is not completely normal. Sergio, known as one of the best of his generation, had to say goodbye to the sport that demands being as athletic as possible.
Football demands that you be at the best of your health and fitness, and it’s not hard to see why. You have to be on your guard at all times throughout the match. According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, top-level (soccer) players should be able to perform high-intensity repeated exercises.
According to the institute’s website, “The aerobic energy system is under heavy strain during a football match, with average and maximum heart rates of around 85% and 98% of maximum values, respectively, corresponding to average consumption of d oxygen about 70% of the maximum.
The many intense actions during play indicate that the rate of anaerobic energy turnover is also high during periods of play, with a high rate of creatine phosphate use and lactate buildup ”.
To understand the physical demands of academy football team players, we looked at an interview with Leicester City strength and conditioning coach Matt Willmott by FOURFOURTWO.
Training is the key
Leicester City strength and conditioning coach Matt Willmott in an interview with FOURFOURTWO explains that from a physical point of view a footballer needs to be strong and powerful yet have agility and contain everything for 80 to 90 minutes. And as players get older, a lot of physical training is demanded by their position. Matt clarifies: “For example, a midfielder will cover more distance, but at a lower intensity than a full-back, a winger or a striker, who will cover shorter distances at a higher intensity and therefore training. must adapt to this.
Explaining how players are prepared for the demands of the Premier League, Matt said: “As soon as players start at the academy at the age of eight, we use a multisport system to develop basic physical skills. Once they enter the 12-14 age group, we place great emphasis on promoting the quality of athletic movements and developing correct movement patterns to ensure that players can reproduce the movements they want. would do in a game or practice. We place importance on the ability of players to control these movements through various positions or under various loads where movement is contested. Then, as they mature, they can be gradually charged to increase their strength and develop their potency ”.
Describing the physical difference between Premier League and academy football, Matt said “on a basic physical test – say a 20-yard sprint – the senior academy and the first-team players are probably pretty close. , the distances covered at high speed in a practice or a match would be greater in the first team. The technical gap also increases the intensity of the training and makes the training much more difficult and it is probably the biggest difference our players find. The first team players are technically superior; they can play different types of passes and move the ball faster. The technical difference means they have to work harder physically. of strength, the first team players have had more years of training and should be stronger.
Matt claimed senior academy players – under-18s and under-23s – are tested every six weeks. Our younger age groups, from under 9 to under 16, are tested every 12 weeks. He further explained that the speed of the players is tested using a 20-meter sprint test; vertical jumps for single and double leg power. Additionally, agility is measured using an arrowhead, while a YOYO and SDS test designed by club staff is used to measure endurance.
Speaking of the weights players are expected to lift during exercises, he said, we tend to try to look at all tests of strength in relation to body weight. We want all of our players to be able to lift between 1.5 and twice their bodyweight for one rep. Obviously, this means that some players will have different strength levels depending on their body weight.
He further claimed that clubs are looking for strong players for 90 minutes. He explained, “If they’re too heavy on their upper body, their movement patterns will suffer, but we also know that a good level of strength can help reduce the risk of injury and improve performance. Some players may need to bulk up and build muscle mass and we will provide players with these sessions. However, we need to make sure that we have the correct and appropriate nutritional strategies to see an increase in muscle mass and not body fat, which would have a detrimental effect on performance ”.
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