11 Jun Football training programme for amateurs
Do you want to be a better football player, yet you play on an amateur level?
Let’s consider you had a game on Saturday.
It’s unlikely you’ll be training with your team-mates on a Monday, but you should get yourself to the gym. Start by jumping on a treadmill or bike and do some very low-intensity cardio work for 10-15 minutes to raise your body temperature. Then try and copy what we do at the professional level and do some flexibility work. There are plenty of 20-30 yoga and mobility routines on YouTube that you can follow on your mobile phone. Foam rolling and swimming are other good low-intensity options that I’d recommend.
If you train once or twice a week with your team, then these sessions need to top up your fitness between games. If an 11-a-side game is a 10/10 in terms of intensity then you need to be getting very close to that in training. The best way to do this is to get out on the pitch and do straight line running drills. Four lots of four-minute runs at 75% of your maximum intensity, with two minutes rest in between each run, followed by six blasts of 20-second sprints with 40 seconds recovery between each run will really test your heart and lungs. You can do these on the treadmill as well.
Make a judgment call on how hard the week has been up until that point. If you’ve been working all week then it’s probably not realistic to train every day. If you have a fairly active job then that will be enough activity on a rest day and will enable you to switch off and relax in the evening. Psychologically, it’s important that you switch off – it’s impossible to do absolutely everything when you have a full-time job, so put your feet up.
Judge the training session. You won’t be looking at fitness and conditioning work, like four minute or two-minute blasts, but you should be doing short explosive little drills. It might be something as simple as doing a five or 10-second shuttle run with a minute recovery in between. That will light up the speed and explosiveness within your body so you’re preparing your body for the movements of a game.
After a long week at work the chances are you won’t feel like another training session and 24 hours before your game it’s probably not necessary. The best thing you can do is to ensure you get sufficient sleep the night before your game and take onboard enough fluids and carbohydrates so you’re fully fuelled on matchday. Get an early night, avoid alcohol and you’ll be raring to go in the morning.
Get the basics right and get to the ground early to allow yourself the time to have a thorough warm-up and get a feel for the pitch and surroundings. Don’t start kicking balls as soon as you pull your boots on. Start your warm-up with some light, straight line jogging before moving on to sprints of increasing intensity over short distances. Finish with some possession work and you’ll be ready for kick off. Your cool down should be a reverse of your warm-up, as you gradually slow the body down after 90 minutes of intense work.
The way you spend your Sunday should mirror your approach to a Wednesday. If you feel tired after your game the easy option is to sit on the sofa and do nothing but you’ll reap the benefits of a light walk or jog. To aid the recovery of your muscles and refuel ahead of your next training session, continue to eat large amounts of carbohydrates and protein, as well as lots of water. If you can follow this routine every week, you’ll boost your fitness and recover faster between games.
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Play hard, train harder.