The game of football is the starting point of what you plan in your training sessions. You will be either working on team communication, game insight, execution of a decision or football fitness. In a normal week on a normal day, this wouldn´t create any problems what so ever. Covid-19 makes it, however, impossible to train as a team. We are forced to stay 1 meter apart and we are not allowed to train in groups. We have to improvise.
The game is the starting point, so football fitness should also be trained within this context. Right now this is impossible. One of the few things a player can work on, right now, is trying to maintain his fitness. Many ways lead to Rome, as they say. This post will try to show you a way to maintain your fitness.
Many football coaches play 11v11, 7v7, 4v4 or other forms of games during training. Let us now take 11v11, 7v7 and 4v4 as a starting point. These games will be related to the exercises mentioned here.
In preseason fitness is often build-up by training volume before intensity. So training on your own, when not injured, should be done the same way. The examples used in this post are based on the principle of less space and time. We start with a larger pitch, followed by gradually decreasing pitch size. Consequently, we increase the speed of the basic action you are executing. Decreasing pitch size ensures less space and time which makes the exercise more demanding. Increasing the speed of the basic actions also ensures a more demanding session.
Let us take an amateur player, training twice a week, as a starting point in the example of Exercise one. You choose two basic actions. One at each highlighted «square». At the first square you choose a basic action e.g. related to heading with a jump/land followed by a 15mtr acceleration. At the second one you choose a pressing/transitioning action which are the basic actions sprint/stop/sprint. This can be combined with a change of direction. You have to be careful here, because a change of direction makes it more demanding. You execute these basic actions once every time you are in the «square». Every basic action can be combined with a ball.
We use a three week training cycle. In week one this player trains with the 11v11 pitch size. In week two he trains with the 7v7 pitch size and in the third week he uses the 4v4 related sizes and workload. The same session is done twice a week with several days in between. When you go from 11v11 in exercise one to 7v7, or later 4v4, you adjust all the variables related to that organisation.
A progression within the organisation of the exercise can be seen in Exercise two. By taking away one cone a the top end of the square we created a triangle. This ensures even less space and time, which means that the session will be more demanding. You are executing two basic actions, almost back to back, with less rest. If you choose to decrease the pitch size, the speed of the actions stay the same, at first. Because the change in organisation already is a more demanding aspect. This can also be said about the difficulty of the basic actions you execute. Only change one variable at a time. So, if you go from exercise from one to exercise two the only change you make is an organisational one. You adjust the work/rest ratio related to the game you want to imitate (11v11, 7v7, 4v4). It is not a smart move to go from exercise one to exercise two within a short period of time just to see how it feels.
Are you injured? You should not try to execute these sessions without proper evaluation from a physio, S&C coach, or rehab coach. Safety first. In a game of football you run, walk, jog, run at high speed and sprint. The interval principle shown in the exercises are applicable everywhere. If you do not have a pitch available you go run in the forest. And if there is no forest around…well…be creative.
Please get in touch if you need any help regarding these training sessions.