Do we really need Football Fitness sessions?

Football is a team sport. The ultimate goal in football is to score one more goal than the opponent. To achieve this coaches often use tactical principles. Within boundaries players execute decisions that relate to these tactical principles trained by the team, to ensure the best possible result. Principles for Attacking, Transitioning and Defending are trained. Communication is the most important aspect in football to improve the team and tactics is the tool for this. Understand what every players does in every situation is only possible in the ideal world. To be able to come close to the perfect world all these aspects have to be trained. The most obvious tool is football training sessions with all players available.

Coaches us different games during training. Some examples are 11v11, 7v7 or 4v4 games. They use them as tactical games or underload games. Many coaches use possession games, position games and passing exercises and what not. All these different type of exercises are done with a certain workload. Some are executed with more minutes and little rest or vice versa. Many teams train 4-5 times per week, game not included. Teams at lower levels often train less. If fitness isn’t something you need to play football, but is something you develop by playing football, the question do we really need Football Fitness Training during a training week suddenly triggered my brain (yes, I know…). Let us take a team that trains 5 times a week as an example to answer this question.

Lets assume a team trains 5 times a week. In a normal training week this would mean that they would train on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday is game day. In a week like this Monday is for recovery, Wednesday is for a football technique session. On Thursday the Football Fitness session is planned. On Friday and Saturday the team prepares for the next game. They have a top coach that demands 100% all the time. All actions must be executed at 100%. In other words, the intensity is always 100% during all sessions. The intensity is a constant. Lets assume for the sake of the argument that we take out the fitness session on Thursday and replace it with a kind of tactical session. 

The coach is a good tactical teacher and has good methodological abilities. He knows how to add small details in training sessions to gradually improve the playing style of the team. In every session he adds a detail that are new for the players, this means players are overloaded a little more every session. As mentioned, he expects 100% execution of football actions all the time. Nothing less is accepted. By adding new details in games 11v11, 7v7, 4v4, tactical games, possession games and passing exercises the players improve their football fitness, because of the fact that they understand the playing style better. Understanding the playing style better basically means that the players will understand each other better. Communication improves.

The Thursday Football Fitness session has been replaced by a football tactical training to improve the teams playing style even more. A Football Fitness session 11v11 can be 3 blocks of 12 minutes with 2 minute rest. A Football Tactical game could be 2 blocks of 8 minutes. Underloaded games 11v11 also are planned 2 blocks of 8 minutes. Let´s presume that you train tactical and/or underload games on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 2 x 8 minutes. You have variations, on the same days, for possession and/or passing games, with a certain workload, depending on the day of the week. There is no official Football Fitness session. The volume is a constant. 

Players executing football actions at 100%. The coach demanding 100% all the time. What is now improving our fitness? The intensity is the same, the volume is the same. This is agianst all logic within training laws. The exercises implemented by the coach are not doing the work either. Exercises are just a tool that should provoke certain behavior of players. The better players understand the demands within the playing style the more they can provoke certain behavior in opponents (team mates) in training. Players make players better and fitter. So, do we really need overload Football Fitness games during the week?

Thanks for sharing!

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