Train Like a Pro Footballer & Reach Your Full Potential | Coachability
James is the founder of Coachability and a UEFA B qualified coach, qualified PE Teacher and is passionate about sport, education and writing
With the football season finished or on an extended break its so tempting to lie back, put your feet up and indulge. Whilst re charging your batteries is recommended it's important to remember that spending too long inactive will do you no favours when its time for football pre season training. At the very least, getting back into the swing of things will be harder but by your muscles not being worked you could potentially cause injury.
When you do finally get back to playing football make sure your not requiring an oxygen tank after 10 minutes of the game by following our pre season training plan designed by some of our experienced UEFA qualified coaches at Coachability. Coaches who have a proven track record of getting professional and semi professional footballers in peak physical and mental shape before the resumption of a new season.
What lies below won’t be easy, it’s challenging but is designed to get you back in great physical shape as well as ensuring you lose none of your technical ability.
If you are ready, let's go and train like a pro and transform your game.
Preseason football training is not what it used to be (thankfully). The days of running until you literally pass out are long gone. The 1st week is all about easing you back in gently and gradually increasing the intensity. Steady cardio to create an aerobic base is key. Why? Because it won't stress your body like interval sprints which if done to early can lead to muscle tweeks.
Session 1 - 45 minute run (70-75% of max heart rate)
Session 2 - Bike/Swim/Rower 45 minute (70-75% max heart rate)
Ideally fit in 3 sessions in the 1st week.
Week 2: (Lactate is the new HIIT)
The 3-2-1 pattern is not the formation for 6 a side football but a drill based around improving your ability to buffer high levels of lactic acid in your muscles and sustain a high workload even when the game your playing in is approaching full time. This is going to give you that edge over opponents and give you that hero status as you arrive into the box to score a last minute winner.
Session 1: 3-2-1 pattern interval sprints
Around a football pitch or park, run as fast as is sustainable for 3 minutes, then rest for 1 minute. Run again for 2 minutes then rest for 2. Then run for 1 minute and rest for 3. That will take 12 minutes. Repeat this 3 times in total.
Session 2: VO2 Max Runs
If your able to find a football pitch, ,start on the goal line and aim to run the length of the pitch 4 to 5 times in 2 minutes. Then rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 6 times in total.
If you can’t access a pitch then a clear space of 100 to 110 metres is perfect and follow the above guide.
What is VO2 Max?
Tip: To Increase Your VO2 max try adding intervals to your run.
Run fast for one minute
Jog slowly for two minutes
Sprint for 30 seconds
Jog slowly for two minutes
And so forth
Week 3 (Interval)
If you visualise a game of football, your see yourself often doing short, sharp sprints. So week 3 is all about replicating this but be warned you'll need to crank up the intensity. The sessions you do during this week will make all the difference - they will force you to train at or slightly above your lactate threshold. Why? Because come match day you’ll be able to maintain a high intensity, because your exercise at an even higher one in training.
We'd also recommend playing some football, anything from 5 aside to 11 a side. Playing a game or two will combine these short, sharp, sprints with multidirectional movements.
Session 1: 1:1 interval sprints
Sprint for one minute then jog gently for one minute for ten sets in total.
Session 2: 1:2 interval sprints
Increase the intensity. Sprint for 45 seconds then jog gently for 1min 30sec for eight sets in total.
Session 3: Football
For example, a five-a-side match.
Week 4 (The final countdown)
The final week is all about getting your body used to game specific sprints and movements ahead of the return of competitive football.
Remember to incorporate a warm up which includes plenty of static and dynamic stretching. With the exercises below ensure you stay mindful of running with good form.
Session 1: Speed Shuttles
Sprint 10 metres and walk 10 metres across a football pitch. Do 10 sets
Session 2: Cone zig zag
Space 6 cones out forming a zig zag. Time yourself to see how long it takes to touch or turn over each cone. What your looking for is to be turning sharply to sprint to the next cone, replicating a game situation. Rest for as long as it took you to touch or turn over the cones and repeat 8 to 10 times.
Session 3: Football
For example, a five-a-side or eleven-a-side match.
That's the end of the 4 week pre season football training programme. Now go reap the benefits on the pitch!
If all the above sounds great but your still struggling for motivation then why not hire a personal football coach to get you in peak physical shape?