Every football player has to be fit. In a world that’s increasingly health conscious, you can’t have an out of shape player on your team if you want to start winning. Fortunately, whipping players into shape is fairly easy if you have a team of determined players willing to push themselves.
First and foremost, discard any notion that ‘protein’ and other sports nutrition is not relevant to football players. For any sports athlete undergoing periods of muscular strain (such as sprinting), protein and other macronutrients become vital. A football player should aim to consume at least 1g of protein per kg of bodyweight. Protein helps the body’s natural process of recovery. You can issue lean whey protein shakes to players to help them adequately recover from sessions.
Carbohydrate intake is vital too – if your players are not adequately fuelled for their training, they’ll underperform. Before you begin hard training, it could be worth supplying energy bars or isotonic drinks to help players push their limits.
Endurance Training Drills
High intensity interval training, which involves periods of high and low intensity, helps improve a player’s anaerobic system – which in turn increases their cardiovascular system. By forcing lactic acid into the muscles, which oxygen then flushes out, the body becomes more resistant to lactate.
Hill sprints are a good example of HIIT – as they involve the high intensity portion, which is the uphill sprint, and then a low intensity period, which is the downhill descent. Have players run up the hill at max effort and then slowly work their way back down.
Continuous training is a complicated word for a simple form of training – forcing players to work at a certain intensity percentage for an extended period to access different levels of fitness. Each week, put players through a different level of intensity. For example:
Working at 50-60% is a good way to get rid of bodyfat without overextending your cardio system. This can last for around 60 minutes. Jogging on a treadmill is a good way to set the level and pace for that length of time.
Increasing the intensity to 70-80% of a player’s work rate means their body will begin to use glycogen – limiting the time they can keep this level up for to about 30-45 minutes.
If you then push players to work at 80-90% of their maximum work rate, they’ll begin increasing their lactate threshold as their body comes under strain. This activity should only last for 10 to 20 minutes maximum and allow a good rest period. A heightened speed run on a treadmill can stimulate this max effort continuous period.
Mixing these two styles of training can produce fantastic results. By employing a week that consists of two football training days, one continuous training session and one HIIT/hill sprint session, players will begin increasing their cardiovascular endurance up to Premier League levels.
With this kind of high effort training, the body starts to break down. Muscles fatigue and require protein intake to recover – and also demand carbohydrates to bring energy to muscle cells and restore lost glucose. Don’t be afraid to invest in some protein supplements to ensure players are achieving adequate nutrition that will support their goals and help them get fitter than ever.