Football Periodisation: 10 Takeaways

1) Strength coaches should learn soccer language instead of expecting coaches to understand strength coach language

  • “When, for example, a fitness coach from an outside football enters the football world, he often decides to keep using his own fitness jargon like aerobic and anaerobic.  Even worse, he expects everyone in the football world to learn and understand his fitness language.  How arrogant is that?”
  • Language analogy: A Dutch person moving to the US doesn’t expect everyone to learn to speak their language, the Dutch person realizes they have to learn to speak English.
  • “Why do we need to use words like ‘aerobic capacity’ instead of ‘maintaining football for 90 minutes?  Why educate coaches with fitness jargon like ‘aerobic power’ instead of in familiar football language like ‘playing with a higher tempo’?”

2) The problem with two camps of language is we begin to think ‘football fitness’ is something outside of football

  • When coaches are educated about fitness in non-football language, “coaches (unconsciously) get the impression that fitness is something else besides football.”
  • This leads to the use of non-football fitness exercises because of the non-contextual fitness language used by strength coaches.

3) Things we say about mentality that are too vague and don’t really mean anything

  • “Terminology like sharpness, mentality, mental toughness, fear of failure appears to lead to more misunderstandings than clarity when analyzing the sport.  These general and non-contextual terms are the perfect escape for coaches who do not really see what they are looking at when watching football.”
  • “Avoid yelling out terms such as ‘initiative’, ‘effort’, and ‘aggression’.  After all, these types of non-contextual terms cannot be observed by the players.  They are subjective interpretations of what people see.”  Instead, use football actions (verbs).

4) In training, we should not totally isolate Technique, Game Insight, Communication, and Football Fitness from each other

  • Communication is the foundation of team building.
  • Based on this communication, the player makes their decisions (Game Insight)
  • Technique is then used based on Communication and Game Insight (to execute actions).

5) Football sprinting is not track and field sprinting

  • Football players need to be concerned with position, moment, and direction.  Track sprinters are only concerned with speed.
  • Track sprinters are concerned with absolute speed, but football players only need to be fast in time.
  • “Imagine that during the 100 meter race the athletes are allowed to 1) push their starting block 5 meters towards the finish line, 2) start sprinting one second before the starting shot and 3) get in the way of the opponent by running in their lane.  What would a training session for a sprinter look like?”  This is referring to 1) position, 2) moment, and 3) direction.

6) Contextual football sprint training makes athletes faster than non-contextual non-football sprint training

  • A study was quoted where an isolated sprint without an opponent was slowest, an isolated sprint was faster if ran against an opponent, and the fastest sprint was achieved when two players sprinted during a football situation.
  • Maybe soccer athletes perform better in sprints when they have to achieve something that is football-specific.

7) Isolated running is not needed

  • “Some people suggest that players should still do isolated running because 98% of the time during a game players have to run without the ball.  These people should understand that during games 11v11/8v8 players also run without the ball 98% of the time.  Problem solved.”
  • The developments to the lungs, heart, red blood cells and blood vessels do not have to happen in isolated running.  They can happen from playing football (“7v7 in overload on a relatively big pitch”).

8) A quick build-up of football fitness has many drawbacks compared to a gradual build-up

  • A quick build-up of football fitness (2-3 weeks) results in short term fitness, a fitness drop towards the end of the season, more likelihood of injuries, and less training/games with the strongest team.
  • A gradual build-up of football fitness (6 weeks) results in long term fitness, a fitness increase throughout the season, almost no injuries, and more training/game with the strongest team.

9) One day after a game, perform recovery.  Two days after a game, take the day off

  • Removal and supply “progresses faster if the blood circulation is raised.  Ideally, therefore, straight after the match, or alternatively on the first day after a match, a football recovery training is planned.”
  • “Between 24 and 48 hours after a match, the body is predominantly busy with the necessary repair work in the muscles, which takes a lot of energy.”  Players can often feel more tired or sore on this second day after a game (warranting the day off).

10) Coaches are responsible for injury prevention

  • “As most injuries are the result of accumulated fatigue and, consequently, reduced coordination, football periodisation is the most important injury prevention tool.”  Coaches without an understanding of periodisation have more injuries.
  • “blaming the medical staff for an injury crisis is nonsense, as hardly any coach allows the medical staff to advise him on how to plan his football training sessions.”

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