Blog

Key Interventions for Non-Professional Clubs

Not every club is fortunate enough to have a full coaching team to cover all areas of player’s preparation. This blog is focused on clubs that may only be run by a small number of staff members but still intend to prepare players to professional levels.

 

We discuss key areas we can manipulate below.

 

Maximise Football Practice

Contact time with players is precious and its absolutely crucial that coaches get as much as possible from each and every training session. This includes consistently developing a players fitness levels in a football context. Invest time and effort in learning how to periodise training and progress fitness levels throughout the season. Evidence to support periodised practices as a viable method of conditioning is growing and should be considered as a ‘no brainer’ for amateur and semi professional teams.

 

Injury Prevention Strategies

Working to prevent the likelihood of an injury occurring is vital at any level of football. Injury prevention is essentially intelligent training and performed correctly can help players to stay injury free and on the pitch.

 

Players will suffer from two types of injury, contact or non-contact. Contact injuries are caused by trauma, usually contact with another player such as a sprained ankle. Non-contact injuries should be kept to a minimum with the correct amount of injury prevention, stability and strength work.

 

The main areas to target and strengthen for footballers are:

 

-Hamstrings

-Groin/Adductors

-Thighs/Quadriceps

-Hip Flexors

-Deep Core muscles

-Gluteals

-Muscles around the calves, feet and ankles

 

Adding exercises in to warm ups/cool downs can give a player’s body the stimulus it needs to strengthen these areas.

 

Our recommended exercises/drills to add to sessions to target these areas are below:

 

Jumping & Landing

Teaching players not only to produce power on a jump but how to land effectively is essential. A Ferrari with no brakes is pretty useless!
Cueing players to ‘land soft’ and ‘cushion’ their landing is a great way of strengthening the hamstrings and stabilizer muscles around the knee and ankle.

This can also be performed bilaterally (two legs) and unilaterally (one leg).

 

Hop & Holds - https://youtu.be/kKaYW8rgQ_4

 

Dead Bug/Bracing Progressions

Working and strengthening the deep muscles of the core help to stabilize the spine and take unnecessary load off the lower back and hamstrings. Bracing variations are great ways of working this area.

Dead Bugs - https://youtu.be/x5njd9_1rlw

 

Hip & Hamstring Mobility

Common areas that players tend to suffer from muscle tightness are around the hips and the hamstrings. Adding mobility exercises in to warm-ups can help to improve mobility around these areas. There are loads of mobility drills that can be carried out but whichever players are doing they should be looking to make small improvements each time they do them. This will encourage greater movement at the joint gradually over time.

 

Banded Hip Mobility - https://youtu.be/Jf-tzJXaq7Y

 

 

Recovery Interventions

Giving players the knowledge of what recovery interventions you recommend is vital. Giving them the flexibility to then design/choose their own recovery protocols can be beneficial (have a read of our blog from Rhys Carr and what they do at Bristol City FC).

 

Some of our top recovery methods are:

 

Hydration

Dehydration = Decreased Performance

Hydration is key to help the body recover & provide the body with the fluid it has lost through sweat during games or training sessions. A general guideline for players is to aim to get over 2 litres of water per day.


Manual Therapy

Manual therapy such as massage will aid muscular recovery. You can either do this after the session on the same day or the day after. Foam rolling and trigger pointing can be great for players to carry out at home or in the gym to aid recovery.

 

SLEEP

Sufficient sleep will allow your body to adequately recover. Sleep deprivation has been linked to poor decision-making, low energy levels and unbalanced blood sugar. This often leads to direct effects on mood and poor food choices the following day(s). Encouraging players to target 8-10 hours of sleep around games can have big impacts on performance. Many players will struggle to switch off/wind down after games so getting players to practice breathing drills or meditation can help. Headspace is a good app for players to use to practice 10 minute guided meditation after games.

 

 

Positive Nutritional Habits
We realize that not every player is going to stick to nutrition plan, as many professionals don’t. However encouraging positive nutrition habits particularly around games to impact energy levels and recovery is key. Beers and a takeaway the evening after a game isn’t going to allow players to recover efficiently but unfortunately a lot of times this is beyond our control.
What we can encourage is what players consume the day of a game and the day leading up to a game.
 

Key considerations for players around game days are:

-Have they taken in enough food?

-Are they hydrated?

-Have they taken in enough protection (vegetables, good fats etc) foods?

-Have they taken in enough energy (carbohydrates) foods?

-Have they taken in enough repair (protein) foods?

-Are the majority of calories taken in from whole, single ingredient foods?

 

 

In summary there are plenty of areas we can manipulate for players at amateur and semi-professional clubs. Giving players the knowledge of what they should be doing is often the key. Whether they choose to do it or not is up to them. Carrying out these interventions will allow players to have better energy levels for games and ensure they recover more efficiently.


For information on services we offer to clubs including Pre-Season Programming, In-Season Periodisation & S&C Support please contact us at mail@footballfitfed.com.

Newsletter Registration