One of the most popular sports in the world, football is played at all levels. Almost every school pupil in the UK will have taken part in a football game at some stage in their lives, even if it is just a ‘kick about’ on the playground or in the local park with friends and family. Part of its widespread popularity is due to its ease at playing at a casual level – all you need is an open space, a ball to play, and perhaps a couple of coats or bags to mark the goal posts. It is a game that has been played for centuries and its popularity continues to increase year after year.
The Football Association actively encourages people to get involved at all levels and in all areas, including training and courses in football coaching.
Professional football players are at the peak of physical fitness and maintain rigorous training regimes for strength, endurance, speed and agility; however, there is more to football training than running and skills training. It is important that they also look after their mental wellbeing and look at their nutrition and diet.
A player can run up to eight miles during a game, changing pace from jogging to fast sprints in an instant. Muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness are put to the test during games; therefore, footballers incorporate ‘interval training’ into their programmers, involving switching between high- and low-intensity training. Like any athlete, they concentrate on strengthening their core muscle groups to help prevent injury, and focus on the right nutrition to keep their bodies in top condition. Warm ups and cool downs are an important part of their training regime and can help to prevent injuries from occurring and can improve the efficiency of the training and skills drills that then take place.
Even at an amateur level, players need to train for speed and agility, strength, endurance and flexibility to put in a good performance for their team. Compound exercises, such as squats, step-ups, chin-ups, push-ups and lunges, will work opposing muscle groups. Power exercises that include jump squats, push presses, high pulls, power cleans and plyometric drills will help to improve explosive speed – a prerequisite for any player who wants to get to the ball first!
Whatever sport you are training for, get in touch with a qualified coach for guidance on how to train safely. Before you start, you will be expected to have the right kit for training – online retailers such as kitking are good for Discount Football Kits and sports training kits.
Depending on the level of football in which you are involved, your coach will design the right training regime for you and you will soon be on your way to achieving football fitness!