Physical preparation in football What are the basic physical qualities?

Today we are going to talk about physical preparation in soccer. Logically in this sport it is important to be in optimal physical condition to prevent injuries (as we discussed in 👉this blog👈) and be able to perform to the fullest in each match. How do we prepare then?

Basic physical capacities depend fundamentally on energetic processes and are the physical capacities necessary to carry out physical activities.

The basic physical qualities are:strength, endurance, speed, flexibility.

In this post we will talk about the first 2: strength and endurance. What are they, what are they for and how to enhance them?

The force

Strength is the physical quality that allows us to improve the rest of the qualities (speed, resistance, power...). This makes sense insofar as being stronger will allow us to be faster, since, the greater muscle strength, the more speed we can generate and the more resistant we become (the stronger a muscle is, the more resistant it will be to fatigue) or more power we will be able to generate.

According Tudor Bompa In the sports training process, strength exercises should begin that accentuate the participation of the trunk muscles and not so much of the upper extremities. Here it is worth mentioning the importance of starting to work from the first year of childhood with exercises aimed at strengthening the middle zone.

The recommendation to start with strength work is with work with high and systematic loads, since there is no adequate age to start with strength work when the work is not aimed at maximum strength. The beginning of the strength work intended to seek an enlargement of muscle mass would be given by the height growth peak. Prior to this, strength training should be devoted to teaching exercise techniques.

Doing proprioceptive work on the lumbo-pelvic area, together with strengthening and making the central area of the body more flexible, will allow later to develop strength work with greater safety. According to Ozolin NG (1915) "physical preparation is aimed at strengthening the organs and systems of the organism and at raising their physiological possibilities that will guarantee the development of motor qualities." Therefore, exercises with free weights offer a greater training stimulus, emphasizing the work of proprioception, the sense of balance, stability and coordination. In addition, Feigenbaum ensures that so far there is no scientific evidence that systematically applied strength exercises with children can cause acute or chronic injuries. Neural abilities cannot develop if they are not stimulated, which is why coordination and balance work are of great importance at this stage.

Following the words of Cappa, we can point out that the time that the teacher dedicates to teaching the techniques is an investment, since the correct performance of the exercises allows, in the future, to work with high loads. Regarding the dosage and quality of exercises, the author proposes starting with 10 repetitions of low-intensity exercises, 2 to 3 series, allowing good recovery between them and doing it twice a week. Finally, he mentions the importance of combining the plyometric exercises with movement or diverse motor skills. Prior to plyometric work, it is important to strengthen the ligaments and tendons of the compromised joints, in turn, multi-jump work is interesting, taking into account that the time in contact with the ground is decisive for the development of basic plyometric work.

The resistance

Regarding resistance, we must talk about the anaerobic system. Regarding this, we can mention that the activity of phosphofructokinase in children between 11-13 years old is between 30-50% lower than in adults. This means that there would be no need for children at this stage to perform specific training to increase anaerobic lactic power. Under this line, the intercalated works of high intensity in infantile ages lack utility. It is also important to note that the volumes used for resistance training must be appropriate to the child's conditions, since, as we always repeat, each player is different and training must be adapted to the qualities of each player and their needs.

It will then be important to plan and propose activities where the volumes are not very large or of a very high intensity, since this could cause glucose depletion. On the other hand, keep in mind that resistance is always linked to volitional, aerobic and anaerobic metabolic, functional and coordinative factors. When talking about and focusing on the importance of aerobic endurance and its work during childhood, Weineck comments and emphasizes that both children and young people are prepared from the cardiopulmonary and metabolic point of view, to train under aerobic loads, therefore, the choice of methods, such as the dosage of intensity and duration of the loads, since they must be adapted to the physiological circumstances of the player's age. This blood flow, added to its high mitochondrial density, allows us to do intermittent aerobic work of great intensity or fractions, and of short duration, alternating them with short breaks, so that the recovery capacity between efforts is efficient.

According Comettitraining resistance in young soccer players is vital and the focus must be on the work of fast fibers where short and brief efforts prevail. A variant that can be used for the work of resistance are the small games, for these we work with play situations (matches) where the number of players and the space are reduced to increase the participation of the soccer players, this mode the game will be more intense than in a 11 vs. eleven.

As we discussed, aerobic power training can increase performance in children, but keep in mind that the magnitude of this increase is probably lower than expected in adults. There is no confirmed age or critical maturational level for maximizing adaptations to aerobic training in children and adolescents. The objective of working on resistance in pre-pubertal youth should be to improve recovery, since in this way we can create the bases of resistance and without causing increases in VO2. If we want to obtain better effects on children, working on resistance by intermittent high-intensity tasks and small games will help in this. However, early specialization is not recommended in children. So the combination of various methods will be the best way to develop resistance in this case.

We hope this post has been useful to you! Stay tuned for part 2 where we'll talk about speed and the importance of flexibility.

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