Pre-season: staying fit

Don’t just dig out your boot bag the day before training is due to start and polish your boots… there’s more to getting ready for the new season than that. Do you need to shed some holiday baggage or get your legs pumping again? Whatever your needs you can map out your pre-season fitness blueprint for you and your players.

Getting, and staying, fit for the first part of the new season is vital to a successful coaching strategy. If your players are not fit enough to play the way you want it will be a pointless beginning to your campaign.  You need fun games, lots of touches and plenty of running around.

Start with Sprint to it, a running game that will have your players panting for breath but enjoying racing each other to get to the ball.

Another great session for individual work is the Agility Square. It’s a high tempo game that will wake up brains and give muscles a work out.

I also like to use sessions based purely on fitness work without a ball so that players can push themselves without having to think about moving the ball. The Fast footwork fitness test is one I use when preparing my teams for the tough season ahead. It doesn’t need a ball but has an element of competition that makes it fun for the players. I also find The Flower is a good option for individual fitness.

For a team work out I like to use games that work on fitness and also have a tactical element to them. Three ball pressure is a great session for getting players to press at high tempo, creating a game based on the tactic of winning the ball back wherever it is on the pitch.

And finally use 4-player pre-season support for a game that combines all the elements of individual and team play at a high tempo.

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