Preparing for Pre-season with Titan Training & Nutrition: Part 1

Pre-season is coming up on the horizon fast and clubs begin training as soon as the 20th of June. Ahead of this Severn Sport has teamed up with Titan Training & Nutrition to bring you tips and drills to get you pre-season ready in just three weekly parts, by Titan Training personal trainer and Longlevens centre back Luke Kavanagh.

After a grueling season which spreads from the beginning of August to the end of April, including an approximate of 50 games with league and cup in between, many players can be forgiven for having a much needed rest at this time of year.

Normally for me the month of May is the time of year to rest and recharge, stay out the gym and switch off from the mental determination required to maintaining adequate levels fitness in order to fulfil the requirements of a decent standard of football.

June is often where pre season dates are arranged and personally I like to make sure I have 3/4 weeks under my belt before reporting back. Not just because its something that I’m interested in and enjoy doing, but when looking at the football calendar the summer months are the only slim time which allow you to generally prepare for a football season.

Leaving it too late may come back to haunt any player, with the worst case scenario being picking up a niggling injury through the volume of training done in the 4 weeks of “pre season” training.

This year as the age clock continues to tick, I decided to go a bit further and recruit the help of local fitness coach Ben Caton at Titan Training and Nutrition (more about this in a future blog). I’m a qualified PT myself so have an idea of what is required, however there are often things you can over complicate when planning for yourself, so outsourcing for me makes complete sense & allows another opinion on what is required to steal a march prior to pre season.

Analysing the requirements of the game of football:

Any team sport especially football is notorious very hard to train for, as there are so many different attributes to consider when preparing for the game.

A misconception about the game of football is that it’s predominantly an Aerobic (oxygen) aka “endurance” or “stamina” based sport. Yes it lasts 90 minutes, however the majority of the game is spent in and out of sprinting and walking/jogging, very rarely is anyone constantly jogging as a steady pace.

So although there is an endurance element to the game, the real bang for your buck when considering training options should be developing a capacity to deal with lactic acid build up through continuous and repeated sprinting.

There is no “real” carbon copy session which would mimic a game of football. The key to improving recovery levels whilst fatigued, is often reflected by using different work:rest ratios e.g. 30 seconds work 30 seconds recovery (or 1:1 work:rest). The further out you are from competitive games the longer the work period is, the closer you get the shorter the work period would be.

Other key elements to the game that are important to think about are; Changing of direction, this happens numerous times throughout a game and often based on the speed of reaction & takes some time to perfect the technique to ensure you don’t lose too much speed in and out of a turn (think of this with the analogy of a car through an apex, it must just the turn correctly and be in the right gear, otherwise its speed will drop off when coming out of the turn)

Strength training underpins a lot of the attributes needed for the game. This doesn’t mean that you have to be in the gym for all hours, however if you can find a way to producing force from your muscles under some resistance then this will help any player to improve such skills like; Jumping, Landing, Turning & Sprinting. Another important thing to note is that the combination of Speed & Strength will create Power!

Drill of the week:

If you’re stepping out for the first time to get some “time in the bank” ahead of pre season training, try this simple drill to build up some tolerance to Lactic Acid.

Note: Ensure you have a thorough warm up before starting the session other wise you could pick up an injury before you’ve even started!

(intensity scale 1 = Really Easy , 10 = Maximum Effort)

30 seconds hard work (7-8 on the intensity scale)

30 seconds active rest (walk/jog etc)

Repeat x10

This is a great drill as can be done ANYWHERE and doesn’t actually have to be done on foot (although does make it slightly more football specific).

The work:rest ratio is set at 1:1 and can easily be increased in time if you fond that the work portion is too short.

Progressions for this drill:

Complete 2-3 sets of the drill (1 set being 10 intervals)

Increase the timings from 30s : 30s to 45s : 45s.

Join me on part two where I discuss exercises to improve the attributes discussed above.

Any questions please get in touch:


Twitter: @kav_glos

Facebook: Luke Kavanagh

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