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Thursday, January 18, 2018

THE 5 BIG ROCKS OF WOMEN'S PRE-SEASON TRAINING

Most women teams are due back to training in the next few weeks and this is what I'd do if I ran training for them.

There are a few things we need to take into account when training women footballers:

  • A lot of women are new to football
  • A lot of women are new to a contact sport
  • A lot of players might come from various sporting backgrounds but at a more social then competitive level, not that sport can't be both
  • The predisposition to ACL injury's (8 x more than males)
  • Low training bases

These are the main issues and as teams found last year, you'll keep discovering new things that need to e taken into account (how to tackle properly/safely, how to stop fingers getting jarred when trying to mark the footy etc were a couple of questions posted pin the ART Women's Football Private Group).

There's a lot of things to train for for footy but with not a lot of time, big groups and limited resources, you gotta pick your battles and cover the bog rocks.

BIG ROCK #1 - SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Like all sports the most skillful players are often the best so its always #1. There's a million ways to develop skills but there is a hierarchy you should follow however you choose to do it.

1 - Stationary / Slow
2 - Stationary / Fast
3 - Moving / Slow
4 - Moving / Fast

You could brake them up again and again if you wanted to but the point is to not skip steps, don't progress until some form of mastery has been achieved and make the progressions as minute as possible.

Also perform most of your skill work UNDER ZERO FATIGUE.

BIG ROCK #2 - ACL Injury Prevention

We're local/amateur footballers which mans after the game we need to work to pay our bills so if as a coach you can decrease the chances of your payers doing an ACL and missing 12 months of footy, plus more importantly, 3 - 5 months of paid work then you should.

Each training session your players do, either as a team or on their own should incorporate ACL injury prevention exercises that are progressive in volume, intensity and difficulty.

BIG ROCK #3 - Running Mechanics

Men and women football players all over, could improve their endurance simply by improving their running mechanics efficiency which includes things like being able to stiffen your feet/ankles upon ground contact, front side mechanics (knee lift) and backside mechanics (toe off).

Instead of testing running capabilities with running mechanics that would never get you to the ball in time anyway because your leaking energy each and every step, train mechanics earlier on then do some testing if you really want to.

BIG ROCK #4 - Tempo Running

Once mechanics have been improved upon then incorporate this into actual running using tempo running which is 40 - 100m runs performed at 50 - 65% and no faster. The aim is to now to perform running with improved mechanics in a controlled and deliberate manner/environment.

Each player will need to use their own distance for these as some will be able to hold technique for longer then others as we are re-teaching the body a new running technique, you don;t want to continue to use faulty mechanics will override any new mechanics you're trying to ingrain.

BIG ROCK #5 - Speed Training

You'll see a huge difference in jogging technique then sprinting technique but we're trying to shift running mechanics to a more sprinting style if w can to not only improve efficiency, but to actually use muscles through ranges of motion that usually don't get attention with jogging.

Using more muscles through grater ranges of motion = Decreased risk of pattern overload = Decreased injury risk 

True speed training will have your players training at speeds far higher then training and game speeds which is exactly what you want. This means that games will be played at a sub-maximal speed level then they are truly capable of meaning fatigue will take longer to set in and/or players will be able to maintain a higher output for longer.

You don't need a lot of volume for these either as this high stimulus will result in dramatic improvements in speed quite quickly if performed correctly and frequently enough.

A training session might look like this:

 - Warm Up incorporating ACL prevention exercises x 10mins
 - Skill work under no pressure/fatigue x 10mins
 - Speed development x 10mins (I might even combine skills and sprints to combine the high neural activity of both activities that can potentiate each other)
 - Skills/Tactics x 20 - 30mins
 - Tempo Running x 5 - 10mins


I have room in my schedule for some in-person/online training for individual players and/or teams so if you're interested then please let me know ASAP so we can get to work and organise your training prior to the official start to footy training.

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