Pre-season is, of course, the time of the footballing calendar that coaches put aside to help build up match and base fitness to get players ready for the upcoming season. Although it’s not as simple as getting players to go out for a run, fitness is a crucial part of pre-season. But its effectiveness is down to you.
How you approach fitness training is likely to depend on the level your team plays at and how often you get to train with them per week during the pre-season period. But, regardless of the standard of your football, the fitter your team is, the more effective they’ll be at following instructions for long periods or recovering from mistakes.
Fitness is also important in relation to your team’s identity. It’ll either severely restrict the types of football you can play, or free you up to a world of possibilities
At the end of the day, your goal for pre-season is to build match fitness so that your team can seamlessly transition from pre-season to competitive football and maintain that level. It’s easier said than done for some and even at the very top of the game managers and coaches make mistakes, with fitness expert Raymond Verheijen particularly vocal about one Premier League club’s marine-like training.
He said: “When you [train like a marine], first of all you develop short-term fitness. If you do it gradually then you’ll build-up long-term fitness for nine-10 months.
“If you get fit really quickly then you develop shorter-term fitness that only last around 3-4 months.”
Building fitness is best done gradually and, if you’re working with younger players, football – not fitness – will be at the forefront of their mind, so try to combine the two when setting up training sessions. These drills might help.
For more football tactics, drills and training advice, download the full pre-season guide below.