"Success on the Pitch" Part 1

“Whether you refer to it as Fútbol, Voetbal, Football, Soccer, Fußball or Calcio, the ‘Beautiful Game’ is one of the world’s most demanding sports from both a vantage of technical skills, tactical knowledge and athletic ability.

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“Unfortunately television coverage does not do the sport justice and much of the intricacies are lost to the casual viewer. The remarkable vision to develop a pattern of movement or defend, the ability to simply pull down a volley or one touch pass up the pitch and the fitness levels to press forward for ninety minutes in an endless series of quick stops and starts is easily missed.” – John Davies, Author of The Beautiful Game, founder Renegade Training International 

The great problem soccer (and other sports) face today is ‘passive’ physical activity has plummeted and with it levels of fitness in the youth have fallen to deplorable levels. Young players are simply not playing enough. For aspiring Soccer superstars, the daily touches are grotesquely short of required amounts.

To many talk and type of ‘goals’ but are not matching said talk with application.

If you wish to excel on the pitch, it is a ‘seven day a week’ function and not a twice a week after school program!

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As a player, there is no escaping it in soccer, you MUST possess the physical attributes (dynamic range of motion and relative strength) to execute certain tasks. General movement disciplines that were a ‘part of everyday life’ yesteryear are rarely performed, and if so often incorrectly. This is not solely a question of sport specificity but of failing fitness and strength levels. 

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How does the above statements relate to soccer play? A player, without exception, must possess sufficient strength levels to maintain posture under duress or injury awaits.

A player must possess a dynamic range of motion to perform skills such as passing and trapping the ball. Core strength and flexibility plays a huge factor in the transference of body-weight for re-distribution and striking.

You can not perform any of the above skills to any degree of potential without basic baseline athletic ability. 

“Inefficient fitness levels in Football will detonate a young boleiros development instantly and while the vision of joyous play can never minimised, proper conditioning must be instituted. Given that it is not out uncommon for a player to log upwards of 15,000 metres in a match, a lean well conditioned athlete is an obvious requirement but equally one that is prepared primarily for explosive short bursts and the uniqueness of the sports technical demands. Training for the pitch, must recognise this is not a slow methodical jog but thousands of short, tight, explosive runs that are complicated with technical and tactical needs”

How do we review and measure fitness levels necessary for Soccer. While not perfect, the most direct and efficient way is through aerobic capacity, an athlete’s maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen during increased exercise. This is accomplished through determining an athletes VO2 max (see our article on VO2 max).

“If a player lacks the appropriate level of range of motion they will be unable to perform tasks on the pitch at the required level.”

How do we develop sufficient dynamic range of motion?

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At the start of each training session, ‘activate’ the core musculature, hip girdle and shoulder capsule. Failure to do so will result in eventual injury and movement patterning will not be optimal.

Performing a ‘warm up’ with ball drills is inadequate and will give rise to less than optimal movement pattern. This is particularly dangerous as logic suggests it will potentially engrain poor technical skill patterns.

Specifically we will break the ‘preparation period’ into three major sections, or blocks, of approximately four and six-minutes each. For Soccer development it is imperative a player’s demeanor should be relaxed with music encouraged that builds to a crescendo. Our blocks will be laid out as follows:


• Tumbling | Mat Drills | Indo Board

• Hurdle Mobility Drills

For a more definitive look into soccer and player development it is recommended that you purchase the ‘Beautiful Game I, II & III series of books written by John Davies ”

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Want more? Visit "The John Davies Collection" home page for a comprehensive list of articles and blogs.

Also be sure to say "Hello" on Twitter @renegadestyle and @rightcoastprojj

This Article has been re-published by Right Coast Pro with full permission, because that is how business should be done.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RightCoastPro, or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. RightCoastPro is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article.

The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. The information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.

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