Preparation for football season is an important part of training that happens before the football season. With a competitive season that lasts from August thru May it’s difficult for any athlete to peak for each competitive challenge – a manager’s nightmare! Instead it’s important for each team player to come to the start of the season with a base of conditioning under his belt, prepared to begin the season playing instead of begin the season becoming conditioned.
In the competitive atmosphere of both high school and college sports an athlete who arrives the first day without conditioning will find themselves sitting on the bench if not in the stands.
Most of the running and strength training happens during the summer months in preparation for the winter campaign. The benefits of strength training is well supported by research. De Profit compared the work of Belgian professionals who performed extra weight training during the season with those who didn’t and found those that did had stronger kicking power and leg strength. Another researcher from Hungary, Peter Apor, concurs that strength training is beneficial to football players stating that strong hamstrings and quadriceps protect the knee from injury and strong abdominal muscles prevent hernias.
Strength training that helps players receive the most benefit are those that improve the strength of the trunk, legs and neck. These exercises can include leg curls, bench press, lat pull downs, leg press, abdominal crunches, leg extension and pull ups. Most of these strength training moves can be accomplished using multi-purpose gym equipment from the local Y to the team gym.
It is important not to overlook cardiac conditioning and speed work to give the athlete the speed training they need for the short bursts and endurance to maintain play throughout the whole game.
Players can intertwine both the road work and strength training to produce a well rounded conditioning program. There are several rules about weight training to help improve the benefits for the players. Use weight training only every other day. In other words, if the player uses weights on Monday morning they shouldn’t use weights again until Wednesday morning. This gives the muscles time to rebuild stronger than they were before.
Players should also intersperse speed work with endurance runs. So while players should run between 5 and 6 days a week they should do no more than 3 days of speed work and 3 days of endurance runs. Players should allow at least one day to rest and recover, and possibly two if they start the conditioning program in poor shape.
Always begin your runs with a warm up to loosen up the muscles and decrease the potential for injuries. Endurance runs can be between 3 and 4 miles depending upon the athlete. Sprint work outs should include 10 X 10 yard sprints, 10 x 20 yard sprints, and 10 x 40 yard sprints with a warm up and cool down jogs before and after.
Physical training in football is an important part of helping players to become more competitive and garner a spot on the team of their choice. With the help of a good coach and perseverance players are able to improve the general conditioning and strength making them better candidates for the team and less likely to be injured during the season.