Fitness in young players - to do or not to do

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 4_the_kids, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    You and I have said the same thing for the most part. On a macro level, yes certainly, SAQ equals fitness. But the fitness I am referring to = anaerobic/aerobic endurance which is different, with the key word being endurance.

    1. "the condition of being physically fit and healthy" which is what you are saying and as I've said is not wrong.

    Regardless, the discussion here is "should fitness be done for young players." We've all said yes. I say get the ball involved. Which I assume everyone agrees with. Then the discussion went to SAQ, and I don't think anyone argued against that. But when you have limited sessions per week it's difficult to decide how to prioritize training. If kids were at the park every day practicing with the ball then having them do SAQ at one of your team sessions is wonderful (my club offers SAQ every 2nd week and I highly encourage my players to attend). But the kids are not at the park every day so I say "get the ball involved."
     
  2. easoccer

    easoccer Established Member

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    Sorry TKBC, I brought it up it because its clearly discussed in the article in ops post. My point was that sometimes ball work is not enough for some players. Its even written in closing that a balance of ball work and non ball work is ideal. If we are stricly talking aerobic vs anaerobic then that is a narrow view because strength, agility, muscle memory, flexibility, etc are also important to soccer related fitness.

    But you are right we are mostly arguing the same point from different perspective.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  3. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    Learning proper technique is paramount to having success with any fitness related activity. If the technique is wrong its all a waste of time. Teach kids how to run properly first , then work om improving the strength... much like we teach how to pass properly then work on improving the quickness and decision making
    SAQ or speed, agility and quickness is fitness and improves cardio as well if done at pace. But yes its main purpose is the improve ones explosiveness and reaction time.

    Here is a link that has several SAQ with the ball drills, there are many more SAQ Drills
     
  4. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    I think we all agree fitness or some sort of fitness like activity should be part of training.

    I say this:

    U6-U9 - Maybe ladder work or rings during a warn up at the most. Any other fitness should come from soccer based activities with a ball and by increasing pace. introduce certain concepts and the correct techniques
    U10-U12 - Add more fitness like activities, SAQ preferable still with a ball, development teams need more emphasis on pace than house teams. Teaching proper running, sprinting, and dynamic stretching ( how many kids do these wrong). Encourage playing other sports off season.
    U13-U14 - Time to introduce more serious physical fitness ( SAQ, HIIT, body weight exercises, conditioning ) , encourage players to take responsibility for their own fitness. Additional fitness based sessions can be introduced, focus is on technique and introduction, light to no additional weights.
    U15-U16 - should consider introducing in the gym fitness, either as a group or individually. Strength development is important, resistance training , gradually introduce more weight, should be a mix of sport specific and general all around fitness. Mix it up with things like Grouse grind, longer runs, bike rides, hikes, other sports and on the field stuff. It needs to fun for them to want to do more.
    U17 on wards - foundation is set, more weight training, cardio, strength and power

    Obviously level of play will determine the motivation and to what level you take it too.

    Webster defines fitness as : good health and strength achieved through exercise - so really its all fitness :)
     
  5. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    When I say keep the ball involved I don't mean just do dribbling. I mean make sure the ball is involved when doing the fitness (endurance) training.

    We've already agreed with each other that SAQ is part of the fitness picture. But, I was referring to endurance more so.
     
  6. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    Please do not do weights of any kind with 12-13 year old boys. Don't even think about it until 15, and only under professional guidance.

    We should all read this.

    http://www.ecaeurope.com/Research/ECA Report on Youth Academies/ECA Report on Youth Academies.pdf

    But what stands out re: this discussion is "physical fitness training starts at most clubs from age 14."

    Ajax exercises "always with the ball at high tempo" Appears they don't track fitness until age 16 (and only over 30m). *I haven't read this report word for word*
     
  7. Semi Retired Soccer Coach

    Semi Retired Soccer Coach New Member

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    Uptempo small sided games with focus on quick movements and "on the ball" skills will take care of most, and probably all of your fitness needs. A slower paced "on the ball" warm up is essential to building good training habits and is a great way to build individual foot skills before any higher intensity movements in the remainder of a session.

    Simple yet effective dribbling around cones, through gates, short passing drills, etc are all great "warm ups" where you control the intensity of the player movement and progress up through more strenuous movements over a 10 or 15 minute time frame. Finish off with small team "competitive" relay races at high intensity and you're all done and your players have touched a ball several hundred times before you move on to "training."

    At later teen years you might incorporate some specific core building and/or fitness training but I've come to believe that fitness looks after itself if you run an uptempo session where the rest breaks are very short, the coach spends little time "lecturing" and the players are in constant movement. I see lots of examples on the fields all the time of team sessions grinding to a halt with players standing around doing nothing because a coach can't get out of their own way when it comes to setting up complicated drills and taking precious time to explain things. You can have your players do a 12 minute run at the beginning of a session, but you lose the benefits of that if they mostly stand around for the next hour without breaking a sweat.

    Remember, soccer is an endurance sport with constant movement and short bursts of high intensity so have a training plan that reflects the way the game is played.
     
  8. TKBC

    TKBC Established Member

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    ^absolutely.
     
  9. 4_the_kids

    4_the_kids Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Excellent advise. I have subscribed to the soccer fitness idea, and that temp will take care of most your needs. There is however rowing evidence to support sport specific training even at younger ages. My son recently has a hip flexor issue , we took him to a physiotherapist that specialized not only in sport injury but had in depth knowledge of soccer injuries and soccer in general as she played at the college level, and she mentioned that these kind of injuries are common in soccer players , and its is usually in the person main.strong leg that it occurs. Reason being many soccer players develop strength in balances in that the planted foot or non strong side is often stronger in the core muscles such has hip flexors as that side uses those stability muscles more. This can be overcome by playing other sports that require an athlete to use both feet of sides of the body at an equal amount.
    The other issues I have come by is many young players have poor running techniques, or some sort of foot or leg issue that is creating a poor technique. With the right help and training these issues can be overcome.... There are also some who need more exercise than even the highest tempo practices can provide or at least they need it 3-5 days a week not 2-3 ...
    Lastly many kids high school age take on their own fitness routines , often in a buddies basement or something, as a coach i'd rather support this with an environment that ensures proper techniques and exercises are being dome. This may not be for everyone. but it is essential to maximize potential. I am conflicted as to what age is appropriate as a see merit in two opposing theories.
    Also as with any sport when adding some sort of fitness program we have to make sure the athlete isn't being pushed to exhaustion or burn out at exercise and has nothing left for the pitch. The fitness i speak of is supplementary nor mandatory - training sessions are still the primary focus..
    If i can help i player balance his/her strength and create proper technique then i am providing a life ling benefit not just soccer.
    This is an interesting topic and we are only beginning to understand the pros and cons...
     

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