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Dr mouwafk al mola documents


Dr mouwafk al mola documents ‫تطوير الفكر الرياضي لطلبة العلوم الرياضية‬


mouwafk majeed mola desk |


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Soccer practices

Key Factors 1. Change of Speed 2. Change of Direction

Starting Position Player's begin anywhere within the area.


Players move around the area at a moderate level until the coach says „Go‟, the player‟s must then sprint for 6 seconds before returning back to their original pace. The 25 second period is their recovery time so the harder they work in this interval the harder their overall session will be. There must be a change of pace when the coach says „Go‟. Realistically the player will not be running in a straight line for the duration of the 6 seconds during a match, therefore they should look to zig-zag and turn during the sprinting interval of this session. This can be performed with or without a ball. If a ball is used the same principles still apply and the player‟s must ensure they keep the ball under control. The coach determines how long the session lasts or how many sprinting intervals are

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Key Factors 1. Running with the Ball factors 2. Turning Factors

Starting Position Players‟ begin on the goal line.


They must touch every line of the pitch in the quickest time possible while keeping their ball under control. Between each line they must return to the goal line, while keeping the ball under control. Ensure that turns are low and there is a change of pace after the turn, especially when they start to experience fatigue. There could also be the added restriction regarding the foot they are allowed to use and the type or order of turns. The sequence is: Goal line to the 6 yard box to the Goal line Goal line to the18 yard box to the Goal line Goal line to the Halfway line to the Goal line Goal line to the Opposite 18 yard box to the Goal line Goal line to the Opposite 6 yard box to the Goal line

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Goal line to the Opposite goal line to the Goal line

Key Factors 1. Whole course should be completed at full speed 2. Correct technique should be employed at each station


Starting Position Those players actively completing the course begin at the start of the course.

First Station:Hurdle Header Players must jump over the single hurdle in front of them with a double footed jump. As they do this the server feeds the ball into them, so that they can head it back as they are in the air. The ball should be headed back to the servers chest, so the heading player should get above the ball and head the top half of the ball so that it is projected downwards. Once landed they continue onto station 2. Once the first person has gone the next player can approach the hurdle.

Second Station: Straight Sprint Once around the first pole the player must accelerate and sprint to the next pole. The poles should be 20-25 yards apart. The player must go low into the turn at the first pole and then explode out, pushing off with their back foot. The sprinter should not decelerate

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until they have passed the second pole.

Third Station: Ladder and Shot The third station is broken into two elements. The first and last ones are ladder based. The players move through the ladders as desired by the coach. Once the first ladder is completed the active player receives a pass from the server, they then have a strike at goal. Once the strike is taken they continue onto the second ladder. They once again complete this ladder as the coach desires; this can be in the same way as the first ladder or changed.

Fourth Station: Zig Zag Run The player must go around the outside of each of the poles. As they go around each cone they should get as low as possible and accelerate.

Fifth Station: Hurdles and Volley


Hurdles are cleared as the coach desires; hopped over, double footed jumps, high knees etc. Once the first 3 are cleared the server feeds in a ball to be volleyed back to their chest, with either their laces or inside of their foot. They then complete the next 3 hurdles before volleying the next ball back to the servers chest using their other foot. The space between the final station and the beginning is their recovery period, they should look to slowly jog between these two points before completing the entire course again. If any players catch the individual in front of them they can only overtake on the recovery run or the second station. Otherwise they will interfere with the proper completion of the station. Players should be discouraged from allowing people to pass them but instead work harder to stay ahead. Teams swap roles and responsibilities after a set duration or a number of times the

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course is completed

Key Factors 1. Get in Line 2. Present and Relax the Surface 3. Angle of Support 4. Quality of Pass; Accuracy, Weight &Height

Starting Position Players are split into groups of 3. 2 stand on the outside opposite each other, 1 with the ball. The final player begins in the middle.


The ball is passed from the first player to the player opposite them. As the ball is travelling the receiving player must get in line and control the pass. As this is happening the player in the middle should be adopting a supporting position that is angled and not too close to the receiving player. The receiving player then performs a wall pass with the middle player. Once the ball is laid off another longer ball is played to the opposite player once again. The middle player must then cover the ground again to offer a supporting angle to the new receiving player. Before another wall pass is played. All passes should be correctly weighted, accurate and played to the receiver‟s stronger side. The return pass of the wall pass should also be along the floor. All these factors contribute to being able to be passed first time. The sequence of passes is continued for the desired duration of time or number of passes. The longer the distance between the outer players the more distance the middle player

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has to cover, thus increasing the intensity.

Key Factors


1. Tracking of Movement 2. Body Shape & Positioning 3. Decision; where to show play 4. Communication 5. Patience

Starting Position As with a normal match – kick off or the ball is played in by the coach. This is a normal match, so goals are scored as they normally would be and other normal laws apply (except no offside). However players: Must man mark an opposition player. That player remains their responsibility for the duration of the game or until the coach changes it. Don‟t pass players on – their man is their responsibility all over the pitch. If forwards score, whole defending side does a forfeit at the end of the game. The marker

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of the scorer should do double the forfeit, Depending on age of players and their current fitness level it could be an extra shuttle or singe star jump etc. Observations should be based around the player‟s ability to track their attacker and remain ball side and goal side. In one on one situations; Can they prevent turning? Playing forward? Quick Attacks? Is their body shape appropriate? Sideways on, knees slightly bent, front of feet, forcing the attacker in the correct direction. Do they dive in or are they patient?


Key Factors 1. Quality of Pass; Accuracy, Weight & Height 2. Acceleration

Starting Position

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Players stand on a cone each. One of the players begins with the ball. There should be more cones laid out than players. The ball is passed from one player to the next. Once one player has passed the ball they sprint to an empty cone. The number of empty cones at any one time will depend on how many extra ones were laid out by the coach. There can only be one player at each cone, so if two players head for one then the slower of the two must continue to sprint to find another cone. The quality of the passing determines how well the session flows. If the play must stop every few moments to retrieve a ball then this will not be a very intense session. Passes should be accurate, correctly weighted and, ideally, along the ground.


Key Factors 1. Get in Line 2. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 3. Low Centre of Gravity 4. Acceleration

Starting Position

passes to




begins with the ball.

then plays the ball to

. Once the ball is passed to


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stands opposite

turns and

sprints to the cone placed behind them and back to their starting position. As they return to that position

passes the ball for them to pass off to

again. They then proceed to

turn and sprint again. Each turn should be as quick as possible and they should stay as low as possible. Coaches should not allow the quality of pass to decrease as the players‟ begin to fatigue. Factors that affect the intensity: Distance between

‟s starting position and cone behind them,

Number of passes or time duration of exercise.


Key Factors 1. Get in Line 2. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 3. Low Centre of Gravity 4. Acceleration

stands opposite



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Starting Position begins with the ball. The exactly the same

organisation is adopted by a second group behind

. All the non-running players of

both groups should be facing into the set-up and in the direction the pass will go. passes to


then plays the ball to

. Once the ball is passed to

sprints to the group behind them as this happens the same process, so that they end up in front of


turns and

, from the other group will complete and



then receive the pass

from their new group before turning and sprinting to their original group. This is continued until the desired time or repetitions are completed. Each turn should be as quick as possible and they should stay as low as possible. Coaches should not allow the quality of pass to decrease as the players‟ begin to fatigue. Factors that affect the intensity: Distance between the two groups Number of passes or time duration of exercise


View Session

Key Factors 1. Quality of Pass; Accuracy, Weight & Height

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2. Acceleration

Starting Position Players stand on a cone each. Coach begins on one cone and passes it to one of the players, then removes themselves from the grid. 1 more cone is laid out than the number or players, this ensures there is always an empty cone. The coach begins on the extra cone and once the ball is played by the coach they drop out. When the ball is passed on the passer must leave their cone and sprint to the one they received the pass from. The further apart the cones the more intense the running and the greater requirement for better passing. The quality of the passing determines how well the session flows. If the play must stop every few moments to retrieve a ball then this will not be a very intense session. Passes should be accurate, correctly weighted and, ideally, along the ground.

View Session


Key Factors 1. React to the Ball 2. Recover the Ball 3. Release the Ball

Starting Position One player remains stationary on the centre spot (or centre of the grid), their

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partner is positioned somewhere in the grid. The stationary player begins with the ball. They pass it into any area of the circle. The active player must react to where the ball is played and must recover it as quickly as possible. Once the ball is in their possession they must take as few as possible or the allocated number of touches, before returning it to their partner. The stationary player then plays it to another area of the grid for the same procedure to occur. Continue until the desired duration or number of passes have been reached. To increase the intensity: Increase or decrease the number of touches allowed – The fewer the touches the active player is allowed the more sprints can be included within a given time. Where the ball is played – Always going across the grid will involve the active player covering more ground and undertaking longer sprints. Add on an extra 5 seconds or pass for every pass that the stationary player has to move to retrieve.

View Session


Key Factors 1. Get in Line 2. Present the Surface 3. Technique of Pass

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4. Communication

Starting Position Split the group in two. Half stay inside the grid, while the other half take a ball each and spread themselves out around the outside of the grid. The players inside the grid move to one of the player‟s on the outside. The ball is then fed into them and they then return it to the feeder in the manner the coach desires (see end of session plan). Then they run and sprint to receive another pass. Players on the inside can not go around in a circle but must go across the grid each time. After the allocated time has elapsed the players on the inside swap with the players on the outside. When serving the ball to the inside players the return can be: One touch volley (laces or inside) Thigh then volley


Chest then volley Header Although any other variations can be employed. As there are a number of players moving around the inside of the grid they should communicate early with the players on the outside who to pass to.

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View Session

Key Factors 1. Sprint 2. Low in Turn 3. Accelerate 4. Communication

Starting Position All players start within the area. One player begins with the ball. All the players receive a number from 1 upwards. 1 must start with the ball. They throw the ball to 2, 2 throws it to 3 so forth, until the last person throws it back to 1. The ball must thrown while on the move, no players can remain static in the area. Once the player


has distributed the ball they must sprint around one of the poles on the outside and then return to the area before they are due to receive the ball again. When sprinting around the pole they should seek to get low in the turn and accelerate out back into the area. The time spent moving in the area is a mini recovery period, they have to be active but do not have to be a full speed. Players should also be encouraged to go around poles from different sides to they be accustomed to pushing off both feet and dropping both shoulders. Poles can be angled to promote a lower turn. As many players will be going in different directions communication is crucial so the player receiving the ball knows exactly where their next pass is. The fewer the players or the longer the runs the more intense this session becomes. This session can be carried out with be ball being passed between the players using their feet instead, attempt to encourage 1 touch play.

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View Session

Key Factors 1. React to Ball


2. Recover the Ball 3. Release the Ball

Starting Position One player remains stationary on one of the boundary lines, they begin with the ball. The other player (the active one) positions themselves somewhere within the area. Stationary player passes the ball wherever they want into the area. The active player must gain possession of the ball and pass it back to server. This is then repeated until the desired number of passes or duration has been completed. Factors that determine the intensity: 

Size of area - Area ball is played into. The further from the player the ball is played the more distance they have to cover.

Duration of exercise - Number of passes required. An extra pass or seconds can

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be added to the target total if the stationary player must move (beyond a predetermined distance) to reclaim a pass.

Key Factors


1. Technique at each station

Starting Position Players with balls at relevant cones. Other players stand behind the first cone. Begin in a straight line at the starting cone. The first player () runs out to the cone directly in front of them and changes direction to one of the sides. They continue up that route until they are facing the ball holder. The ball is then thrown to, who volleys the ball back to the feeder. Once they have completed the volley they turn and sprint back to the cone behind them, then continue up the course to the next cone. Once there they change direction again to run towards the next feeder. This time returns the ball to the feeder by heading it back. They then return to the centre cone again and head back up the pitch again, where they run onto a pass from the final feeder, to perform a strike at goal. Once they have completed the course they run slowly back to the start to commence it again. Overtaking can occur on the recovery stretch of the course. All the running elements of

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the course should be completed at full speed. Coach should ensure that the ball related elements of the course are completed to the desired standard. Factors to influence the intensity of the session: 

Distances between cones.

Distances between outer cones and central cones.

Number of times the course must be completed.

View Session

Key Factors


1. Eyes Open 2. Mouth Closed 3. Body Shape 4. Head Bottom Half of Ball 5. Execution

Starting Position Players start opposite each other 15 yards apart. One player has a ball. The player without the ball runs towards the server. They then drop to the floor, either in a tackle or by sitting. They must then regain an upright position as quickly as possible and head the ball back to the server. The throw from the server should occur just as the player is regaining their upright position. This allows time for the ball to travel and for the player to be prepared. There is no point throwing it with the player still on the floor and the ball just going past them.

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The heading player must seek to head the ball back to the chest or feet of the server. In order to achieve this they should assess the flight and get in line with the ball early and be prepared to jump if required. Once they are in line with the ball they should watch the ball onto their forehead, ensuring their mouth is kept closed. They should then move forward to meet the ball, using the muscles in their back and neck for power. The amount of power obtained will be dependant on the body shape they adopt. They can be square or sideways on. A sideways on stance allows for the body to be arched further back and can therefore come forward to meet the ball with more velocity. Once the ball is headed back they return to their original position before completing the whole sequence again. Alternate server after every 5 headers. This session is not entirely appropriate to Astroturf due to the sand and the fact the player has to go to ground. If performing on Astroturf, take care.

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Key Factors 1. Eyes Open 2. Mouth Closed 3. Body Shape 4. Head Bottom Half of Ball 5. Execution

Starting Position Players start opposite each other 25 yards apart, each with a ball. The last player begins in the middle of them. The player without the ball runs towards one of the outside players. They then drop to the floor, either in a tackle or by sitting. They must then regain an upright position as

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quickly as possible and head the ball back to the server. The throw from the server should occur just as the player is regaining their upright position. This allows time for the ball to travel and for the player to be prepared. There is no point throwing it with the player still on the floor and the ball just going past them. The heading player must seek to head the ball back to the chest or feet of the server. In order to achieve this they should asses the flight and get in line with the ball early and be prepared to jump if required. Once they are in line with the ball they should watch the ball onto their forehead, ensuring their mouth is kept closed. They should then move forward to meet the ball, using the muscles in their back and neck for power. The amount of power obtained will be dependant on the body shape they adopt. They can be square or sideways on. A sideways on stance allows for the body to be arched further back and can therefore come forward to meet the ball with more velocity. Once the ball is headed back they turn and sprint to the player opposite them, where they repeat the same sequence. The middle player continues to move between the two players until the desired duration has elapsed or the desired number of headers have been completed.


This session is not entirely appropriate to Astroturf due to the sand and the fact the player has to go to ground. If performing on Astroturf, take care.

Key Factors 1. Quality of Throw; accuracy, weight & height 2. Quality of Header 3. Low Centre of Gravity in Turn

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4. Acceleration

Starting Position 2 players stand 25 yards apart, facing each other. The third player is in the middle of them. stands with the ball in the middle of


, each of the outer players have a ball. The

distance between the two outer players is dependant on the desired intensity of the exercise.

runs towards one of the outer players‟, they then throw the ball up to them to

head back. Once they have returned the ball to the outer player, they turn and run to the other player, where they proceed to perform another header. They continue running the ball between


for the desired time limit or for the desired number of passes.

Turns should be as quick and sharp as possible, when turning they should seek to get as low as possible and accelerate once turned. Factors that affect the intensity of the exercise:


Distance between the two outer players. Longer the distance the further the ball carrier has to run.

The throw is short. The longer the throw the less distance the middle man has to run between passes.

The height of the throw. If the player has to jump to return the header the difficulty is increased.

NB: Do not focus too much on the key factors as this is a fitness session. Only correct if their poor technique is affecting the intensity they work at.

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View Session

Key Factors 1. Get in Line 2. Present the Surface 3. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 4. Speed of Movement

Starting Position Players stand opposite each other 10 yards apart. passes to

. Once the ball is played

moves backwards towards the line 5 yards

behind them, once they reach that line they move forward back to their original position. should time it right so that they are coming back to their original position as the pass


returns from their partner. While

is performing this the ball should have travelled to

who will pass it back then perform the same backwards and forwards movements as


The intensity of this session is dependant on: Distance the players have to travel between passes

The weighting of the pass (soft means further to run, harder means less to run)

Distance between players

Exercises to perform on back line (up to head a ball, 1 press up or a squat)

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Key Factors 1. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 2. Low Centre of Gravity in Turn 3. Acceleration

Starting Position 2 players stand 25 yards apart, facing each other. The third player is in the middle of them. stands without the ball in the middle of


, each of the outer players have a ball.

The distance between the two outer players is dependant on the desired intensity of the exercise.

runs the ball towards one of the outer players‟, they then play a wall pass

with that player. Once they have returned the ball to the outer player, they turn and run to


the other player, where they proceed to play another wall pass. They continue running the ball between


for the desired time limit or for the desired number of passes.

Turns should be as quick and sharp as possible, when turning they should seek to get as low as possible and accelerate once turned. Factors that affect the intensity of the exercise: 

Distance between the two outer players. Longer the distance the further the ball carrier has to run.

The initial pass of the wall pass is short. The longer the pass the less distance the middle man has to run between passes.

NB: Do not focus too much on the key factors as this is a fitness session. Only correct if their poor technique is affecting the intensity they work at.

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View Session

Key Factors 1. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 2. Low Centre of Gravity in Turn 3. Acceleration

Starting Position 2 players stand 25 yards apart, facing each other. The third player is in the middle of


them. stands without the ball in the middle of


, each of the outer players have a ball.

The distance between the two outer players is dependant on the desired intensity of the exercise.

runs the ball towards one of the outer players‟, they then play a wall pass

with that player. Once they have returned the ball to the outer player, they turn and run to the other player, where they proceed to play another wall pass. They continue running the ball between


for the desired time limit or for the desired number of passes.

Turns should be as quick and sharp as possible, when turning they should seek to get as low as possible and accelerate once turned. Factors that affect the intensity of the exercise: 

Distance between the two outer players. Longer the distance the further the ball carrier has to run.

The initial pass of the wall pass is short. The longer the pass the less distance the

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middle man has to run between passes. NB: Do not focus too much on the key factors as this is a fitness session. Only correct if their poor technique is affecting the intensity they work at.

View Session

Key Factors


1. Quality of Pass; accuracy, weight & height 2. Receiving and Turning 3. Running with the Ball

Starting Position 2 players stand 25 yards apart, facing each other. The third player is in the middle of them, with the ball. stands with the ball in the middle of


. The distance between the two outer

players is dependant on the desired intensity of the exercise.

runs the ball towards one

of the outer players‟, they then play a wall pass with that player. Once they have received the ball back they turn and run the ball to the other player. They continue running the ball between


for the desired time limit or for the desired number of passes.

Factors that affect the intensity of the exercise: 

Distance between the two outer players. Longer the distance the further the ball

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carrier has to run. The return pass of the wall pass is short. The longer the return pass the less distance the ball carrier has to run. NB: Do not focus too much on the key factors as this is a fitness session. Only correct if their poor technique is affecting the intensity they work at.

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Key Factors 1. Curved Approach 2. Quick but Decelerate 3. Body Shape

Starting Position 2 players stand at one end of the area, 1 has the ball. The defending players begin opposite them at the required distance. The ball is played between the two 'resting' players ( ). The active players ( ) must shut down the player opposite them as the ball travels. It will be possible for the active playing to begin their movement when they are certain the ball is to be played, but not before. ‟s approach should be: As quick as possible, decelerating as they near situation, 

, so that, in a competitive

would not beat them with their first or second touch.

Curved so that they begin to limit the amount of options that

has and forces

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them to play in a certain direction (the coach can force them to show one way or the player can decide themselves). Once applying pressure to


must ensure that they force the play in only one

direction, thus making play predictable. They adopt a body position that shows (or forces) the player in only one direction. Their body shape should be: 

Sideways on and touch tight, so that

can not go the other side of them.

Knees bent 

Weight on front of feet (heels not flat on floor)

Close enough to threaten the ball so that

must keep their eyes on the ball so as a

result they cannot get their head up to look for options. The ball is then passed back to the original

, and the defender opposite them must shut

them down in the same fashion as their team mate just did. This cycle then continues.


Factors that effect the intensity of the session: 

Distance between

Time the

Distance between the

Weight of the passes (harder equals harder, shorter travelling time)

How far the

Swap over

's and

's (longer equals harder, more ground to cover)

's hold onto the ball for (shorter duration equals harder, less recovery) 's (shorter equals harder, shorter travelling time)

's are required to retreat between each turn (longer equals harder)

's and

's once the desired number of turns or duration have been reached.

Regularly charge the variables so that players get used to shutting down over a variety of distances.

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View Session

Key Factors 1. Close Control 2. Disguise 3. Change of Speed 4. Change of Direction


Starting Position Players begin in the opposite half of the grid to their partner (both halves of the + shape of central cones, therefore diagonally), each player has a ball. One player is the leader and the other is the reactor. The leader must move around the area. They are free to move wherever they wish to. The reactor must ensure that they are never in the same half of the grid as their partner. As the players move around they should do so as quickly as possible and the leader should look to change direction often, in order to deceive their partner. However the ball should always remain under their control. After a certain time limit the players swap roles. As there could be more than one partnership moving around within the grid, the players should take care when changing direction and ensure that they do not run into anyone else's ball or another person. The coach can stand at the side of the grid and hold something up to mean different

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things: - One hand: 20 touches on top of the ball - Two hands: Swap partners Or different coloured bibs to signal instructions. By doing this it forces the players moving around inside the area to pay attention to the coach and be aware of what is happening around them.

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Key Factors 1. Close Control 2. Disguise

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3. Change of Speed 4. Change of Direction

Starting Position Players begin in the opposite half of the grid to their partner (both halves of the + shape of central cones, therefore diagonally), each player has a ball. One player is the leader and the other is the reactor. The leader must move around the area. They are free to move wherever they wish to. The reactor must ensure that they are never in the same half of the grid as their partner. As the players move around they should do so as quickly as possible and the leader should look to change direction often, in order to deceive their partner. However the ball should always remain under their control. After a certain time limit the players swap roles.


As there could be more than one partnership moving around within the grid, the players should take care when changing direction and ensure that they do not run into anyone else's ball or another person. The coach can stand at the side of the grid and hold something up to mean different things: - One hand: 20 touches on top of the ball - Two hands: Swap partners Or different coloured bibs to signal instructions. By doing this it forces the players moving around inside the area to pay attention to the coach and be aware of what is happening around them.

Adaptations that can Occur to a Training Session View Shorter Version Field Size – The size of the pitch the players have to operate in can affect their performance in many ways. The area can directly determine how many players can be

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realistically accommodated. It can also determine how much pressure the player in possession of the ball will experience. The smaller the area the more compact the play, therefore the greater the pressure on the „attacking‟ team to create and utilise space, as the defending team has less ground to cover to apply the pressure. Channels and Zones – These areas that can are clearly laid out with the pitch confines using markers and they provide the players with specially defined roles and restrictions. Channels run the length of the pitch and are usually used to encourage and enhance wing or counter attacking play. Zones run horizontally across the pitch and are mostly used to enhance the thirds of the pitch or to create designated scoring zones. Overloading the Coached Team – By enabling the coached team to have a greater number of players the chance of their success is heightened (defensive or attacking orientated). Also with the opposition being outnumbered there are more opportunities for the superior team to interact.


Underloading the Coached Team – The intensity at which the players have to operate, to be successful, is increased when their numbers are lower than their opposition. They must work harder to regain and retain possession. Floaters – Floaters are players that are given the freedom to play for either of the teams, when they are in possession of the ball, so that both teams experience an overload and underload scenario. Target Player's – These are individuals placed in positions to determine the direction of play. Goalkeepers – By adding in goalkeepers the realism of the session is increased.

Methods to score Goals Full size (ensuring they are appropriate to the age of the players): Will provide the most realism. Smaller sized: It is harder to score as the area to shoot at is reduced, more than two

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goals can also be placed within the field of play. Triangular: Works on the goalkeepers foot movement and positioning. Can also increase the speed of play around the goals as players try to manoeuvre a shooting opportunity at an empty goal. Double sided goals: Are placed within the confines of the pitch so that play can occur behind the goal. Creativity of the attackers is increased along with the concentration and movement of the defending side. Number of goals: An increase in the number of goals gives the attacking team more than one option to head for. Also means the defending team has more than one consideration when deciding where to force the play. Scoring Zones End zones: Areas that are the width of the pitch where the players must run the ball into themselves or pass into for a team mate to run onto. Gates within the pitch: Must pass the ball through to score. There can be numerous gates within the pitch.


Target areas: These are similar to zones in the way they work but are smaller and do not cover the entire width of the pitch. Scoring Methods These are restrictions that determine how goals are scored. These enforce players to utilise other techniques and approaches that they may not usually use or that are in accordance with the session topic. Some restrictions include: 

Weaker foot shooting.


One touch.


Restrictions Some restrictions can be introduced to adapt the session to constrict the player‟s performance to focus on particular elements: 1. Minimum or maximum number of touches: A restriction on the maximum number

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of touches means that players have to create space quicker and also requires an increase in their awareness and communication. A limit on the minimum number of touches means that players must take more touches which places them in possession of the ball for a longer period. As a result they encounter more one versus one situations and also places more emphasis on increased foot speed. 2. Minimum or maximum number of passes before shooting: By setting a limit on the amount of passes can affect the manner and build up play of the teams. A maximum number of passes means that teams must incorporate quick play and counter attacking as they must seek to penetrate quickly and directly approach the opposition‟s goal. By setting a minimum number of passes team mates are forced to support the man in possession to ensure the required number of passes is met. The focus becomes on possession retention before penetrating. 3. Everyone must touch the ball: Ensures that no players „hide‟ as their team can not score until they have all been in possession. This restriction also ensures all players on both teams concentrate as they must be aware of who has touched the ball. Quick passing interchanges are also encouraged.


Balls 1. Size (as with the goals their maximum size should be age appropriate): Smaller balls, can be used to improve first touch. While softer balls can be used when introducing the concept of heading. 2. Number: By using more footballs the reaction, interaction and concentration of the players are all increased.

3. Attackers: Don't make the Defenders Life Easy! 4. Attacking play can be broken down into simple, manageable portions, that once they are all connected can make a defender‟s life hell. 5. 6. Remember, defenders prefer:

8. 1.

Attackers that remain visible to them

9. 2.

Attackers who have their backs to goal

10. 3.

Attackers who remain static

11. 4.

To retain a goal side position

12. 5.

To remain in position and in their comfort zone

13. 6.

To have colleagues around them for support

14. 7.

Attacks to be slow and predictable to allow them time to react and move

15. 8.

Attackers who work in isolation

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16. 17. For these reasons attackers should look to: 18. 19. 1.

Remain active, looking to create or exploit space

20. 2.

Threaten the back of defenders

21. 3.

Perform blindside runs

22. 4.

Combine with team moves to generate openings

23. 5.

Turn, or at least half turn, with the ball so they can attack the goal

24. 6.

Disguise intentions

25. 7.

Attack at speed

Career Transition


No one can play forever and no one can accurately predict when they will have to stop playing. The end of their career could occur due to age, depreciation in performance, personal motivation, changes in financial or personal circumstances and injury. When the time comes to finally hang up the boots it can be a very difficult period for any player, not just those involved in the game on a fulltime basis. With the end of their involvement they may experience: 

Additional unfilled time

A loss of identity

A loss of social support and groups

All of which can be very distressing for an individual. Therefore as coach‟s (and part of the social support they will be missing) it is your duty to assist and prepare players so that this transitional period is as undisruptive as possible.

Ways to assist: Reduce the reliance, not just as an interest or exercise but also as a means of

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income reliance. If the player is encouraged to undertake qualifications while playing in something of interest (coaching or even something non football related) then they will have something also to focus on (possibly generate an income from) once their playing days are over. 

Enlist the support, of those who offer social support (friends, family, coach, team mates and others) to ensure the transition is smooth.

Encourage them to keep open their communication channels with other players even after they have stopped playing. Offer them contributing roles (assistant coach, someone is always needed to collect cones!) or involve in team social activities, and invite to games. Many players may reject these offers but it is still nice to be asked.

Offer a listening ear. Some players may be reluctant to seek conventional help (therapy) but they may be willing to speak openly with a friend (or associate) so let them know you are there to listen.


Remember that the sport could have been a major element of their lives for a number of years, so do not just cut them off and expect them to be okay. It must also be pointed out that some individuals will embrace and undertake their progression positively, so not everyone will require the same level of support and guidance – although allowing them to know you are still there for them is always encouraged.

Coaches Expectations Towards Player's The only difference between the bride and the bridesmaid is the amount of attention and compliments one of them receives. It is the feeling of being treated specially that makes her feel better, more confident and that she has achieved something special. The greater the confidence the more likely they are to enjoy themselves and achieve more. This may not seem totally appropriate to the art of coaching but it has more relevance than the first view may suggest. Individuals (the majority of) act as they feel they are expected to. So if the coach expects more out of them, more often than not, the players will push themselves that little bit harder to achieve those targets set. Unfortunately the

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same applies the other way round, if a player feels that the coach expects little or nothing from them then many, with the exception of few intrinsically motivated, will just cruise through and not give 100%. So to refer back to the original analogy, the bride takes the spotlight and the bridesmaid retreats to the shadows, regardless their natural personality traits while the individuals treat them differently. The coaches‟ communication, body language and attitude employed can usually represent the expectations they hold for each of their individual player‟s or even the entire team. These messages are often passed on unintentionally, but never-the-less they are passed on. It could occur in the levels of attention the coach gives to different players or in the manner which they describe their player‟s to fellow coaches or individuals. Consider the following two overly used sentences „Well done, excellent you‟ll do great in the match Jimmy, now lets try this one‟ and „You‟ve almost got it, don‟t give up Scotty‟. Both could be portrayed as a coach trying to motivate the two player‟s but which player do you think will respond in a more positive manner? Will it be the one who has been praised and been shown special attention or will it be the one who has just had a passing comment aimed in their direction?


It is the coaches‟ role to help all their player‟s realise and reach their potential, not to pre determine what level they will achieve and coach them accordingly. How will a player improve if they do not have the instruction and information to do so? Therefore the process for an individual to reach their full potential and achieve a level of self pride and a feeling of fulfilment can be greatly affected by the perception they feel the coach has of them. This perception is created and the resultant behaviour emerges through a four-stage cycle: 1. Expectations for the player‟s performance level are developed by the coach. 2. The manner and approach the coach has towards the player may vary once the expectations exist. 3. The coaches‟ expectations, manner and approach may, positively or negatively, affect the performance, confidence and learning speed of the player. 4. The majority of player‟s will allow their performance to conform to the expectations originally developed by the coach.

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The cycle then begins again as the coaches‟ expectations change and re-develop. Some coaches‟ expectations of a player are quite evident by the relationship they have with them and the behaviour they show towards them. As a coach consider which of your players receive more interpersonal contact (such as conversations, smiles and praise from you) and greater aid and assistance to enhance their performance (such as new material to practice or homework assignments). Now consider the expectations of all those players. Which ones do you tend to have more time for? Is there actually any evident bias in your approach at all? If you are unsure or think not, then you could ask someone to observe how you treat your players, you do not have to tell the observer your expectations of the players, but it may be interesting to hear what the independent individual perceives regarding your behaviour. Basically put, if you expect very little then that what you will mostly get, however if you set and expect an achievable high standard then your players will conform and a visible improvement will occur.

Coaching Children


For any coach who is working with young players, it is crucial that they appreciate that their players are not miniature adults and understand exactly how they differ.

Children will participate in football because of the following reasons: 

Pressure – from parents, friends and family, it may not be their choice but one made for them.

Role models – they may wish to emulate their role models, who usually happen to be the most popular one or their favourite in the team they support.

Enjoyment – children see it looks fun, have fun doing it, so keep participating. Never forget or over look this one, as it is a vital component.

Social – To make friends and meet new people.

Exercise – Football is a good form of enjoyable exercise.

Success – In it to win it, however these players should not forget the other reasons why some participate, or they may ruin it for them. Need to be surrounded by

Belonging – To feel part of a team or group.

Boredom – They may have nothing else available to them.

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likewise individuals and also kept in check.

One way children and adults are similar is how they judge success, however as a coach you should be aware of which measurements are more important to the long term development of the player. Measures of success include: 

Increased ability – improving as a player.

Pride – feeling proud in how they perform.

Pleasing others – especially their parents

Surpassing their own limits – overcome the obstacles they would normally have failed at.

Needed by others – to feel wanted and needed by team mates, adds to pride and self value.

Winning over people – overcoming people‟s expectations of them.


Personal achievement – winning games, leagues, trophies and awards.

Enjoyment – if they are having fun then they feel successful.

The way they view and measure success can then be converted into the goals they have. Some of the common goals aimed for by children include: 

Demonstrate ability

Task mastery

Social approval


Break barriers

Team work

Not achieving their goal or not experiencing what they view as success are just two

Transfer of interests – especially seen with teenagers

Withdrawal of pressure – the pressure they experienced to force them into it is no

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reasons why children may decide to withdraw from participation, other reasons include:

longer present, allows them to withdraw. 

Coach behaviour – believe it or not, the attitude and behaviour of the coach has a large effect on players and their own behaviour. Should they fall out with or be put off playing by their coach then they may withdraw completely.

Friends – their friends do not play or are no longer playing, so they stop. Their friends have moved into better standards and they are unable to follow.

Perception of ability – feel they are not good enough, although they will always find a standard appropriate for their level of ability.

Realism – they realise they will never emulate their heroes so decide against playing all together. Suffers of the „all or nothing‟ syndrome.

Coaching the Perfectionist


View Short Version The process of continual improvement is based on the ability for the player and their coach to constantly reassess the strengths and weaknesses in their performance. However for the player to reach their full potential they will have to take some of the analysing responsibility from the coach and self-evaluate their own performance. The ability to be self critical and analyse your own performance can be a very beneficial and positive personality trait. However, the possibility does exist that the player may become over critical and develop an obsession with being perfect. Such an approach is unhealthy and can result in the player becoming increasing incensed and frustrated regarding their own performance, thus adversely affecting the levels of performance reached. There also exists the possibility that in a team sport such as soccer the frustration experienced by the perfectionist to be transmitted, or even vented, on their team mates. These players may also develop into the kind of players that are very difficult to coach and may even become a source of frustration or disruption for the coach(es). It is therefore crucial that the coach understands how to approach and aid such individuals

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so that they can use their self-critical nature in a positive and beneficial manner. This article looks to educate coaches in the processes of action that can implemented to reduce the perfectionists frustration levels or even remove the need to reach perfection: 1. List the Advantages and Disadvantages of being Perfect Through this exercise it will become clearly evident early on in this list that the advantages are heavily outweighed by the disadvantages. For example the sacrifices the individual must make to obtain such an achievement. 2. Satisfaction is not Dependant on Perfection Highlight the fact that the player does not need to obtain perfection in training, a match or even a season to be satisfied. If they are always unsatisfied with their performance level then that can eventually lead to one of two things occurring. The first is that a lower level of motivation may occur, which if allowed to continue to decline can lead to the withdrawal from the sport. The second outcome could be that they become unhealthily addicted to the pursuit of perfection. Either way both will not aid their overall performance.


3. Lowering the Possibility of Addiction This can be achieved by limiting the amount of sessions a week they can complete or the duration and intensity of them. Although a certain level of training is required to effectively compete during a match too much can have detrimental effects and cause health complications and injuries. 4. Perfect Areas and the Learning Curve Break down the controllable components of the individuals performance into areas (such as speed, possession retention, tackling, heading etc) and from that list analyse and assess which parts of their performance can be perfected and which areas can still be performed to sub- perfect standard yet still achieve the desired outcome. This will aid in helping them focus their attention on the elements that really matter. They should also remember they are only humans and that mistakes are inevitable, however that should not be a source of depression. Mistakes aid performance as they provide the individual making them with something to learn from. They should be encouraged to be creative and to try new things and make mistakes in order to enhance their performance; the key being.. not to make the

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same mistake twice. 5. Goals and Targets This is an integral aspect when dealing with the perfectionist. By the nature of their approach they will be consistently setting themselves unrealistic and practically unachievable targets and goals. So it is up to the coach to set the goals for them ensuring they are not too easy yet also ensuring they are appropriately challenging so that they can be achieved with the correct application of effort and training. The goals can also change from outcome to performance and process based. As soccer is a team sport, it is very rare that one individual player can completely dictate the outcome, so change their attitude so that they look at their own performance and the process of how their skills were performed and completed, rather than whether the team was successful. 6. Attitude The attitudes of the player and coach should always remain positive. Look to surround any negative aspects of their performance with positives so that they


clearly understand what they have done well before focussing on the poorer aspects. This should reduce the possibility of them fixating on those elements. This article is aimed at aiding the perfectionist and their coach deal with their personality and not intended to deter anyone from actually seeking perfection, just do not allow it to become an over powering addiction. As Vince Lombardi once said „Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.‟

The Coaching Process View Shorter Version In its most general terms performance coaching is the process to improve an individuals or teams performance in a competitive surrounding, which is achieved through rationally planned and implemented programmes. The main element of that definition is that coaching is a process. It is not just simply one or two isolated and unrelated elements. It is nearly impossible to break down the overall role of coaching in such a way. Instead coaching should be viewed as a process that incorporates the many differing tasks, roles

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and responsibilities the coach has. If forced into it‟s most simplistic, the coaching process can be broken down into 3 cyclical stages: assessment, planning and implementation.

Assessment The coach must look at the performances of those under their guidance and evaluate what their strengths and weaknesses are. Not just as individuals but also as partnerships, units and a team. They may also be required to assess and evaluate their opponents.

Planning The coach must decide on what sessions they will conduct for their players. For these sessions to be appropriate and relevant, the coach should plan them in advance based on their findings in the Assessment stage. A coaching programme, one of quality, cannot just be created ad hoc as the coach goes along. Instead the sessions should be


systematically planned and prepared. The planning phase will be greatly aided through previous experiences, knowledge gained and an open mind.

Implementation The coach should then be able to conduct and execute the sessions they have planned. Regardless how well planned the sessions are they need to be implemented in the correct manner and to the correct level of technical detail for the standard of the team and players involved. Then once the implementation stage is completed the coach will then assess the players again and restart the whole process. However, it does not take a lot of consideration of the 3 stages outlined above to see that it is possible to dissect them further to discover, other factors and requirements that contribute to the successful completion of the coaches role. Such factors include: Expert or Specialist Knowledge: How can any of the stages be successfully completed without the coach possessing any relevant knowledge? To begin with in the assessment stage the coach will have to know what to assess and what is expected of each player to complete their assessment. Goal Setting: How can plans be created if they do not know

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what it is they wish to achieve? The coach must therefore develop goals to aim for and thus plan according to them. Man Management: How can the sessions be conducted and be effective if the coach has no man management skills? The coach must be able to communicate their ideas and knowledge across. It is beginning to become clearly obvious that there are many additional factors that contribute to the successful completion of the 3 original stages. It is then possible to break down the additional factors even further to generate more components of the coaching process. For example man management involves discipline, communication and an analysis of their general persona. So to attempt to break the profession of coaching down into simplistic stages that incorporate all its elements is difficult and highly unrealistic. To be a good coach an awareness and appreciation must be gained as to all the elements that contribute to the overall coaching process. Any individuals that do not embrace the idea that coaching is a process and still view their roles as isolated elements will never reach their full potential or help their players reach theirs.


Tips for Coaching the Younger Generation View Shorter Version Create an Enjoyable Learning Environment - Where the players feel included and part of their own learning. Safety should be a priority – Ensure all sessions are conducted in a secure area which is free from potentially dangerous hazards, such as roads, rivers or inappropriate surfaces. It is not just the environmental and facility based safety needs that should be considered but also the equipment, which should be safe and usable. Medical requirements – Establish a database of all the player‟s medical requirements, needs and next of kin contact numbers, ensuring that the details are kept close to hand in case any emergency arises. The location of first aid equipment should be known and all venue and session emergency procedures should be understood by all. Prepare for sessions – Young players have short concentration spans and as a result can „switch off‟ very quickly during periods of inactivity. To reduce the chance of this occurring, the session should be planned and organised so that it can flow quickly from

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one exercise to the next. Punctuality is also crucial. Realistic goals – Do not expect too much of them, they are still young, under developed and impressionable so do not place undue pressure on them through unrealistic goals. Codes of conduct – Discuss all codes of conducts with players, parents/guardians and fellow coaches at the beginning of the season so that each fully understands their own roles and responsibilities. Then continually reiterate these points throughout the season. Accept and appreciate your role – The coach is in a position of power and one that the players look up to. This means the behaviour, attitude and actions of the coach should reflect that position. Fair play – Express, educate and enforce sportsmanship from everyone associated with the club or team. Post match analysis – Allow players to reflect on their own performance and speak to them individually about what they did well and possible areas for improvement. Do not just scream and bellow at them if the game did not go as planned. At their age


enjoyment, participation and self improvement are the key elements; not whether the game was won or lost. Selection – If in a team based environment, record the number of starts each player has had and try to switch individuals around so everyone has an equal amount of playing time. Try to remember that when selecting a team some players will not be starting and will therefore feel a certain degree of rejection, try to explain to these players the reasoning behind your decision. Do not show favouritism towards the more gifted individuals and use common sense with regards to players and injuries

Communication View Shorter Version It is no secret that for a coach to be successful then they must be able to communicate with their staff and players. This article seeks to look at the communication process from sender to receiver and highlight some of the reasons why there are so many misinterpretations. „Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood‟ – Freeman Teague, Jnr

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The Communication Process There is a process that is undertaken by everyone when they wish to convey information from themselves to another individual. There are many different processes outlined in modern texts on this subject but essentially they can be compressed down into 3 stages; Contemplation, Encoding and Decoding. The Contemplation Stage focuses upon the individual who wishes to send the information. This individual will receive visual and verbal signals and triggers from the environment surrounding them. Once they have analysed these indicators they then contemplate sending or relaying their own message. Once the decision is made the information they wish to send must be encoded. The Encoding Stage involves the sender placing their message into their desired channel of delivery. This can be verbal or through body language. It is suggested that of all the information exchanged between the sender and the receiver approximately 55-60% is through body language, 30-35% is through the tone used and only 10% is actually the


words being used. This means that up to 90% of the message that the receiver must interpret is unrelated to the words they are hearing. Once the message has been encoded and transmitted, it must then be received and decoded by the receiver. The Decoding Stage occurs once the receiver has received incoming message. They then analyse all the aspects of the message; the body language, tone and words used. As they analyse it they begin to evaluate exactly what they feel the sender meant, whether that is the same as the sender intended comes down to how well the message was encoded.

Influences and Restrictions Almost every aspect of life can be influenced or restricted by one factor or another, and the communication process is no different. There are many internal and external factors that can critically affect the receiving of a message or the intended interpretation of that message. Influences: At each stage of the process there is a chance for the sender to inadequately

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send the information they intended. This can be down to; The contemplation stage taking too long: The longer the duration between receiving the message and relaying their own one may lead to the potential receivers switching off or misunderstanding what is said. This is especially crucial in coaching sessions, as if something goes wrong and the coach delays stopping the play, the situation may be lost and extremely difficult to recreate, making coaching very challenging. The tone of the message: The tone employed by the sender has already been mentioned but it is extremely important to conveying the desired message. Take the simple statement „good effort‟, this can be interpreted differently if the tone used is sarcastic or heart-felt. However even if the sender encodes the message perfectly and all their channels of delivery are appropriate the message they are sending can still not fully reach its intended target due to restrictions. Restrictions are factors that may interfere and block the message while it is being sent. Some of the obvious restrictions include:


The weather. It is possible for the weather to play a huge part on the message being received. Players may be less attentive during extreme climates (hot, cold or wet), as their minds are on different issues (keeping cool, warm or dry, respectively). A howling wind may also prevent even the most receptive person from hearing the message, while a strong sun may prevent players from seeing a demonstration being conducted. To overcome such problems the coach should face the sun or bring the group in close to them when discussing important factors.

The proximity of those involved. The distance between the sender and the receiving individuals will also effect the successful transmission of information. The further the distance between the player and the coach the harder it is to be heard or the details of a demo to be seen. So this factor should be appreciated by the coach and elevate their voice or adapt their demonstrations accordingly.

External noise. This can cause a major problem when sending information. Verbal information may become drowned out by talking, music, traffic or the bouncing of footballs. These noises may also cause the receivers to turn away and miss

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demonstrations and communication encoded in body language. External noise should therefore be kept to a minimum. 

The visual distractions. Regardless what players claim, they can not be looking and focussing on one thing and still be fully concentrating on what the coach has to say. Therefore any distractions around the pitch should be removed or ignored. Such distractions can include matches or other sessions being conducted, bright lights, an attractive or unusual sight and other thought or reaction provoking stimuli.

There may also be some factors that the coach can not influence or control but still have a very large effect on the final outcome of the player receiving the intended message. These factors may not be fully visible and therefore are often ignored or unseen. They include: 

The cultural bias and background of an individual may determine how they decode and perceive the information being supplied to them. Their own personal beliefs and past experiences may shape their opinions on what is being said.


The receivers own personal perception of themselves and the sender. If the receiver feels that they are superior to the sender, the sender is attacking them or they have a large ego then the message may be dismissed before the sender has even completed sending it.

The overall idea of the communication may be lost if the wording means players focus on that instead of the concept. If a remark or incorrectly used word is employed in the sentence then players may focus more on that word than the meaning of the sentence. This will result in the overall message being lost.

Strategies There are many different strategies that can be employed to convey information from the sender to the receiver. The approaches that can be used include; telling, showing, involving and practice. Talking as the name suggests involves communication just from the medium of speech. However there are a number of different ways information can be transmitted: Autocratic: An autocratic approach revolves around the coach only putting their

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opinions or views across. They tell the players what to do, and how and when to complete them. Communication is very much a one way street and as a result it is difficult for the coach to know if everything has been fully understood. 

Guided Discovery: If this approach is adopted then the coach will ask for suggestions and the opinions of the players as to what has happened and what changes should be made or positives can be taken. The coach will then guide the players towards the correct anser. The players are a lot more involved and their opinion is heard, which in turn can aid the coach in discovering whether the players have been listening and comprehend the topic being discussed.

Question and Answer: The question and answer approach allows the coach to ask players a series of questions. As they answer them, correctly or incorrectly, their understanding of the situation around them is increased. They then become involved in their own learning, while the coach guides them to the correct answer or course of action.


Showing: It may also be relevant for the coach to show their players what is required or what went well. This may be a personal demonstration that the coach undertakes or a demonstration by one of the other players. The observing players can not only hear what is required but also have a visual description as well. This will lead to players being able to grasp the concept better and develop better understanding of what is happening, than just talking alone. Involving: By creating a situation that involves the player ensures they can fully understand what is expected of them. The coach fully transmits the desired information to them as the player actually completes the task required. This type of communication is the basis for many sessions, as the players actually complete the tasks as the coach coaches. Practice: Players learn through the exercise they are undertaking and there is minimal input from the coach. This can be a good approach for players to develop independently and a good way for the inexperienced coach to begin implementing sessions. Although there is one major drawback, players may develop at different speeds so some may be held back or pulled along too quickly, meaning they do not benefit from the

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practice as much as they could. To highlight the difference between these four levels of communication a simple example can be considered: Imagine a cross coming in and the coach wanting players to head at goal. If the coach communicates the concept through talking then the players are only receiving verbal information, leaving it open to interpretation and barriers. However, if the coach decides to show the players how to head at goal, visual signals are also being employed, leaving less room for barriers and interpretation to affect the decoding process. Finally, if the coach brings each player and allows them to head the ball at goal, they now become fully involved and must concentrate on completing the task. This can then lead to them grasping a full understanding of the technique and what the coach is asking them to do. By making the players complete the task means there is then no time or opportunity for them to look around, talk or miss what information is being sent.

Communicating Praise and Criticism


Communicating instructions is one element of a coaches‟ role, but at times they may also have to communicate praise and criticism. When this is required the previous factors (influences, barriers and strategy) should all be considered but, in addition to them the coach must choose their wording very carefully. If they do not then the received message may vary greatly from the overall intended message. Praise: Praise is easy to give and great to receive. However too much praise, too often may result in it becoming less meaningful. Also praise should only be used when it is meant and deserved. False praise helps nobody. Criticism: Is a lot harder to hand out than praise, because more often than not the person receiving the criticism does not want to hear it. There may be times when a straight criticism is appropriate due to the player‟s performance or personality. At other times it may be required to use constructive criticism or supply it between a sandwich of positive comments. If the sequence of a positive comment, criticism, positive comment is followed then the player is more likely to take it all on board. If the sequence is criticism, positive comment, criticism or just all criticism then they may switch off after or dwell on the first negative point and ignore the rest, therefore missing out on key information. If

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the player only focuses on the criticism then they may also feel demoralised after and this may become clearly evident in their performance. By using positives the player still feels upbeat as they believe they have done something right, the message is still conveyed in its entirety and the desired interpretation achieved.

Individuals Everything discussed thus far has been aimed towards the coach conveying their ideas and message in the most appropriate manner and style possible so that the players receive the intended information. However all players are individuals and all will have their own personality and characteristics. For example nervous, young or timid players may require a lot of constructive criticism and positive reinforcement instead of the shouting and straight criticism that may be more appropriate to head strong adults. It is therefore necessary that the coach adapts their approach, strategy and encoding processes for each player to ensure the message gets the desired reaction, of increased understanding and performance instead of having an adverse affect. However,


regardless the approach or strategy the communication process should never turn into a personal shouting or insulting contest. The ability for a coach to effectively communicate to their players is crucial to their success. Therefore coaches should be fully aware of how the communication process occurs and the ways they can communicate. Remember: „Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood‟ – Freeman Teague, Jnr

hat factors determine the approach, attitude & principles a coach should adopt when working with a group of players or team? Every coach that works within soccer and association football will have established their own opinions regarding how a coach should structure a session and communicate ideas so that players are to experience the best learning environment possible. This line of thought will be based upon knowledge and wisdom that they have gained throughout their own playing and coaching, both positive and negative, experiences. These

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experiences have led to some coaches wanting to learn more so that they can ensure their players‟ experiences are as good as possible. These coaches are the ones who undertake coaching courses, observe masters of the profession in their natural habitat of a training ground and spend hours reading and researching texts so they become as well informed as possible, thus improving their own coaching ability. Unfortunately, this is not the approach adopted by many of the coaches. There are many who already believe they posses the answers to all the possible questions that can be asked and therefore are not open minded enough to learn and improve. The result of this short sightedness is that poor information and practice is being continually passed down from generation to generation, to players of all standards, such a misguided approach will only restrain and restrict the development of players and the potential levels they can reach. There are four main variables that can change from one set-up to another, which can hugely affect the coaches‟ approach and principles. These variables include:



The age of the participants is a huge factor in how a session should be structured and what content it should include. It is too often the case that coaches view younger players as undersized adults and coordinate sessions that represent this manner of thinking. Not only are the majority of the players not biologically or technically equipped for such sessions, they are also not psychologically prepared to perform such tasks. There is a major difference between what a young player seeks to gain from a session compared to that of an adult. Coaches should accept this and as a result structure the session accordingly. The time line below highlights how players‟ aims and their process of thinking develops through the years, therefore establishing what the coaches‟ main emphasis should be during sessions; Up to 9 years old: Training for FUN – The participants engage in football for enjoyment and many just wish to kick a ball, they are uninterested in their role as a holding player in a midfield unit or how they can interact with another striker. 9 to 13 years old: Training to LEARN – Players have now established a love for the sport and look to build on the fun aspects by learning new techniques that will allow them to progress onto the next stage. Session satisfaction is obtained through learning to do

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something new. Commonly regarded as the „golden age of learning‟ for children. 13 to 16 years old: Training to IMPROVE – Players wish to improve on the basis that already have and find greater satisfaction out of sessions that they feel they have improved their ability during. 16 upwards: Training to COMPETE – Players now wish to win within a competitive setting. Therefore training is based around this success and players enjoy sessions that lead to the feeling of potential or actual victory. These variables are not independent of each other (for example a player may not be able to compete effectively if they do not learn a new concept or technique or improve upon a present one) and a player will not jump from one to the other just because their age has increased. For many players fun will always remain the foundations of their participation, they will incorporate the other elements as well but they will provide less significance for them. Other players may naturally, or forcibly, accelerate through the stages before players of a similar age. This could be down to technical ability or pressure from peers and family, that they find themselves in a win or lose environment before they should be.


It is the job of a coach to recognise that this individual is still a young player and not a ticket to a league title or cup success. After all the worst-case-scenario is that the talented player forgets why football was fun and quits before their full potential is realised.

Performance Vs Participation Above the concept of the players needs were briefly touched upon. This variable is focussed purely on why (at any age) players become involved in football and therefore require a coach. Within the performance orientated environment the effectiveness of the coach is measured through the team‟s ability to perform within a competitive setting. This can either be as simple as the result (win or lose) or upon the teams and individuals‟ performance (deterioration or improvement). This leads to the coach requiring a systematic approach to sessions and ensure that the sessions revolve around best preparing the players for their next fixture. These sessions include technical and positional drills to improve the way the players perform as individuals, units and as a

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team. Within a participation orientated set-up the players are there for enjoyment and sociable reasons. This can be in the form of an after school club or a Sunday league team who do not want to win the national championship but just enjoy a kick about and a social gathering at the weekend. The need for structured and disciplined approach is reduced as sessions do not have to fit into any long term goal; their main outcome is to ensure players improve through enjoyment. So when this variable is combined with the previous one (age) the picture becomes a little clearer for the coach as to how the session should be approached and the attitude they should adopt; for example an under - 17 team based on performance and an adult team based on participation will have differing goals, intentions and needs. The under-17 will require improvement through a series of structured and informative sessions so that they can achieve as much as possible, while the adult side will prefer to have a more relaxed, sociable learning experience.

Goals of Individual Players


Some players will not undertake playing football to just win games, trophies and perform well but to also wish to reach the top as a professional. Other players will not harbour these desires and be content with the level they are at. A coach may experience both of these mind-sets within one team, at any age and not just between performance and participation orientated players. The percentage of players that reach the professional game is very small but the chance does exist that a future professional could be playing within a side that you coach. If there is a player that possesses the potential to succeed then they should be encouraged and aided at all the levels possible. Coaches should not block the players‟ natural progression to a better side or opportunity just so they can clutch onto a star player. Likewise sessions should reflect the desires and goals of the players. If they are gifted and they wish to advance to the highest level they can, shooting at goal and 5-a-side matches will not provide them with all the information and skills necessary to compete. The task of assisting these players becomes easier when there is more than one in the team but the coach can adopt a pro active approach and provide them with a new team that can allow them to flourish if present side is starting to restrict them or even assign them some extra ideas and drills they can practice in their

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spare time.

Goals of the Coach The final variable that can decide the approach and attitude of the coach is their own personal desires and goals. The range of reasons of why individuals coach vary all the way from wanting to become a champions league winning coach to just overseeing a local Sunday morning side because no one else can do it. These extreme states of minds will result in differing personal objectives and therefore differing approaches to their roles. The coaches‟ aspirations should coincide with that of the teams as much as possible or a mutual satisfaction will never be achieved. For example a coach who just wants to turn up and put on a session for the players to get on with and just watch will not extract all the potential from a performance orientated team. Likewise a coach with desires of involvement in the professional game will not improve sufficiently by coaching a Sunday league under-8‟s team where fun is the basis of the sessions. It is essential that the coach understands and appreciates the needs and requirements of the group of players they are working with. As this will aid them in planning and


delivering sessions so that they are beneficial and appropriate to all involved. Ideally a coach should be employed with the same intentions and desires as the players involved and has the sufficient level of expertise to achieve the goals of that group.

Football: A Basic Breakdown In order to successfully coach, you must know the game of football. Although some people may try to over dramatise it, the bottom line is that it is not complicated but very simple. That‟s the beauty of it, it can be played anywhere, anytime and with anyone, all you need is a ball.

Some coaches may frown upon such an article, saying „I know football‟, „I don‟t need to be told‟, and maybe they are right, but until they understand and appreciate the building blocks how can they possibly ever dress it up as they want.

An invasion sport

Played within a set time frame

Between two opposing teams

Who compete to score the most goals

Team with most goals, at the end of the time frame, wins.

When one team has the ball, the other wants it; while the team in possession will

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Siply put, football is:


look to score. 

A successful team employs two strategies, attack and defence.

Therefore these factors should be the basis of each session.

Control and manipulate the ball – technique

In an opposed situation – skill

Incorporating team mates and through the manner instructed – tactics

To achieve the final overall goal – strategy

Therefore this is the order in which the players are educated.


Goal Setting View Shorter Version With or without meaning to or realising it goals are set by almost every player and coach in the world. The types of goals set can vary immensely between individuals but the fundamentals remain the same; a goal is something that people aim for and direct their efforts towards, in order to achieve it. However setting goals is often a task that individuals can find complex and very difficult to perfect, which leads to the goal being unrealistic and unachievable. This article will seek to analyse goal setting so that the whole process becomes a much simpler procedure.

Benefits of Goal Setting The belief behind setting goals is that it provides the individual or team with something to aim for. This in turn, should motivate those involved to do everything they can to achieve this desired outcome. However increased motivation is not the only benefit that can be reaped from goal setting. Another would be that it is an integral element of the planning process. As planning becomes a lot easier if the end target is already known, as

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the building blocks can be placed around that. Finally, goal setting can also lead to innovative and creative thinking. If obstacles arise which prevent the desired course of action occurring, prior to the overall goal is obtained, then a new direction must be discovered. This may lead to new solutions or ideas that were not previously considered or devised.

Basic Goal Setting Fundamentals Before it is possible to create and establish goals there are a couple of fundamentals that must be fully understood. 1. The time frame for each goal can be different. At the start of the season a team may decide that their goal for the coming season is to win the league. However that goal will not be reached until the end of the season, therefore it is a long term goal. It would then take some very good man management to keep the players motivated for almost 9 months just based on that goal. This is because some players may see it as too far off, not directly relevant to


the present and therefore something that can be focussed on in the future. To conquer such a mind set, it may be essential that some goals are set for the immediate future (or short term). A short term goal would be created on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This could be as simple as just winning the next fixture or ensuring a clean sheet is kept. Although short term goals can provide frequent feedback on success and are flexible, too many short term goals may become overpowering and make the players feel like components of a production line and not an individual in a team. In between short term and long term goals are medium term ones. A medium term goal is seen as a goal to be aimed for in the not-toodistant future. So for the team aiming to win the league it could be to be in the top 3 at Christmas, this provides them with something to achieve in the medium term while also contributing to their longer term goal. The length taken for the goal to be achieved will greatly affect the amount of effort contributed by the players and also how high their overall motivation is. If a player can achieve something immediately then they will focus and generate all their efforts towards that goal, but longer term goals may be affected by distractions.

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2. Not all goals are the same. Goals can be associated with many different factors. They can revolve around the individual‟s performance, the team‟s performance or even the processes that are undertaken to reach those performances. The first type of goal that will be focused upon are Outcome Goals. Outcome goals revolve around the final outcome of competition, which in soccer will be to win a game, achieving a cup run or final league standing depending on the time frame they are set in. If the goal is outcome based and in the long term then the motivation may begin high but drift away as the season progresses. Therefore outcome goals should also be made every week or month to ensure the correct intensity of effort and concentration is maintained. If using employing outcome goals then the personalities of your players and the realism of achieving these goals should be considered. As outcome goals can place a lot of pressure on the individuals involved if there is no room for a little leeway. For example if the team has set the goal to win the league, as they near that goal the pressure may become too great for them to handle and perform as required, but a goal of finishing in the top two means they can feel proud of their accomplishment but


can also still aim higher than it and pursue the title, with less pressure placed on them. However, the reverse of that should also be appreciated, that some players may become complacent and adopt the attitude that they are already in the top 2 so they have achieved the goal, therefore they can begin to relax a little. On a more personal controllable level are Performance Goals. Performance goals focus a lot more on the individual and how they have performed. In a team sport like soccer, it is very hard to just set outcome goals and get a clear picture of what has been achieved. A single player is often unable to influence the entire game, so a team may lose while some of the players may have played well. So performance goals are more individual orientated, therefore those involved have much more control on whether these goals have been achieved or not. Performance goals in an ever changing team sport like soccer are best employed on a short term basis, either game to game or over a few games. The final category of goal is Process Based. Process goals look at improving the individual components that contribute to the overall performance. These can be broken down into physical, psychological,

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technical and knowledge, and can include such things as acceleration, confidence, first touch and positioning, respectively. Although they are all attributes that can be focused on and improved in the short term any real improvements will only be visible over a more prolonged period, so setting for and monitoring in the medium term may be most suitable.

Setting Goals There are some suggested guidelines (by the National Coaching Foundation) to how goals should be established and set.

Specific Goals should be specific, to-the-point and concise targets that relate directly to those they are being set for.



If the goals set are not measurable then how can progress be monitored? Or how will you know when it is achieved?

Agreed Goals should not just be given to players or the team. For the players to work towards these goals they should feel part of the process and not just talked at. A meeting can be held to create and establish goals that everyone can agree to and feel part of.

Realistic If the goals set are unrealistic then it is possible for them to have an adverse affect on the player‟s confidence and motivation. When setting goals a level of honesty and realism must be included. It is okay to aim high (and that is suggested), but aiming too high can leave players feeling demoralised or inadequate when the goals are not achieved.

Time Phased

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The requirement for goals to be set in the short, medium and long term has already been discussed. The best form of goal setting will incorporate all 3 durations. Exciting If the goals are boring, who will try and make them happen? Even if they are mundane and lack excitement, make them sound more exciting, this can be achieved by….

Rewarding Rewarding players once they have achieved the goals this is a good motivator during the bouts of lower motivation and effort. Just keep reminding them of the reward awaiting them, however it is suggested that the reward should be something they actually want!

Recorded Keep a record of all the goals and update when the players or the team either achieves or fails. These guidelines can more easily written as the SMARTER way to plan; S - Specific M - Measurable A - Agreed


R - Realistic T - Time Phased E - Exciting R - Recorded / Rewarding For goals to be of the greatest benefit to players they should not only meet the criteria in SMARTER but they should also apply to all 3 time periods and also the 3 different types of goal. Goal setting can be a very beneficial tool to any individual, team or club, as long as they are set in the way outlined above. Otherwise they may have the opposite effect and actually become detrimental to the overall performance of all that are involved. The best goals will have been created by the manager, coach and players, incorporate all three of the time frames and are within the control and influence of the players involved.

How Players Learn As a coach it‟s not merely enough to have an arsenal of great sessions, in order to truly enhance and improve your player‟s ability and understanding you should also know the

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factors of how players learn, so that you can convey your experience and knowledge to them.

In order to learn players must: 

Wish to learn

Be enthusiastic

Have the opportunity to see good examples

Have expectations made for them

Be set realistic targets

Be challenged

Practice frequently

Receive useful and correct feedback

How to Coach


Coaching is simple, it may not look simple or feel simple, but when broken down into its most fundamental elements it is simple.

In order for good coaches to coach effectively they must: 

Know about football: how it works, why it works and the laws that govern it.

Understand the learning process: how to communicate, how people process and retain information and what makes people want to learn.

Know how to break down each topic into their significant key factors, so that they can be pulled apart and dissected during games and sessions to assess what is going well and what is going wrong.

Know yourself: accept weaknesses and overcome them, realise and utilise strengths, constantly learn, fairly criticise and personally appraise.

Played the game

Not just watched, but analysed the game

Obtained advice on the game

Coached the game

Been Coached in the game

Studied the game

Been influenced by others in the game

Undertaken qualifications related to the game

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All of these factors can be developed if the coach is willing to or has already:

Observation is the Key Simply, coaching comes down to observation. 

Inexperienced coaches focus on themselves too much and attempt to interrupt play too often to put pre-planned points across that may not even be relevant to the situation.


Good coaches observe and analyse what is happening before deciding to stop the session to correct it.

Great coaches have the ability stand back, observe and forensically dissect any situation and conclude exactly what is going wrong, then correct it. If nothing is going wrong, they do not interfere.

It is extremely obvious to say, but nevertheless true, inexperienced coaches will only become experienced coaches by gaining experience. However in the early and initial stages (and even for more experienced coaches) it can be very daunting and bewildering for a coach to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong. Therefore this article is written to assist coaches’ gain an understanding regarding what is happening and what they should be assessing.

Session Success The success of a coaching session can be judged on what the players have got out of it. Therefore as a coach you should be fully aware of what factors can influence the outcome of a session. It can be unsuccessful because it continually breaks down or because it is too easy.

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Session Breakdown Many sessions will break down because mistakes are made, and mistake correction is the basis of any coaching. So when it breaks down it could be because: 

The session is too difficult for the players undertaking it.

The decision making of the players is wrong

An easy session The session is a total success and very few mistakes have occurred this could be because: 

The organisation has lead to the session being too easy

Players are performing better than expected

How to detect and rectify a session that is constantly breaking downIf the session is breaking down because mistakes are made, then it could due to; 

The players are not technically able to complete the tasks


The session has been poorly explained to them

The organisation of the exercise has led to the players experiencing too much pressure or unfair teams.

If however it is none of the above factors, their decision making may be the issue, in which case the following should be assessed to determine what is causing the poor decisions: 

Is it the players understanding (or lack of) which is leading to the poor decisions?

Is it the way the session has been explained?

Is it down to the technical shortcomings of the players?

Once the reason(s) for the session breaking down is/are revealed the coach is then in a position whereby they can make the required adaptations to get it back on track. The

Regressed to focus on the technical aspects

Re-explained to ensure complete understanding

Tailored and altered to make it easier o

More time / space


Less pressure


Removal of some of or all of the restrictions

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session could be:

An overly successful session If the session is developing well and there seems to be continual success, then it is essential that the coach does not sit back and consider this a „job well done‟, instead they should be looking at why it is so successful and devise ways to make it more challenging so that the players can get even more from it.If the organisation has led to the session being too easy then it could be due to: 

Unfair teams

Too much space available

Too much time allowed


While if the players are performing better than expected or are of a higher standard than originally thought then this could result in: 

The session is too now easy and not as challenging as it was expected to be

The players grasping the concept quicker than expected

The players being allowed to look good due to the organisational factors

Once the reason(s) for the session success has been assessed and revealed the coach can then make the required alterations to ensure the players are adequately challenged: Organisationally the changes that could occur include: 

Reduce space – more players, reduced area size

Restrict time on the ball – more players, less space, less touches or a time limit in possession

Alter teams – as the present line ups may be the reason for the unexpected success Impose restrictions – such as limited touches, no over head height etc

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If the issues are a product of the players performance level then: 

Progress session

Alter session type (i.e. from skill to functional)

Impose any of the organisational changes to make the current set up harder and test their performance even more.

Planning the Coaching Programme View Shorter Version The ability to plan effectively is a skill required by every coach that is working with performance orientated players. This is because for players to improve they need to have structured, related and appropriate sessions.


This article will seek to look at each of the elements that contribute to the overall planning process, so that coaches can ensure their planning is as thorough and relevant as their team requires.

The Planning Process Planning is something that is required in everyday life and activities. Without realising it plans are created every day; what to have for dinner, meeting a friend after work or sorting out a weekend activity. So why do many coach‟s ignore, overlook or avoid planning their sessions or other related tasks? Planning is very closely linked with goal setting. When setting a plan, there must be an end target, and when setting goals there must be a plan as to how those goals will be achieved. An analogy that can be easily provided to aid the understanding of the connection between goals and planning, is booking a holiday. The end goal is to go on holiday to Dubai next summer. Therefore the planning phase will include organising and generating the funds to pay for the accommodation, flights, spending money etc. In a football environment the long term goal for a team could be winning the league.

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Therefore the plans created will cover the players required, the formation and all the other elements that contribute to making that goal a reality. When creating a plan all the three time frames must be considered; short, medium and long term. There is very little to be gained from just focussing on one single duration. This is where Episodic Planning becomes a useful tool. This type of planning encourages the planner to plan across all three of the time frames in a logical process. They can begin with the long term goal and plan backwards or begin with their short term targets and generate an idea of where they wish to end up in the long term. Regardless which way the planning is conducted, episodic planning should ensure that all three time frames are considered and that a logical process is put in place. The plans can be created from theory tried and tested by other individuals that have been in similar situations, from the past experiences of the planner both success and failure or be a completely new and innovative concept and approach. Through whichever approach the plan is created the fundamental element is that it is realistic and can actually be implemented.


Another form of planning is when „just in case scenarios‟ are assessed and prepared for. This type of planning is known as Contingency Planning. This manner of planning can also occur in all three of the time frames. Contingency planning can include plans for; 1. Playing in a must win game that is presently being lost while being a player down. 2. No available goalkeeper due to injuries or suspension. 3. Losing a key player for an undesired amount of time. 4. The club‟s financial status of the club becoming dangerously stretched. With the correct open mindset to „what if‟ situations and the appropriate risk assessments carried out, it can be possible to ensure that almost every player will know what to do and how to react if the „just in case scenario‟ becomes a reality. It is suggested that in depth planning can stifle intuition and innovation after the planning phase is completed, as some individuals will stick to their plan no matter what. However this should not be the case. It may be relevant for the plans to be re-evaluated and modified throughout the course of a season. Also regardless how well the contingency planning is carried out, it may not be able to cover every potential outcome

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and even the pre-planned contingencies may not work or be appropriate. It is when the situation and the conditions are not desirable that the coach is able to innovate or use their own intuition, which at times can be a tough task, but it is the coaches‟ reaction that highlights the novice coach from an experienced one.

Devising Plans During the process of creating a plan there are a number of factors that need consideration as they contribute and influence its overall viability and practicality, these factors include: Outcome: A plan cannot be created if the planner does not know where they wish to end up and what goal they are aiming for. Goals can be set in the short, medium and long term, then the relevant plans can be created around them. The subject(s) of the programme: The individuals who will be undertaking the programme must be considered during the planning process, otherwise a highly


inappropriate or entirely irrelevant programme may be designed. Some examples of these considerations include: Age – Remember that young players are not just miniature adults so should not be expected to complete adult orientated sessions. Also young players often tend to under train and over compete, so plans should be adapted so that this is not the case or that overuse injuries do not occur. Race – Different cultures and races have different holidays, festivals and religious periods of the year. Therefore plans should take this into account and adapted accordingly, for example do not plan high intensity sessions for Muslim players during their religious period of Ramadan. Sex – Do not impose male sessions on females. Disabilities – Do not use unsuitable equipment, approaches or sessions with player‟s that have disabilities. Required facilities and finances: The planner should take into account everything the club has to use and the realistic future acquisitions they can make. Anyone can create the world‟s best plan to ensure an unprecedented level of success for the team but if the

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required facilities and finances are not available then the plan is totally unrealistic and therefore a waste of time. Training Variables: The planning process can be directly effected by or determine such training issues as: volume, intensity, frequency, specificity and monitoring. So each should be included and assessed during the plans creation. Unless a plan considers all of the above factors then it may lack appropriateness and realism, thus resulting in it not being implemented. It may be relevant to re-evaluate a plan on a regular basis as circumstances may have changed. Even if the changes are small, the repercussions of them on the plan could be larger and as a result mean the plan is no longer relevant or able to be implemented properly. Plans can be very beneficial as they create a framework that can be followed. If an indepth plan is completed then the coach becomes more organised and their work can follow a more logical process. Plans are something that coaches of all experience levels can devise and create appropriate to their team and players.


Recruiting Players A constant supply and influx of players is integral to the long term of sustainability and success of any team or club. Therefore the requirement for an action plan to exist that ensures this stream of players occurs is essential to any club. There are some teams may have the luxury of having feeder clubs, centres of excellence or even academies through which to provide their older teams with players. However with the majority of teams this is not always the case, especially when the club is small or only newly established. In these situations the club needs to assess the factors affecting their ability to recruit players and how they can attract them.

Factors that affect the influx of players Demand in area 

Is the area a football orientated one? As other sports or interests may attract the attention of your target audience. Are there a significant number of chimneys in the area or are households sparse?

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The fewer the households the less chance there is that a sufficient number of players will be available. Also, the more spread out the households are the more difficult it may be to find a central location where everyone can gather. 

Is the age range of players appropriate? As some areas may have a concentration of individuals / children that are of a similar age – an age that may not be appropriate for your team.

Are the players good enough? As just because there are a number available they may not meet the required level for your team.

Unique Selling Point of your club/team 

What is so special about your club that makes players wish to play for you?

Why would they leave or reject another team in order to play for you?

Local Leagues


Are there any appropriate leagues locally? As some parents / guardians / players will not be interested in travelling. Also the standard of the league must coincide with the standard of the players if they are to benefit.

Alternative Playing Opportunities 

Are there other clubs, teams, sports or additional activities that would attract players ahead of your team? In modern society the work, the internet, computers, an active social life and television can all impact upon a players‟ availability to a team.

Avenues of potential recruitment There are a number of ways that can be exploited and utilised to attract interest and involvement from players. They can include; Establishing locations where potential players spend their time: Schools, colleges,

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universities, similar age range classes but different activities, gyms and local parishes. A simple advert in a prominent area can result in a good response. Adopting an open door policy: This approach allows any player to attend a training session, this then provides you and the other coaches a chance to ascertain whether they have the required attributes and characteristics to perform at the required level to assist the club. Word of mouth: This should not be underestimated, especially with younger players and their school / friend networks. Advertisement placement: In addition to all the locations previously outlined adverts can be placed within the regional county football association, the local press, coaching / teaching courses and any other locations where your target players (or their parents / guardians) would see them. Scouting: If the personnel are available and the opportunity exists then players could be scouted from schools, colleges, universities and other clubs.


It should be accepted and appreciated that people will join a team for many different reasons and personal objectives. This makes it crucial for you as a coach to ensure that their reasons compliment the players you already have, as the whole culture of the team could become altered (and not necessarily for the better). It should also be understood why it is essential to target the correct demographic of player, so that the long term sustainability and success of the club is ensured and not just short term achievement. For example, there is very little to be gained if you recruit 3 or 4 exceptional players on a very short term basis and gain success, as once they leave the team will return to its former state.

Roles, Responsibilities and Characteristics of a Coach View Shorter Version In present day society there are many characteristics, personality traits and responsibilities that an individual must interconnect, balance and perfect if they are going to fulfil their full potential as a coach and provide their players with the highest level of guidance possible. Many assume that a great coach is great because they have all in-depth technical knowledge and the ability to spot and rectify faults. The technical

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knowledge and other occupational requirements are important and they are the qualities instantly analysed when observing a coach. However these qualities are only the tip of the ice berg, with many others not instantly visible. The coach will also possess personal traits that compliment their occupational attributes, resulting in a greater coaching performance. The major qualities in each category are discussed below:

Personal The majority of individuals can be taught to coach. The time and effort taken to learn the technical knowledge will vary but everyone can improve their coaching up to a certain level. However it is their personal characteristics that will decide whether players will relate to them in the first place. If their persona is correct then it will lead to greater player reaction (up to a certain ability level). Therefore an appropriate place to start would be by analysing the personal characteristics an individual should posses as the foundations regardless what level they are coaching at.

A Good Communicator


Unquestionably one of the key attributes all coaches must have is the ability to convey their ideas and instructions to their players. As that is essentially the basis of what the profession of coaching is. A coach must therefore have the ability to communicate and connect to everyone they come into contact with within their role. Coaches should be able to not only communicate to players clearly on the training ground or pitch but must also be able to talk to them as humans off it. Communicating does not just mean that they should be able to talk; they should also have the ability to listen to others. As communication is a two-way street. If the speaker feels you are not listening to them then they are less likely to pay attention when you start talking. Nowadays it is important that coaches realise just how many different groups of people they actually interact with, as one bad experience with any of them could result in employment problems. Coaches do not just communicate with their players but also (not all applicable for every club or team set up) employees, fellow staff, parents, employers and in some high profiled cases agents, spectators, shareholders and various aspects of the media. Their communication style, content and language used should be appropriate to the level

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of the player‟s ability and their ages. A 10 year old should not be spoken to the same way as a adult and vice versa, this may seem obvious yet it still occurs too often. One major criticism of coaches is that they want to be friends with the players so they engage in informal chats about girlfriends and nights out, some with players as young as the age of six. Another crucial element of communication is the body language employed. As the majority of what an individual is saying is not conveyed in their words but their body language coaches should adopt a body language that mirrors the message they are trying to get across.

Open-Minded Research and innovation is constantly varying the procedures coaches should carry out and implement. Some changes are forced upon coaches while others are suggested, for example using sprays instead of „ magic sponges ‟ and attending a child protection workshop, respectively. These alterations are implemented to improve and enhance the


individual‟s performance, enjoyment and safety when participating. Consequently a coach should be open-minded and willing to alter their approach, and at times their own beliefs to incorporate the changes. Coaches should not dismiss a new or improved concept just because they have been doing it a certain way for the last 10 years and never adopt the attitude „ well it never did me any harm ‟ as it only has to adversely effect one player to alter their perception of football and, in extreme cases, their life. No coach is perfect and the better coaches realise this, they are the ones who have the desire to continually learn. If a coach really wishes to enhance their own ability they must be open-minded to seek both advice and criticism from all of those around them, as well as keeping up-to-date on literature and practices.

Fairness and Equality Discrimination can come in many forms. It is essential that as a coach the approach and attitudes adopted are fair and equal towards all of the participants, especially if working with young and impressionable players. Discrimination can be in the form of the obvious racist, sexist, homophobic and ageist but there are overlooked ones such as ability and

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background. Better players may adopt an ego and expect preferential treatment over the rest of their team mates; this should not be allowed to happen. The same rules and discipline should be the same for every individual. Amount of game time allowed to each player is also a form of discrimination, if a player is left out every week because they are not as good as the rest or only receive a few minutes this is unfair on them, even greater importance if the player is still young (although this factor can be affected and determined by a pre-agreed club policy and practices, or code of conduct, document). Discriminatory jokes and comments should be banned and none should be uttered by the coach or the players involved. Any comments that can be deemed offensive, even if the individuals it‟s aimed at accept it, should be challenged. Such comments can seriously effect a person‟s motivation and enjoyment of football, and their lives in general.

Patient Patience is an attribute that is becoming more and more rare as the evolution of modern day society has led to life in general moving at a higher pace. Whatever service or


product an individual desires they can now get it instantly or at least the next day. This immediate solution to demands is not present in coaching. Players are not personal computers that can be up-dated in an instant with new software so that they can complete new tasks and experience improved performance on old tasks. Players need to undergo a learning process and every individual learns at a different rate no matter what level of effort the player puts in. This is because not all individuals will start from the same level of experience or have the same developmental speed. Therefore a coach must understand that with a diverse group of learners some will require a fuller explanation while others may need a number of demonstrations to fully comprehend the topic, so adequate planning is required to ensure all the participants‟ needs are considered and prepared for. In addition to noticing appreciating players‟ experience different learning curves is the actual implementation; a coach should remain relaxed and positive when an individual and/or group fail to learn at the desired rate is key. They should not „ snap ‟ , sulk or throw tantrums at the players as this will not positively improve the situation, it may result in the team „ switching ‟ off and stop concentrating all together and in some cases lead to the coach losing some of the respect previously gained.

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Approachable Although it is appropriate for a coach to maintain a degree of separation from the players it is also imperative that the players feel that the coach is approachable. So that when a player wishes to express concerns or fears they know that their coach is willing to listen and offer a warm, helping reception. It is common within society that humans will seek advice and guidance from those they feel close to and/or respect. This leads to the possibility that some players will approach the coach with questions and queries about all kinds of issues. The coach should be able to interact with the player so that they are capable of aiding them as an individual and as a performer, some topics may include;

As a Player

As a Human Being








Psychological Career and/or Education Personal (Family, partners etc) As many of these factors can affect a players ability to perform it is crucial that the coach assists and supports the players as much as possible. Problems will be discussed and overcome a lot quicker if the coach makes the players feel that there is an „ open door ‟ attitude and that they are readily available whenever a player requires guidance, as well as the items discussed remaining confidential. Being available is only half the task. The player must also feel that the coach is actually taking an interest and listening, this process becomes harder when the player is actually criticising the coach. Either way the coach must be willing to talk the issues out. This is by no means an exhausted list and does not even touch all the personal qualities

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that combine to determine the success of a coach. Others that can be added to the list include; Caring, sense of humour, supportive, honest, respectful and understanding.

Occupational The personal qualities of an individual only forms the basis for their potential coaching ability. They then need to possess some qualities key for the occupation of coaching. The standard of these qualities, in conjunction with those outlined previously, will determine the ability of the coach to what level they are able to progress.

Organised There is nothing worse than watching a coach rush around trying to organise a group within a completely disorganised set up. To succeed at any level the coach must be able to plan and organise a structured session, where the content easily flows from one task to the next.

Responsible and Reliable


It should be clearly obvious that the coach should be present at every session and should provide cover for the dates they are unable to attend. If they do not then players may be left unsupervised and in a potential danger. The coach should also be on time, ideally they should arrive there before all of their players. This then allows them time to organise and set up the session and also mean that there is supervision from the moment the players turn up, reducing harm and disorganisation. Their actions and attitude should always provide their players with a responsible example to follow.

Positive Regardless how life is treating the coach away from the pitch or the manner in which their group is behaving/performing the coach should remain as positive as possible. This is especially crucial when working with young and impressionable players. This does not mean players can not be criticised for performance, attitude or behaviour, but the coach should aim to keep the criticism as constructive as possible and not just throw insults or negative comments at the individual. The latter can lead to arguments, loss of respect

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and disharmony within the set up. On an individual level a negative approach can affect their enjoyment and motivation to participate in the sport, along with insecurities and unhappiness arising from personal, hurtful comments.

Presentable A person can be as untidy or unkempt as they wish within their personal life but for a coach they must be as presentable as possible in every training session, game and club related affair. Not only does this create the correct impression of a coaches approach to their role it also signals to the players what is expected of them. A presentable personal attire would consist of appropriately controlled and conditioned facial hair and hair style accompanied by correct clothing and footwear. A coaches equipment is also governed by the term presentable. It is accepted that not every coach or club can afford top of the range equipment, so at the very least it should be safe for use.



Some coaches knowledge can be broad and extensive, while others may just have a specialist area or topic that they excel within. The fundamentals for their knowledge are the same; the ability to highlight successful performers while identifying and rectifying any mistakes. The more experienced and superior the coach will be better at the basics than novice coaches, and be able to correct and improve a players performance in the least intrusive manner.. The information provided will also be accurate and more comprehensive (as to why that course of action is required) than that of an less experienced coach. The use of a question and answer approach will increase the involvement of the players and as a result greatly improve their chances of understanding a topic, as the knowledge of a coach is more effectively passed on. There are a number of roles that coaches are not only required, but expected, to undertake. To fulfill them all entails the ability to balance the majority, if not all, of the characteristics that have been outlined so far. In addition to their main role of conveying information regarding improving their technical and tactical ability the other functions a coach have is to act as a:

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Fitness Trainer: not only to the physical elements of a player but also their psychological fitness as well, so that they become a healthy all round human being as well as a player. Social Worker: modern society and especially the sub-cultures within it have meant that the availability and usage of drugs (both illicit and recreational including binge drinking) is increasing. Players may face temptations and peer pressure to partake in such activities, the coach should be there to guide them into making the correct decisions when these choices occur. Eating disorders, which in the past have been viewed as a major cause for concern amongst young girls and women, are now equally relevant to young boys and men. So this is another genuine issue for all players. As magazines and television promote thin and toned individuals, resulting in players wishing to look the same. Coaches may have to appropriately manage such a situation. Motivator: this is due to the fact that players are human and will occasionally adopt a laid back approach to training (group and individual) and at times to matches. It may be required of the coach that they need to increase the effort and intensity that the players are exerting (to adequate levels regarding age, ability etc and not beyond). Coaches should refrain from just using insults, bad language and threats to achieve this, instead


establish the factors players hold highest to focus concentration and energy. Role Model: being in a position of responsibility and power will immediately place the coach in a situation where players look up to them and learn acceptable behavioural traits from them The younger the player or the higher the aspiration for the coach the player has the more impressionable they become. The coach should therefore act in a way that promotes a positive and acceptable conduct. Friend: in a set up where there are many coaches or the players are young there is the possibility that the coach may become friends with some of the players. This is beneficial when it comes to the players coming to talk to you but there must exist the divide between coach and player on the professional side. Disciplinarian Manager: who creates and lays down the law to all the players in a universal way, no biased, discriminatory or favoured way. Organiser: not just of session but also of trips (team building, education and tours), games, facilities, meals, accommodation, transport and match day equipment (kit, goal nets, corner flags). Many coaches fail to realise the range of roles they have and the degree of importance

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that each one has. However this list has broadened as developments and recent research has been conducted. More recent additions to the role of a coach is to act as a sports scientist due to the increase in the involvement of technology and science. As well as a life planner: It may seem years off for those working with kids but a huge problem for players, especially those who participate on a full time basis, is the ability to cope with life after football. When they are retired and unable to compete any more. This period is known as career transition, and the causes of it (including unemployment and injury, in addition to age) mean it can affect any player at any time. Coaches must be aware of this problem and be able to assist and support the individual plan and cope with the situation. Through the combination of a coaches characteristics and roles it is possible to create a list of the key responsibilities of a coach. 

To educate players through communicating ideas and concepts

To improve players technical ability by applying knowledge and skills

Promote fair play and laws of the game


Gain trust of players, parents and fellow employees

Establish and outline realistic goals and objectives

Continually learn

Delivering and controlling sessions in an organised, effective and, most importantly, safe manner

The occupation of coaching may now seem a daunting task as there is so many separate requirements and requests being made on the coach. In spite of this every coach is different and each will have their own personal and occupational traits that will allow them to effectively complete their duties. There will also exist areas for improvement but with guidance and educating these weaknesses can be overcome. Not only is each coach different, the teams and clubs worked with can be completely diverse, and as a result each will require the coach to adapt their approach and employ the best techniques possible to meet their needs. The curriculum vitae of a football coach no longer includes just „teaching people football‟ but a host of other qualities and responsibilities, that many do not realise they are

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undertaking. It is true that because of this the coaching profession can be viewed as a demanding one but it is also a highly rewarding one for those with the correct approach, desires and work ethic. node


User lo Tips from the Turf Some people claim that their coaching philosophies can be condensed into one sentence or a short paragraph. However their „philosophy‟ is less of one but more like a sound piece of advice. This article looks to pull all the most memorable comments together to highlight the approach and attitude taken by other coaches of the game. 1. When in possession everyone is an attacker, when the opposition are in possession everyone is a defender. 2. The basis of football is easy: When we have the ball we want to score, when the opposition have it, we want to get it back. 3. The body is controlled by the mind. If the mind wants it, the body can achieve it.


4. If coaches can instil the desire to learn in their players, then their players will learn to win. 5. At games bring nothing new, just reiterate what has already been done. 6. Low expectations are met with low motivation and performance. High expectations are met with high motivation and high performance. 7. Winning is the result of development, development is not the result of winning. 8. The team attacks, the team passes, the team defends, the team communicates, the team works, the team encourages, then the team wins. 9. If it is taught right the first time, it will not have to be taught again. 10. The team must be strong in defence, in order to be able to attack.

gin What Players Learn It is not enough to know how players learn or to have hundreds of sessions at your disposal. What the players should be learning is also of paramount importance, even more so with younger players. So what exactly should younger players be learning?

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Technical Issues: The basis of any performance is the fundamental ability to complete what is being asked; therefore the players should acquire a sound technical ability.

Fitness Related Issues: Both physical (speed, speed endurance, stamina as well as all other required physical attributes relevant to their role) & psychological (tactical awareness, concentration, confidence, self control, mental toughness etc) General Understanding: Of themselves, the team dynamics, their duties with and without the ball, the rules and responsibilities of football and football players, principles of play, the risk versus reward scenario of everything they do. All of the above factors influence a player‟s performance as they directly affect, their mental concentration, technique, vision, decision making and action. Home » Fitness

The Blood


The blood vessels comprise part of the cardiovascular system, a system which is responsible for providing muscles with oxygenated blood and removing deoxygenated blood. Therefore a footballer requires an effective and efficient cardiovascular system to be able to perform at their optimum level, otherwise their muscles will not be able to complete the tasks being asked of them. There is approximately 5-6 litres of body within the body of an adult and it accounts for 78% of the total body weight. The composition of blood is:

Total Amount of Blood

Blood Cells



(95% of total Blood cells)


(1% of total Blood cells)


(4% of total Blood cells)



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Blood Cells Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes) These are biconcave discs that have the main function to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body. Each red blood cell contains the protein haemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying 97% of the oxygen in the body and 20% of the bodies carbon dioxide. However, if there is carbon monoxide present, then the haemoglobin will carry that instead of the other two gases. White Blood Cells (leukocytes) There are 5 different types of white blood cell but each have the same function within the


body. They are all part of the immune system and are responsible for defending the body against bacteria, viruses, disease and foreign materials. Platelets (thrombocytes) These are small cells that circulate in the blood to create blood clots. Essential when there is a break in the skin and blood begins to escape from the body. Plasma Made of approximately 90% water, plasma is responsible for transporting a variety of



Fatty Acids

Blood Proteins

Waste Products



Oxygen (3% of the body‟s total amount of oxygen)

Carbon Dioxide (80% of the body‟s total amount of carbon dioxide)

Blood Pressure

The term blood pressure is often used and „thrown around‟ especially when an

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substances around the body. The substances that can be found within the plasma are;

individual claims to be „suffering high blood pressure‟ or when adverts suggest individuals should „watch their blood pressure‟. However, even though the term is regularly used and is a common phrase in daily routine very few people fully understand what it is and what actually constitutes high blood pressure.  

So, what actually is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is simply the force that is exerted by the blood on the blood vessel walls as it circulates around the body. As this pressure decreases as the blood travels further away from the heart, the term blood pressure commonly refers to the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries as the blood is pumped away from the heart.


 

How can an individual‟s Blood Pressure be measured?

When blood pressure is analysed and assessed there are two measurements taken, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the pressure at its peak, at the beginning of the cardiac cycle (when the ventricles are contracting). The diastolic pressure on the other hand is the lowest pressure experienced during the resting phase of the cardiac cycle. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury, as the height of a mercury level was historically used to record blood pressure. Even though mercury is very rarely used in modern society the measurements remain. Instead an electronic reading is taken using a sphygmomanometer cuff that is, often, tied around the upper left arm. The cuff is inflated and deflated as required, until a reading is recorded by the device connected to the cuff.

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The Results of Blood Pressure analysis Once an individual‟s blood pressure is measured the results can be analysed;

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Classification of Blood Pressure for Adults Systolic Category Diastolic (mmHg) (mmHg) Hypotension <90 or <60 Normal 90–119 and 60–79 120– Prehypertension or 80–89 139 Stage 1 140– or 90–99 Hypertension 159 or ≥100 The Blood Vessels Stage 2 There are five different types of ≥160 Hypertension blood vessels that can be found within the body.



Always carry blood away from the heart. They connect the heart to the arterioles


Smaller than arteries and less elastic. The smooth muscle in their walls can contract causing them to narrow, so that they can control and restrict blood flow.

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Description and Function

Blood within the arterioles is passed into capillaries. They have extremely thin walls and are so small that only one red blood cell can Capillaries pass through at a time. They provide the location for the exchange of gases and nutrients between blood and the



Deoxygenated blood is passed from capillaries into the venules. As the number of the venules decrease they increase in size and turn into veins.


Thinner than arteries and contain valves. These valves ensure that the blood only flows in one direction – towards the heart

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body‟s cells.

The Cardiovascular System – A basic Introduction What is the Cardiovascular (CV) System comprised of? The cardiovascular system is comprised of the heart, lungs, blood vessels and blood. The main role of this system is to transport oxygen to, and remove waste products (such as carbon dioxide) from, the cells within the body.

The Separate Circuits It is possible to break the whole system down into 2 smaller circuits to fully explain the distinct functioning of the system. The circuits are; the pulmonary circuit and the systemic circuit. The pulmonary circuit transports deoxygenated blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs and then transports the newly oxygenated blood back to the left side of the heart.


The systemic circuit transports oxygenated blood from the left side of the heart to the body before returning waste deoxygenated blood to the right side of the heart.

The Pressure of the Blood flow The pressure through which the blood is transported from the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body can vary greatly depending on which part of the cycle the blood is on. Lungs to Heart Heart to Body Body to Heart Heart to Lungs

Low Pressure High Pressure Low Pressure High Pressure

Effects of Exercise on the Bones What are benefits for the bones of frequent exercising? Bones and their overall condition can be improved by exercise. When mechanical stresses (which are caused by acceleration or deceleration of masses, such as weight lifting) are undertaken by the body it places the muscles under stress, and when the muscles placed under this stress they in turn place stress onto the attachments that

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keep them connected to the bones at their origins and insertions. When mechanical stresses are regularly applied over a prolonged period of time (such as during a weight training programme) there is an increased build up of mineral salts and collagenous fibres in the regions where the stresses are applied. The result of this build up is an increase in the density and size of the bones in these areas.

Does the amount of stress placed on the bones determine the benefits? The amount of mechanical stress experienced by the bones will directly affect the bone density of the individual, for example weight lifters will usually have greater bone density than marathon runners. However it is also possible to see the affects of mechanical stress within a single individual instead of comparing 2 people. A tennis player (or even a footballer) will have greater bone density in their favoured side as this is consistently placed under more stress than their other side.

Can anyone develop their bones in the same manner?


Although the benefits of exercise on developing stronger, denser bones have been highlighted it must also be pointed out that everyone will develop in their own way. One group of individuals that should be carefuuly monitored and handled with great care are young and youthful individuals whose bones are still developing. They should be advised or even prevented from undertaking any sport, activity or exercise that involves their body being placed under high degrees of mechanical stress (such as weight lifting). This is because their bones could experience adverse effects on their development if not allowed to mature and also because the bones would not be at full strength yet to cope with such demands. Maintaining Benefits? In order to maintain the benefits experienced by the bones and joints during exercise it is essential that they undertake movement and motion on a regular basis to remain functional and healthy.

Effects of Exercise on the CV System What affects the effect that exercise can have on the body? The effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system is greatly dependant upon the type,

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the duration, the intensity and the frequency of the exercise undertaken.

What are the short term effects of exercise? Short term changes to the body after physical activity include; Heart 

Pulse UP

Blood Pressure UP

Blood 

Blood used to transport oxygen UP

Diverted from soft organs (stomach) to muscles

Transports heat from muscles to skin


Although the short term affects may seem insignificant to the overall condition and wellbeing of the individual, the long term affects cannot be as easily overlooked. So what are the long term benefits? If an individual undertakes a regular exercising regime, such as participation within football, then the long term benefits can include; Heart 

Size UP

Resting Pulse DOWN

Stroke Volume UP

Returns to its resting rate quicker

Prevent onset of coronary artery disease

Red Cells UP

Improve oxygen transportation

Supply to muscle fibres improved

Return of deoxygenated blood to the heart improved

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Effects of Exercise on the Muscles How are muscles affected by exercise? As a sweeping generalisation: Muscles develop through exercise and the more stress placed upon the muscles during the exercise (within their limits) the more they develop.

How do they develop through exercise? The reason they develop is because they undergo muscle hyper trophy. This is the scientific name given to the process where muscles grow and increase in size. Muscle


hypertrophy occurs when muscles and in particular muscle fibres are stressed to their limit during exercise and they experience a „microtrauma‟. This is where a small number of the fibres become damaged (this should not be confused with a muscle strain or tear). The body then repairs this microtrauma, but instead of repairing back to its original condition the body overdoes it to ensure that the same micro injury cannot occur again, thus making the muscle bigger and stronger. For example, when performing weight lifting if an individual places their muscles under the most stress that they can take then they becomes damaged and sore. As the body repairs the affected muscles they overcompensate, making the fibres bigger and stronger, thus allowing them to lift the same amount next time but easier. If this is constantly occurring then the individuals muscles begin to grow and develop.

Do all exercises affect muscles in the same manner? Not all exercises will affect all the muscles in the same way. As different exercises will utilise different fibres within the muscles. Aerobic exercises incorporate slow twitch

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fibres (Type I) as they are based around low levels of muscular exertion but over a sustained period of time. The muscles are not required to contract near their maximal strength or speed. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, utilise fast twitch fibres (Type II) as they incorporate short bursts of high intensity exercises that cannot be sustained for long periods as they require muscles to contract close to their maximum contractile strength. Aerobic exercise relies more on a mixture of fat, protein and carbohydrates for energy. While anaerobic relies on ATP or glucose. Where the energy is obtained from greatly determines how long an exercise can occur for. Aerobic produces little lactic acid, while Anaerobic produces a lot. The production of lactic acid can inhibit the generation of ATP within that given muscle and potentially prevent performance from continuing if there is too high a concentration within the muscle cells. Long term exercising programmes aimed at anaerobic exercise can lead to neovascularization within the muscles. This increases the muscles ability to remove waste products from their cells and allow contractions to till occur. If the level of training is sufficient the body can begin to use the removed lactic acid within other muscles as a source of energy.


DMOS is often a short term side effect of exercise, why? A short term affect of exercising on the muscles could be delayed muscle soreness onset (DMOS). DMOS is the pain or discomfort that an individual can experience within their muscles 1 to 3 days after exercising and can last for as long as 3 days. The precise cause of DMOS is still unknown although some individuals have attempted to relate it to the presence of lactic acid, however the wider held belief is that it could be a result of the type of contraction undertaken during exercise. It has been suggested (Roth, S. January 2006) that individuals who undertake more eccentric contractions within their exercises will suffer more severe DMOS than those undertaking a higher proportion of concentric contractions. Another potential explanation is that the pain is caused during the regeneration stage (as the muscles repair microtrauma) as opposed to the damaging of muscle cells (Yu, J., Carlsson, L. & Thornell, L.E. 2004). As the muscle undertakes muscle hypertrophy the cells swell and put pressure on nerves and arteries, thus resulting in mild soreness or pain.

The Muscles and the Energy Systems ‫ موفق مجيد مولى‬/‫من مكتبي‬

View Simple Version

All the muscles within the body require energy to perform any movements or activities. As the body can call upon 2 different types of systems to supply the energy; the aerobic (requires oxygen) system and the anaerobic (does not require oxygen) system. It is the intensity and duration of the movements that determine which energy system is utilised by the active muscles to acquire the energy they require. However before it can be explained how the body generates energy through these 2 very differing systems, it is essential that it is understood what energy actually is.

What is Energy? Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the source of energy for all muscular contractions. Energy (and Adenosine Diphosphate [ADP]) is produced when ATP is broken down. Although it is the integral element within energy production, ATP is not stored within the


skeletal muscles in large volumes, in fact there is only enough ATP stored to allow an individual to undertake maximal effort for up to 4 seconds (Matthews and Fox, 1971) before their entire store in diminished. Therefore the body relies on different processes to exact energy from ATP to ensure that it is able to meet the demands of the activity being undertaken.

Anaerobic The anaerobic (without oxygen – so breathing during activity is not essential) system of supplying energy to the muscles can be further categorised into 2 processes; Creatine Phosphate (CP): CP is a chemical compound stored within muscles, and can be used as a source of and to restore supplies of ATP (when combined with ADP) during periods of explosive, high intensity and short duration movements and activities. The CP system can provide energy to up to 20 seconds of movement but then requires up to an additional 5 minutes to become fully replenished. As the burst of activity undertaken is so small in time, the amount of lactic acid produced is minimal so it does not inhibit the

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individual‟s ability to perform, although it can exhaust the muscles employed. Anaerobic Glycolytic (AnG): This system becomes the dominant one after 20 seconds or when the CP system is depleted. The AnG system breaks down glucose (glycolysis) to pyruvate, as this conversion is not complete a by-product is produced – lactic acid. Glycogen is stored and broken down into glucose within the muscle fibres. Although it is often assumed that AnG is limited by the level of glycogen stores within the active muscles this in not the case. Instead it is limited by the production and accumulation of the lactic acid. The removal of lactic acid is usually assisted by oxygen, so when there is no oxygen present (as is the case with anaerobic activities) the muscles cannot remove sufficient amounts of lactic acid quick enough. This then results in the pH level of the muscle lowering stimulating the free nerve endings to experience a burning sensation (pain) and the muscle experiencing impaired contractions. The AG system can allow high intensity movements and activity for, usually, up to 2 - 3 minutes (although not at such as high intensity as the CP system) before the lactic acid build up becomes too


significant. Once the AG system is fully exhausted and the build of lactic acid too great the individual may take up to 1 hour to fully recover.

Aerobic Aerobic Glycolysis (AG): AG requires the presence of oxygen, which breaks down pryuvate, which preoduces ATP through chemical reactions. This process is similar to the AnG process as it obtains glucose from the glycogen stores, however unlike AnG, the breakdown is slower and complete, meaning that lactic acid is not created. Therefore there is nothing to prevent the abundance of glycogen stores being utilised and continually converted to ATP over long periods. Although the glycogen stores will eventually deplete, this usually occurs after the individual has undertaken low intensity activities for longer than 90 minutes. Recovering and replenishment of this form of energy is greatly dependent on the diet and nutritional intake of the individual.

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How is energy gained to complete „at rest‟ activities? The most readily available energy source for the muscle fibres, within the majority of individuals, is fat. The term used to describe the breakdown of fat to produce ATP is lipolysis. Although the availability of fatty acids to use for energy is essentially unlimited, the rate which lipolysis can occur is a significant limiting factor. Lipolysis is the main energy source for resting muscle activity but its usage as an energy source will significantly decrease as the intensity of the muscular contractions increase.

The Nerves A nerve is a cable-like collection of peripheral axons (the long slender, projections of the neurons) that are enclosed within a dense casing of connective tissue (this tissue is known as epineurium). Some facts about nerves, they: 

Are only ever located in the peripheral nervous system

Provide a route for electrochemical nerve impulses to travel along


Convey information in the form of electrochemical impulses (commonly referred to as nerve impulses). These impulses originate from the individual neurons that constitute the nerve.

Relay information through their impulses at an extremely rapid rate, often up to speeds of 120 m/s

Can be damaged by physical injury, autoimmune diseases, infection, swelling or failure of surrounding blood vessels

Cause discomfort, pain, numbness, weakness and even paralysis when they are damaged

Classification of Nerves Functional categorisation; 

Motor Nerves – These conduct information from the central nervous system to the muscles to advise the muscles how to behave and react. Sensory Nerves – Information is received from the sensory neurons (receptors)

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and passed onto the central nervous system. There are three common types of nerves; 

Afferent Nerves – these types of nerves conduct and transport signals from the sensory neurons to the central nervous system.

Efferent Nerves – there nerves conduct and transport signals in the opposite way to the afferent nerves, from the central nervous system to the muscles or glands. Their signals are conducted through motor neurons.

Mixed Nerves – Some nerves are capable of conducting and transporting both information received from sensory neurons and commands to muscles and glands from the motor neurons. This is because they contain both afferent and efferent axons.

Regardless the type of nerve, it can be classified into one of two categories;


Spinal Nerves – innervate much of the body, and connect through the spinal column to the spinal cord.

Cranial Nerves – innervate regions of the head and connect directly to the brainstem.

Complete Process When the sensory neurons detect stimuli they pass this information onto the afferent nerves who convey the information back to the central nervous system. The brain then assesses and analyses the information and distributes its orders for response to the muscles and glands through the efferent nerves.

The Nervous System What is the Nervous System? The nervous system is a complex collection of specialized cells that interact and

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communicate to provide an individual with information about themselves and their surroundings.

How does it work? Once any information is received the brain then analyses and assesses the information before reacting and responding in the required manner.

What makes up the Nervous System? The entire nervous system can be largely broken down into two broad groupings; the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system comprises of the sensory neurons and the neurons that join them to the central nervous system.


The central nervous system is the largest part of the nervous system and consists of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerve cord. The central nervous system is heavily protected by the body as its components are situated within the spinal cavity (within the vertebrae), the dorsal cavity and the cranial cavity (the skull).

Do the two systems work in unison or separate from each other? The central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system operate in unison to control behavior and movement as the body responds to stimuli that it receives from the sensory neurons. The peripheral systems detects the stimuli passes this information onto the central nervous system so that it can be conveyed to the brain.

Periodisation The concept of periodisation is to break down the overall yearly programme into smaller, differing periods. Each period will have pre-determined duration and be geared towards a specific goal. As the goals of each period are different the approach, activities and

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intensity of each period will also vary greatly. Periodisation is based upon the concept that no individual can remain in their ideal physical, psychological and technical conditions for the duration of an entire year. So periods are created to determine during which time frames the individual should be at their peak. Generally there are 3 periods that are employed by many sports, these periods are; Preparation, Competition and Transition. To fully understand each period a boxer can be used as an example. Preparation: This is the period leading up to the boxers fight. They will be physically and mentally preparing themselves for their up-coming fight. Competition: The actual fight. They should be at their peak for this period. Transition: This is their time off before they begin preparing for their next fight. However soccer is a different type of sport to many others. The boxer previously mentioned may only compete 5 times a year, or less. They will then have a longer preparation period and a shorter competition period. Soccer players will be expected to


perform week in week out for the season, which in most countries is Mid-August to the beginning of May, just over 9 months. The players will then be granted, at most, 2 months off before being required to return for pre-season. During the season the professional player may undertake 40 games, the elite player may perform in 60 games (club and country), while the keen amateur player may play in excess of 50 games (Saturday and Sunday leagues). As the time frame of the periods and the activities contained within them vary greatly it is proposed that soccer (and similar sports) should adopt a 5 period year. The main periods for a soccer player are: Prior pre-season – This period focuses on the training that is done before pre-season begins. This training is undertaken by many players so that they return to their club with an acceptable fitness foundation that allows pre-season training to begin at a suitable standard. This period can be enforced by the club but the responsibility generally lies with the individual. Pre-season – This period is when the team begins to meet and build towards the upcoming season. This period will contain a lot of general and position specific fitness work to improve the player‟s aerobic and anaerobic levels of fitness. Pre-competition – There is a smaller period during pre-season where games occur in

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quick succession. For many clubs this will see the removal of training sessions to accommodate the games. Therefore the period differs slightly from that of the preseason one, as this period is almost completely match orientated. Competition – This period is the longest as it is the season. The player‟s should be in their peak condition from the first game but that depends greatly on their previous two periods. They will then need to maintain this peak condition for the following 9 months, especially during Christmas and Easter as these are commonly the times when a greater number of fixtures are played. Off season – This period begins once the final competitive fixture has been played. The players are then allowed time to recover and recoup from the previous season. Adapted from Dr. Istvan Balyi (consultant to UK Sport) It is necessary for any standard of player to be at their peak to perform so that it is possible that they give their best performance. However even more crucial is the requirement for players to be allowed an off season period and recover from their season. This is even more important in younger players who may experience overuse injuries.


The necessity for periodisation depends greatly on the standard the players perform at. With the number of professional clubs (in England) increasing, as more non-league teams adopt full-time approaches, the number of players within full-time set ups increase. The professional player is the one that is player or training almost all week and therefore will experience the periods more than the average Sunday league player. A few elite players may only be granted a couple of weeks off season, as they may be required to play in international tournaments during the summer months. However that number is minuscule compared to the number of players that play soccer, and an issue that the high proportion of coaches will not have to worry about. The original concept of Periodisation in Sport is often credited to Tudor Bompa, for further reading please refer to Bompa, Tudor (1983). Theory and Methodology of Training: The Key to Athletic Performance. Kendall/Hunt. ISBN 0-8403-2934-2, as the original concept has been modified for this article.

Player Demands Here are some facts and figures for you to use when complaints about fitness training

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arise. In a normal 90 minute game, the average player can be expected to: 

Cover at least 5 miles (8km), while reaching up to 8 (13km)

Be at full pace for 6 seconds every 30 seconds.

Turn (in excess of 90°) anywhere between 400 and 450 times.

Walk, jog, cruise, sprint, stretch, jump, pass, head, tackle, shoot, slide, dive, throw, catch, hold of players and perform all while having to communicate as well. Although it is not unheard of for some players to go beyond these figures as their work rate and position ensures they are put under greater demands. For all this movement and energy expenditure the player may only spend 3 minutes in contact with the ball, although realistically it will be closer to 2 minutes of contact time. So although a player needs skill, technique, motivation, tactical understanding and belief to perform all of these are influenced by their ability to physically complete the task.


Psychological Effects of Exercise

Improved physical condition through undertaking physical exercise will not just result in an increase in the individuals‟ energy levels during matches but will also help them achieve an all-round well-being. Although the mindset or daily commitments of some players may mean that they do not have the motivation or the opportunity to undergo fitness improving activities or exercise away from training sessions, this can not only effect their performance levels during a match and the tasks they can undertake on a daily basis but can also result in psychological harm. This is due to the fact that exercise does not just provide the body with physiological improvements, such as stronger heart and lower body fat, but can also help the mind. Brief explanations of the areas in which exercise can help include:


Chronic exercise may reduce trait anxiety Short-term benefit of acute exercise – up to 6 hours post-exercise Greatest effect in individuals which are highly


Exercise can be associated with antidepressant effects As with anxiety it can

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anxious Aerobic exercise main form to battle anxiety

help the most severely depressed Resistance based and aerobic based exercise shown to improve levels of depression Amount of aid is dependant on length and frequency 

An individual‟s Self Esteem

Can be made up of social, academic and most appropriately physical self worth Physical self worth can then be broken down into physical strength, sport competence and attractiveness. Two are sport specific and the other can directly effect a persons own view of themselves.

 

Cognitive Performance

Exercise can cause a slight increase in reaction time, memory, reasoning and academic achievement.

Even though the undertaking of exercise is immensely crucial to an average persons‟ health, and even more important to a footballer, it must also be pointed out that it does posses harmful and undesired implications.


Depression as a result of Exercise

Should results not come along as quickly as the individual had wanted, they may become depressed and decide not to continue

Social Physique Anxiety

Feel insecure about their body and fear peoples‟ attitudes towards their body. They become worried about performing an exercise that involves people seeing their body.

Obsession or Addiction

Need to carry out everyday, sometimes more than once a day. Become dependant on training to make themselves feel good

Reflex Actions

The phrase „they reacted well to that‟ or „that was pure reflex‟ is commonly used within football, as individuals try to explain a sudden movement or action from someone. However very few individuals actually understand exactly what is meant by a reflex action and what the scientific concept behind the phrase actually is.

So what is a Reflex Action?

„A reflex action is an uncontrolled and, almost instantaneous response to

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stimuli received.‟ Common actions include, moving your hand away from excessive heat or shielding your eyes from a bright light.  

Can Reflex Actions be improved or are they something someone is „born with‟?

It is possible to develop and train a reflex action through the repetition of motor actions so that the individual subconsciously reacts to a similar situation in the same manner each time.

 

What is the relevance to football of a reflex action?

The whole concept of developing reflex actions is a crucial component of training and in particular goalkeeper training, as often the ball is travelling too fast after a shot for the goalkeeper to consciously react. Instead their body and mind have undertaken repetitive training in similar situations so that each limb


knows exactly where they should be. Thus increasing the goalkeepers ability to make themselves big and prevent the ball entering the goal.   

Weight Training Supplements It is highly unlikely nowadays that you will walk into any gym, pharmacy or health food shop and not see shelves full of supplements to assist with muscle growth. However very few people actually take the time to read and understand exactly what each type of supplement does, instead just opting to purchase the most common brand name or the one with the most appealing packaging or promising slogan. So in order to assist players understand the differences between each product, you as their coach, should be well versed on each yourself and have a fundamental understanding of what each one is and how they can affect the body.

Caffeine – Many people assume that the main benefit of caffeine is an energy boost, as they have grown to believe it makes you feel more awake and lively. However this is not all caffeine can be used for, it can also reduce an individual’s perception of pain, thus allowing them to train longer. However this should not mean everyone just consumes a large amount of caffeine, it should still only be taken in moderation. Begin with a low dosage pill (50mg – 100mg) to assess how it affects the body’s tolerance levels to it. It is then possible to increase the dosage on a gradual basis, ensuring that a limit of 300mg is not exceeded. It is also advised that pills (they are better than the drink versions) are not consumed in the evening as this may lead to sleep disruption.

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Creatine – A study at Pennsylvania State University has shown that individuals who consumed creatine as part of their training programme, experienced muscle growth up to twice as fast as their non-consuming counterparts. The most common manner through which to administer creatine to the body is through protein shakes after a workout. These shakes can be created with water or milk, but in either case they should contain approximately 0.025g to 0.035g of powered creatine monohydrate for every pound of body weight. 

Fish Oil – It is believed that fish oil is a quick, easy, cheap and effective way to slow the loss of protein from the muscles. It also does not have to be consumed in large quantities, as an average adult male only needs to consume up to 2 grams per day. 

HMB – Rarely referred to by its scientific name Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, is a naturally occurring metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine, and is thought to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue during exercise. Consumption recommendations are small and frequent, up to 3 grams per day. 

L-Carnitine – If consumed in small doses (no more than 2 grams a day) and at meal times it can be a very good preventer of muscle damage, and can also provided the body with energy. To provide the body with energy, It transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria (a cell's energy powerhouse), where they may be oxidized to produce energy.


Multivitamins – Due to the antioxidants they contain they assist protect muscles from damage and allow them to recover quicker from sessions. They are also another quick and easy supplement to administer as they can be obtained from any health store or supermarket. One pill a day, taken at mealtime, will suffice. 

Whey Protein – Glutamine helps muscles repair themselves, and Whey is a good source of it. Whey is also a good source for other amino acids that trigger growth in muscles. Unlike creatine, whey should be consumed slowly prior to a workout and even during. A mixture of 35g whey and 500ml water should easily suffice. Do not drink as fast as possible, just sip until all gone. Also try not to exceed 8g of whey for every 100ml of water 

Timeline of Training

Exercise – Activity undertaken to improve the condition of a bodily function. Can be general such as running (heart, body fat, cardiorespiratory system) or specific (for example chest exercise for a stronger pectoral region).

Repetition – Term used to define the complete movement of one exercise (from start to finish). For example begin a bench press with bar raised above you

position that is one repetition. 

Set – Is consisted of a fixed number of repetitions, where there is no rest in between each repetition. A set can contain any number of repetitions, depending on the overall desires and goals of training (for example from 2 to over 100). Moving the bar from the raised position above your chest, down to chest and back to original position ten times creates a set.

Region Specific Session – Is achieved when a group of sets are completed, with

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chest. Once the bar has been lowered and pushed back up to its original

the focus being on one muscle or a group of muscles. If four sets of the bench press exercise are carried out then the pectoral muscles have been subjected to a region specific session, as they have been the main focus. 

Workout – Consists of a collection of region specific sessions. The workout can be arranged to be either specific muscle group orientated or designed to work on a collection of different muscle groups. A workout is usually varied on a daily basis. Once the bench press is completed the next exercise could be squats, thus working the leg muscles. Therefore the workout would have been


chest and leg focussed. If after the bench press inclined flys were undertaken then the workout would be chest orientated. 

Programme – Can be planned or a result of hindsight. A collection of workouts form a programme. A programme can be designed to focus on one area or to cover many areas, the time frame for a programme can also vary greatly depending on the individuals goals but in general, an individual‟s programme should be assessed and updated on a monthly basis, and created in conjunction with the individuals‟ goals and requirements. A programme could be designed to strengthen an individuals‟ core strength or to lower their amount of body fat.

Training History – Is created when an individual has a collection of programmes and can be used to plan future programmes upon. For example an individuals‟ history could show they lost 3 stone focussing on cardio-vascular, then built muscle using a power training programme, however recent injury has prevented any exercise for 3 months, and as a result have put on weight. It may be required that they undertake the same cardio-vascular activities that worked for

Transporting Oxygen to the Muscles

For any human to live, let alone function properly, the cells within their bodies require oxygen. Luckily for humans oxygen is present in the atmosphere around the Earth, however it is not the only gas present. 78% of the atmosphere is nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon and 0.03% carbon dioxide. These figures mean that 4/5th‟s of the gas in the atmosphere is unusable by the human body. Therefore the body must separate them before the desired gas can be delivered

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them previously.

to the cells. Once the oxygen is delivered to the cells it can be used to release energy for compulsory (heartbeat) and voluntary (walking / running) actions and movements. 

The process the body undertakes to get the air into the body and separate in accordingly is known as breathing and is overseen and controlled by the respiratory system. The function of breathing can be split into two phases; inhaling and exhaling. During the inhaling phase the body brings air in, separates the oxygen and delivers it to the cells, while during the exhaling phase the used (now carbon dioxide) and unwanted (nitrogen) air is removed


from the body. For the body to complete both phases of the breathing process the body requires 3 separate but related parts of the respiratory system; the air passages, the lungs and the diaphragm. 

Air Passages

The air must get from the atmosphere to the lungs. In order to achieve this there must be a pathway it can take. Such a pathway does exist and is created by a number of linking tubes that run from the airs entry points (the mouth and nose) to the lungs. Tubes along the pathway are: The larynx (voice box) – air passing over this produces the voice. Trachea (windpipe) – which is the main path for the air to travel down. Cartilage rings keep the tube flexible and always open. Bronchi – are the name given to the two smaller tubes the trachea is split into as it nears the lungs. Bronchioles – finally the air passes though smaller tubes connected to the bronchi so that it can enter the lungs.

Air can be sucked into the body through either the nose or the mouth. Air that is

than that through the nose. This is because the nose has hairs and mucus within it that moistens the air, filters out the larger dust particles and warms the air so that it is of a similar temperature to the body temperature of the individual. Once the air is in the bronchioles it is now entering the lungs. Scientific Approach


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brought into the body through the mouth tends to be cooler, dirtier and drier

The terms ability and skill are often substituted for each other when individuals are describing something or something, i.e. that player should great ability there or that player showed great skill there. However they are two totally different terms and cannot be substituted in such a manner. A skill is learnt, goal-directed movement that follows a process of technical pre-planned actions. While Abilities are the underlying factors that must be present in order for the skill to be completed. For example, imagine the skill of a goalkeeper coming through a group of players to collect a high cross requires strength and hand-eye coordination (both of which are abilities).


It is widely believed that abilities create the foundations from which learning and performing skills are built upon, and can greatly affect the individual‟s ability to perform and perfect those skills. Abilities can be categorised into the following three descriptions: Innate (or Genetically) Determined – Abilities are determined from birth as they are inherited from the parents. Stable and Enduring – The basis of the ability remains unchanged but can be affected by experience and developed through maturation. Support Skills – The majority of skills require a number of supporting abilities in order for that skill to be learned effectively. Although much research has been conducted into different types of ability but as yet it has largely been inconclusive, with many psychologists using different methods in the identification process. Edwin Fleishman (1972) identified two different types of ability: Gross Motor Abilities and Perceptual Motor Abilities.

movement. Fleishman identified nine abilities that could be placed within this group: 

Dynamic Strength: The exertion of muscular force repeatedly over a period of time, for example press ups.

Static Strength: The maximum exertion of strength that can occur towards an external object.

Explosive Strength: A short burst of muscular effort, where the energy is used effectively, for example standing broad jump.

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Gross Motor Abilities – Are abilities that relate to physical fitness and tend to involve

Stamina: The capability of the cardiovascular system to sustain maximum effort over a long period, for example running box to box for 90 minutes.

Extent Flexibility: The flexibility of the trunk and back muscles.

Dynamic Flexibility: The capacity to perform a number of rapid flexing movements in a sequence.

Gross Body Coordination: The organisation and movements of several body parts while the body is in motion.


Gross Body Equilibrium: The capability to maintain balance by only using the internal senses.

Trunk Strength: The strength of the muscles within the core section of the body (abdominals, trunk etc).

There are a number of other Gross Motor Abilities on top of those outlined above and they include; Static Balance, Dynamic Balance, Hand-Eye Coordination and Foot-Eye Coordination. Perceptual Motor Abilities – Are abilities that involve assessing and interpreting information, decision making and then putting those decisions into action. The majority of perceptual motor abilities are movements. Fleishman believed that there were 11 identifiable abilities that fell into this classification: 

Limb Coordination – Being able to organize and execute the movement of several

Control Precision – Maintain the precision of the action.

Response Orientation – Deciding the position the action should be executed in a short time.

Reaction Time – Being able to react quickly to stimuli.

Speed of Movement – Being able to execute gross rapid movements quickly.

Rate Control – The capability to adjust the speed and direction of the action accurately.

Manual Dexterity – The capacity to make accurate arm and hand movements involving objects at high speed.

Finger Dexterity – Being capable of working with small objects using the fingers.

Arm Hand Steadiness – The capability to keep the hand/arm steady throughout the

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limbs simultaneously.

action to ensure it is correctly executed. 

Wrist Finger Speed – Being able to execute actions with rapid wrist and finger speed.

Aiming – The capacity to accurately aim at a small object.

A skill relies on several underpinning abilities to be executed correctly, however possessing those abilities does not guarantee success. The individual must still learn


how to correctly apply and co-ordinate the abilities, often through practice, to ensure the skill is perfected.

Concentration An individual‟s ability to concentrate relates to “their capability to place all their focus and attention on the task they are undertaking for the required time, without succumbing to any distractions.” The ability for a player and a team to concentrate for the entire duration of a soccer game is a major contributing factor to its outcome. A fixture can be won or lost within seconds,

The player left unmarked

The run that wasn‟t made

The sloppy pass

The wrong decision

The assumption the game was already won

The delayed reaction

Every soccer player will require different levels of concentration during a match, as their position will dictate how often the situations that are developing are within their control or can at least be effected by them. For example a goalkeeper or centre forward may have to wait a significant amount of time between touches, but this should not result in them „switching off‟ while they are not actively involved. Instead they should always be in a state of readiness to react when they are called upon. The inability to focus for the

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and could be down to;

duration of a game can be the only factor that prevents players from progressing up to the next level, because as the standard of participation increases the intelligence of the opponents will also increase, resulting in the need for concentration to also increase or the player risks being caught our as they allow their attention to drift elsewhere.

The most common lapse in concentration occurs when soccer players become drawn to the ball and what is happening with it. As they „ball watch‟ their attention is shifted away from their primary responsibility and placed on the game. This allows the more alert


opponent to gain an advantage, that could be the difference between a goal scored and a goal conceded.

The ability to concentrate is not something a soccer player is born with, instead it requires training and attention to develop. Therefore players should be expected to focus as much in training as they would do in a match. That means; 

Keeping their minds on their roles and responsibilities

Not entering into conversations about trivial or unrelated things

Bouncing the ball, talking or messing around while the coach is talking

Not watching what is happening on another pitch or in another session

If players are unable to concentrate in the controlled, less pressurised environment that is training, how can they expect

Developing concentration 1. Cut off point for personal and professional approaches: The moment the players arrive in the changing area or onto the pitch they should be fully focused. 2. Goal setting: Give players something to aim for. 3. Remain in control, self control 4. Prepare as thoroughly as possible. The more in control of a situation you are the

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to retain full focus during the emotional rollercoaster that is a game.

easier it is to concentrate. Know your role, your responsibilities, those of your colleagues (and opponents if possible) and the game plan. 5. Manage anxiety 6. Develop routines 7. Reduce distractions: No newspapers, phones, friends etc in the changing rooms (especially match day) 8. Only worry about the Now - not the what might be 9. Physical fitness – fatigue greatly effects concentration 10. Determine when and why lapses in concentration occur


11. Unite and focus players 12. Allow your soccer players to discover their own ways of developing their concentration

Confidence In a football based concept confidence is the ability to be certain all the necessary skills and attributes are possessed to successfully undertake what is going to occur during the upcoming task. That task can be a match, an activity, a single situation or a session.

Self Confidence refers to the player‟s ability to belief in their own skill set and attributes to complete the task ahead of them. This should not be confused with arrogance, as the latter refers to an individual‟s unfaltering and often overbearing and unwarranted sense of superiority and importance. Having a strong belief in oneself is crucial to the player‟s success, regardless what level they play at.

feel is an „under pressure‟ situation. As they are not certain that their skills, attributes or characteristics will be enough for them to ensure success.

If a player is confident they can compete without the constant fear, nagging or second guessing that is associated with those who worry they may make a mistake.

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If players‟ do not possess self confidence then they will always be operating in what they

Ways to encourage confidence building 1. Keep tasks , targets and goals achievable 2. No negativity, remain positive and encouraging 3. No belittling – of each other or themselves 4. Project a confident persona 5. Do not build up the opposition too much 6. Accept responsibility, may not seem like the most obvious, but once players stop blaming each other it can lead to greater confidence in themselves.


7. Remove the fear of failure and the need to impress 8. Constructive and relevant criticism 9. Do not encourage players to compare themselves to each other or conduct this comparison for them, it will only make them focus on the elements that they are weak at.

Confidence building activities 

Give every player a piece of paper and tell them to write their name on the top. They then pass it to the player next to them. Each player must write something positive about the player whose sheet it is before passing it onto the next player. Once every player has completed it the sheet is returned back to the person it belongs to.

Performance profiling – highlighting their strengths

It is believed, not by all psychologists, that abilities can be developed, and the general consensus is that the most important phase for development is during the individuals early childhood. Therefore it is crucial that children are provided with many opportunities to practice a wide range of experiences, as well as coaching / teaching and access to necessary equipment and facilities. Therefore if as a coach you are in charge of a young group of players, it should not be viewed as merely „babysitting‟, this is because you may be responsible for the player‟s long term development and success. Abilities form

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Developing Ability

the foundations for skills, and generally abilities are developed through experience and maturation, and follow a predetermined set of stages. 1. Learn basic movement skills such as walking, skipping, pushing, stretching and balancing. These movements form the basis for further development. 2. The basic movements are developed into Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS) between the ages of 4 and 9 years old. Each FMS is made of a series of actions against which skills mastery can be measured. All FMS have established coaching points and therefore performance of the skill can be broken down and improved. For


example the process of kicking a ball can be broken down into Approach, Body Shape, Non-Kicking Foot, Point of Execution. 3. Once the FMS have be mastered they can then be developed into sport specific movements that correspond with the requirements of that sport. For example basic catching can be developed into the different goalkeeping techniques of catching (bucket, „W‟ etc). The earlier and more competently the individual learns the fundamental motor skills the more successful they will be at learning sports specific skills.

Different Types of Skill Every individual has their own skills, that they use and employ on a day-to-day basis in their daily routines. These skills can be classified into a number of different categories and some tasks performed may need skills from more than one group to be executed effectively. However, not all of these skills will be relevant to their role as a coach or a player, in fact there are four groups that should create the focus for further analysis:

thought processes. A good example would be that of the role of the coach, where they must correctly choose the appropriate tactics to employ to be successful. Perceptual Skills – These types of skills involve the individual‟s ability to detect and interpret information. Two individuals may receive the same piece of information but their interpretation may be totally different. For example, a refereeing decision during a match or a coaches assessment of their team‟s performance. Motor Skills – These skills involve movements being performed. Such as running,

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Cognitive Skills – Often referred to as mental or intellectual skills as they involve the

jumping or striking a football. Perceptual Motor Skills – Or otherwise referred to as Psychomotor Skills, as they involve components of all 3 of the other skills. The individual is required to think, detect and interpret and perform a movement to complete a skill. Once a player has the ball the must think what to do with it, analyse and assess what is happening around them and then perform their decision (pass, dribble, shoot etc).


Skills within the Perceptual Motor Skills can then be further categorised into groups that relate to the: 

Muscular involvement employed during the movement.

Environmental conditions affecting the movement.

Clarity of a beginning and an end for the movement.

Level of control the individual can employ over the timing of the movement.

Complexity of the movement.

Links between the individual components of the movement.

Muscular involvement employed during the movement The focus in this category would be the precision required for the movement to be successfully executed. Movements can either be: Gross Skills: The movement involves large muscle movement where there is little attention paid to fine precision. For example running, jumping or diving.

be executed. For example making notes in your pocket book about the game.

Environmental conditions affecting the movement When focusing on the environment, every factor that could impede or affect the movement is considered, including the opposition, team mates, the weather or the playing surface. Movements can then be placed into two groups: Open Skills: Predominately occur in an unpredictable environment where the movements

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Fine Skills: Require more complicated movements employing smaller muscle groups to

are influenced by the ever changing environment. Open skills tend to be mostly perceptual and greatly involve decision making. For example receiving and then giving a pass. Closed skill: These movements are unaffected by the environment. They can be performed the same every time and as a result they are habitual. The performing individual will know exactly what they have to do in order to achieve their desired outcome without requiring a decision making process. Very few movements in football


are closed, so examples from other sports would be a basketball free through or tennis serve.

Clarity of a beginning and an end for the movement It is slightly harder to distinguish where a movement starts and ends than to decide if the environment affects it. However it is possible, and there are three different ways a movement can be described: Discrete Skill: These types of movements have both a clear beginning and a clear end. If the movement is to be repeated then the whole process must start again. For example a throw in or a goal kick. Serial Skill: A sequence of discrete skills that combine in a set order to create the movement. For example heading the ball (made up of run, jump, head). Continuous Skill: Are movements that do not have a definite beginning and end. The end of one phase leads immediately into the next, and it usually has to be repeated numerous

Level of control the individual can employ over the timing of the movement The focus here is whether or not the performer has complete control over when the movement is begun and what rate it is performed at: Internally Paced: Also known as Self Paced, where the performer has complete control over when it begins and at what speed they will complete it at. They are also predominately closed skills such as long jump or tennis serve.

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times before it becomes a significant movement.

Externally Paced: The environment dictates when and how quickly the movement is conducted. Usually open skills and the result or reacting to an opponent‟s or team mate‟s movement. For example saving a shot at goal.

Complexity of the movement The complexity of a movement can be determined by considering the following factors: 

Perceptual load plus the level of decision making

Time to execute the perceptual and decision making tasks


Amount of interconnecting components to execute and their speed of execution and timing

Use of feedback.

Once a movement has undergone analysis using the above criteria they can then be classified as: Simple Skills: These movements involve very low amounts of the above aspects. Small amount of information to process, few decisions and interconnecting components, insignificant speed and timing issues. Although these times of movements are classified as simple they still may be very hard to perfect and perform, such as sprinting. Complex Skills: These movements involve very high amounts of the above aspects. High perceptual load including many decisions to make. The movement will also contain a high number of interconnecting components and the movements overall success will greatly be determined by the speed and timing of these components. A good example would be receiving the ball in a crowded penalty area with the intention to score.

Movements can also be classified depending on how the individual components that create its execution interlock. Low Organisational Skills: Movements that are based upon individual components that can be easily separated and focused upon by themselves, then placed back together again for the overall movement. High Organisational Skills: Theses movements are based upon components that are

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Links between the individual components of the movement

closely linked and cannot be separated easily without disturbing the overall movement. Essentially a skill is a learnt, goal-directed movement that follows a process of technical pre-planned actions. Knowing exactly what type of classifications a skill falls into can greatly help a coach plan exactly how to conduct their exercises and sessions to ensure a fair replication of the real situation the movement is to be performed in.

Mental Toughness


Personal success for an individual on a football pitch can be greatly determined by 4 pillars; physical preparation, technical and tactical execution, emotional control and mental strength. They do not all have to be perfect, as a reduction in one coupled with an increase in another can result in the same desired outcome. “Mental strength refers to the ability to pursue a course of action when it seems like the odds are stacked against you.” A few examples that could be used are being; 

3 – 0 down at half time

1 down with 2 minutes to go

The complete underdog

On paper these situations may seem highly unlikely, almost impossible, but for those who still believe they can achieve and are willing to do everything in their power to make it happen can reach their goal. From the examples laid out above, Liverpool came back from 3 – 0 at half time to claim the UEFA Champions League in 2005, Manchester United and won 2 – 1 (within the allotted time) and the any of the domestic cup competitions (especially the English F.A cup) can continually throw up great stories of underdog success – such as Millwall reaching the F.A cup final in 2004. These were only a few examples, there are hundreds that could be called upon to highlight the requirement for a will-to-win, a desire-to-succeed. However it must be accepted that mental toughness is not just about thinking something, it is about having the strength to make it a reality. Too many players can „talk the talk‟ but

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were 1 – 0 with 1 minute of normal time to play in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final

the truly great are able to back up this „talk‟ with performances that match. The ability to develop a winning culture and identity can see player‟s become more successful than their technical attributes should allow. This is because they have a never-say-die attitude and impose this upon their opponents for as long as required. If the opposition does not possess the same amount of desire and mental strength then they will not be able to resist such an approach.


Mental toughness can be developed through; 

Hard work. The harder you work for something the tougher it is to let to go.

Strong sense of identity and team togetherness. Players will then work harder for each other.

Encourage leaders on the pitch that lead by example and get everyone doing the same.

Notational Analysis

What is notational analysis?

This is by no means a new craze as the concept has been around for approximately half a century and some people may recognise it as match analysis, as that is what it is often referred to within a footballing environment. It is basically the gathering and analysing of information that has been gained from observing performance in a competitive situation. A list of measurable performance markers are established by the coaching staff; players can have

basic analysis could be shots on/off target and passes given away, while a more detailed one may include effective back/front post crosses and area of field possession is regained. Usually carried out for both the coaches own side and opposition as well.  

So how are these performance markers decided?

The staff will draw up a list of key elements of a match, for example when and

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some input if they are the focus, to record all notable events. For example a

how their team loses or regains possession. They will then break this element down into smaller, more easily measurable factors. For example if you want to look at how your team loses possession then this can include which 3rd of the field, due to poor crosses etc or even break it down further to see which individual player is continually losing possession. These performance markers can be team or player focused, and can be as detailed or as simple as desired.  

How would the results be collected?


The most basic way of collecting the information is to have someone record it while the match is being played. They will have the list on a piece of paper in front of them and they can then keep a tally score for each one. However this can overwhelm the person recording the information if a series of play requires many markings, so the list should be quite basic if this process is adopted. Another option is for teams to video record the game and go back through the tape later. This allows for the game to be paused, and if required rewound, to obtain all the information necessary. A basic video camera is all that is required to take the footage although it can be a time consuming activity. Another way is you use software packages such as Data Video and Focus X2. These allow you to upload your video onto your computer and record events as they occur by pressing an allocated key on the pc keyboard. They also allow for you to edit the video footage and create a highlights section that can be then shown to the players or staff, to emphasize a strength or weakness.

 

Being able to show players clips from the game is obviously one benefit,

That is a great benefit as it removes both the subjective opinions of the player and the coach, and allows a purely objective view. For example if you claim a full back played their attacker onside who then went onto score and they claim they didn‟t then the footage will settle the argument. However, this is a benefit that not every team and club has access to, but it is possible for notational analysis to be used at any level to enhance an objective opinion. For example a coach may be of the opinion that too often the team delivers ineffective crosses,

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what are the others?

the players may disagree with this observation. Notational analysis can be used to highlight exactly what percentage of the total crosses delivered are in fact ineffective. Another benefit is that it can be used to uncover tactical tendencies, strengths and weaknesses that may have been overlooked, in both your own side and the opposition. For example their left back may always take ball to byeline to cross and never deliver early. If it is possible to scout future opposition in the advance, it is then possible to ensure that their weaknesses are underlined and exploited during the game, while restricting the things they do well.


This leads onto another key benefit. It can aid in the planning process. If a weakness or tendency is highlighted in your own performance it is possible to structure sessions and programmes to improve upon them. Plans for both the short and long term can be created once the analysis is complete.

A final benefit is that it can be used as a reassessment tool, by using the same performance markers as before it will be possible to compare the two performances and establish if any notable change or improvement has occurred. It sounds like a very helpful aid.

 

Now the benefits have been looked at, is there are potential drawbacks to the process?

The first two are the obvious ones; time and money. To purchase the software or even the video camera will cost money, which is not available to many clubs. Although a pen and paper is all that many teams and clubs will require. With regards to time the information will have to be collected at some stage. If it is to occur during live matches then someone will have to be responsible for that, as

videoed then the footage will have to be watched again and information recorded, even more time is required to edit the video footage, where applicable. These are two obstacles that can be quite easily overcome with the correct attitude, approach and resources. 

An additional drawback that is often overlooked revolves around the reliability of the information collected. If you receive a separate analysis for two different players and player A has a pass completion of 90% while player B has a

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it should not be undertaken by management or coaching staff. If the game is

completion rate of 79%, which would you conclude had the better game? It is impossible to say without considering some additional influences. All of player A‟s could have been 5-10 yard passes, while half of player B‟s passes could have been key passes (creating a goal scoring opportunity) or 40-50 yard cross field passes. The risk involved in each player‟s passing game is greatly different, so you would expect the completion rate to differ. The same can affect a team‟s performance, as the oppositions tactics may vary. If opposition A‟s approach was to press constantly then a ball possession rate of 63% would be impressive, as you have kept the ball well under continual pressure. However if


opposition B plays a defensive approach that involves them dropping off and just protecting their half, you would expect a high possession rate as you can keep the ball comfortably in your own half under little pressure. The lesson to learn is to not just take the figures collected at face value and draw conclusions based on them alone.  

So weighing up the positives and negatives, is notational analysis a useful tool?

It can benefit those teams that can employ it, regardless the level they play at. Obviously, the more advanced the resources and software, and the more positive and welcoming the player‟s attitude, the more help it will be.

Notational analysis does not provide all the answers and it is not possible to select or change a team or plan coaching programmes on the information recorded alone. That information should provide an objective support to subjective opinions already concluded, and not be the foundations of subjective opinions. With that word of warning I suggest all coaches at least trail the

helpfulness, effectiveness and appropriateness for their team or club.

Performance Profiling Performance profiling is a form of assessment that can be employed to discover a player‟s perceived weaknesses. The process can be employed to evaluate and monitor any aspects that contribute to a player‟s performance, including physical, psychological, technical and sociological factors. The process has its three main purposes; 

It aids in identifying an appropriate training programme

It helps to maximise the participant‟s motivation and adherence to the program

It can help monitor any changes that occur over a given period of time

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process of notational or match analysis and draw their own conclusions on its

Performance profiles are documents that are created to highlight what a player perceives as their weakness. The player(s) should be introduced to the idea through a discussion and an explanation of the reasoning and thought behind it. They should also be made aware that this is for their own benefit and that no one else expect the allocated


personnel will see the form. (These personnel should be outlined before the assessment is completed). The player must then be completely honest with themselves and the coach when completing the form. The first step is to devise a list of desired attributes related to the area the coach would like to assess. This list can be created through a brain storming session between coach and player or simply provided to the player by the coach. Although, if it is obtained through a brain storming session the coach can begin to visualize the way their players minds work and also the player feels more involved in the process. The list created can contain any number of attributes or factors but each should be specific to the evaluated area. (It is suggested that the list contains no more than 20-22 attributes). This list is then transferred into a table or circular (figure 1) format, so that the player can complete the

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Once the player has the chart they must then assign each attribute a desired level. This level can relate to: How important that attribute is for their role? 

The ideal standard the attribute should be at


The standard the current „best player‟ is at (either at the club or in the league)

The standard of the current „best player‟ at the club for each attribute

The standard they have previously been at

The level that the player uses as a benchmark is dependant on the coaches‟ objectives for the assessment and the desired course of action. For example if the player has been in poor form then comparing themselves to their best could be the desired result, or another approach could be that the player is required to compare themselves against the divisions or teams top player. The level is then marked out on each of the attributes. For the example below the performance profile was completed by a player on the fringes of playing for a first team. They were then required to compare themselves to the first choice centre forward. Therefore figure 2 shows the

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player‟s perceived ability of the first choice centre forward.

Once the player has completed the chart for their benchmark target, they must then fill in each attribute with a rating for their own ability (at that present time). In the example provided the centre forward was then asked to complete the chart, comparing how good


they were compared to the first choice centre forward. The outcome is shown in figure 3

The fully completed chart can then be used to highlight the areas that the player must improve upon if they are to reach their desired level and also allows the coach to be conscious of how the player perceives themselves. The more space between the desired and actual levels indicates the attributes that require a greater improvement. In the

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example the fringe first team centre forward now has areas to work upon to obtain the same standard as their team mate, especially their weaker foot, confidence, speed and work rate. Once the results are anaylsed the coach can then construct a training programme that can be used by the player to improve the required areas, so that their performance reaches their desired standard. Generally the performance profile is completed by the player about themselves. However it is possible for the coach to complete one on the player as well so a comparison can occur. This will show any major discrepancies that the player and coach may have


regarding the players ability, which in turn can highlight any unwarranted arrogance, cockiness and ego, or even any insecurity the player may possess within their game. Another use for performance profiling can be seen when implemented with a team as a whole. The players could each complete a chart based upon the general state of the team, to include such factors as team spirit, confidence, work rate, attacking and defending qualities etc. This would then allow the coach the ability to evaluate how the players perceive the current condition of the team, compared to how it has been or the other teams in the league. Performance profiling can be a very useful tool to help the planning and monitoring of player‟s training programmes. However, they are heavily based on subjective views so results may vary greatly. It is for that reason training programmes should therefore not be created based on these results alone, as players may over- or under-estimate their own strengths and weaknesses. The most fundamentally crucial element of the whole process is to ensure that the player completing it is totally honest with themselves and their answers, and not just filling out what they think their coach wants to see.

Figure .1. Adapted from: Butler, R J (1996). Sport Psychology in Action. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd.

Performance Profiling - A Guided Walk Through Procedure

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1. Determine area for evaluation and what it is being compared against 2. Devise List of Attributes to asses 3. Fill in on chart 4. Complete Benchmark ratings 5. Complete personal rating 6. Devise plan to improve upon highlighted weaknesses. 1 – Player is a centre midfielder, who wishes to compare their physical attributes with the player currently ahead of them in selection for the regional squad.


2 – Strength, Speed, Jumping, Power, Acceleration, Balance, Stamina, Agility. 3–

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6 – It can be seen that the player completing the profile feels that they have certain attributes that are better than that of their competition for the place. It is also clearing

Self Control Self control is simply the player‟s ability to remain in control of their actions and emotions in varying circumstances. This is essential to players at any standard because over the course of a match a player can undergo a psychological rollercoaster ride as they can experience all elements of the Delight to Disappointment, Anger to Excitement, Relaxed to Fear and Guilt to Pride continuums. Therefore it is essential that players are

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evident which areas they wish to improve upon (they are still red).

able to maintain a balanced persona so that they do not allow their emotions to dictate their actions, as the moment their concentration is gone they are then no longer contributing to their team in their most productive way.

How emotions affect performance It is a widely experienced and accepted concept that an individual‟s emotions greatly determine their energy levels. Once someone is excited their adrenaline provides them with energy to perform activities quicker and/or more sustained than the relaxed


individual, but once the emotion transforms the individual can experience an adrenaline dump which leaves them feeling depleted of all energy. This is why it is crucial that player‟s are able to maintain a level head throughout the entire game. Emotions can also greatly dictate a player‟s ability to complete simple and complex skills. If the player is in the right, focussed mindset then they may be able to complete movements that they may otherwise find highly unlikely or semi impossible. Sadly the same is also true in reverse.

Inexperienced versus the experienced Youngsters nowadays believe in their reputation and „street cred‟ so will not easily allow a look, comment or action to go unanswered. However if they allow it to get to them, if they allow themselves to react then their opponent has won, the lapse in concentration, the petulant retaliation or the misplaced motivation can all lead to the opposition gaining an advantage – which in turn can dictate the outcome of a match. The more experienced and mature player should be able to view the bigger picture, allowing them to realise that the importance of the overall outcome is much greater than that of a personal vendetta,

Players need to understand the importance of self control and how it can impose itself on their performance. Those players that are unable to express discipline, patience and self control will continually be the ones that underachieve, underperform and will never reach their full potential. The missing self control could result in actions that are as simple as being too eager to shut the ball down in the wrong area of the pitch, which in turn allows the opposition to exploit the space that they have left behind – instantly placing the opposition at an advantage. So be sure to ensure players remain focussed at

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thus making it easier for them to let such trivial things slide without reacting.

all times, as the moment one player allows it to slide, the whole team will suffer.

Introduction to Sports Science Many coaches are still either unaware or confused about the role sports science can play within the sport of football. For that reason Coaches Colleague conducted an interview with a sports scientist to establish exactly what is meant by the term and its benefits.

What is sports science?


Essentially, sports science is a multi-disciplinary field which applies the sub-disciplines of general science (physiology, biomechanics, psychology and sociology) to sporting situations, to aid athletes and performers improve their ability during training and competition.

What is a sports scientist? A sports scientist is an individual who has studied the subject. They may have undertaken a course covering each discipline so that they gain a basic understanding of each or focused on one specific area in greater detail.

What roles can a sports scientist take on? A sports scientist can either undertake a practical or theoretical based role. On the practical side of things they could help design and implement a programme for an individual player, team or club. With the intention to build upon any weaknesses they may be experiencing with their performance. Some examples of the kinds of programs that a qualified individual can apply can vary from training techniques to avoid injury,

anaerobic capacity. On the theoretical side, research is conducted to help establish answers to unexplained occurrences, such as why playing at home is an advantage (and at times a disadvantage) or social facilitation. It also has the role to question taken-for-granted concepts that are continually employed with no real evidence of effectiveness, for example is static stretching really the best form of preparation for muscles before sporting activity, especially when compared to dynamic stretching. Therefore, the sports scientist will be

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performing better under pressure, improving team cohesion and improving a player‟s

required to carry out research and collect information to try and arrive at a conclusion that can then be used to reduce or eliminate the impact of such factors on performance.

So can only graduates and other relevantly qualified individuals employ such ideas, concepts and programs? Not necessarily. It is advised that many of the programs are carried out under the supervision of a trained professional. As this ensures that it is implemented correctly and safely. It also allows for a more detailed analysis of the results. It is not essential


especially as the option to employ a fully qualified sports scientist does not exist for the majority of clubs. So it then becomes the role of the coach to help bridge the gap between their players and the information discovered. For a lot of the concepts the coach only needs to be a relative expert and have a sound understanding of why it is beneficial. For example, many players will not require the full extent and depth of attention to detail that can be supplied through such a structured programme, but information on avoiding injuries, correct nutrition or increasing individual and team confidence would benefit any standard of player and team. So it would be up to the coach to unearth a way to inform their players. At times this can be very easy as information on nutrition can be delivered in conversation or adapting teams warm up procedure is easily achievable.

What are the costs? Some of the equipment required for the more in-depth and detailed analysis of a player‟s performance can be quite costly and therefore it is unrealistic to assume every club should own it.

applicable), analysis and explanation of results process can be very time consuming. Coaches may find it difficult to balance analysing sets of test scores with their day-today employment and social engagements. They may also have to shorten or miss a coaching session so that the tests can be conducted. For a full time team that is not so much of an issue but for a side that meets twice or even once a week the impact on player motivation and performance may be noticeable. So the coach will have to decide whether the implementation will benefit the individuals more in the long run than the effected coaching session would in the short term. Long versus short term goals.

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There are also not just financial costs involved. The data gathering or testing (where

You spoke about weighing up long term versus short term benefits, any other considerations the coach should look at, before implementation? Attitude of players is a big one and why it is they are actually playing. I have no doubts that the results can provide players with a good knowledge of where they are at and what improvements need to occur to take their performance up to the next level. However no matter how informed the coach or sport scientist are or how advanced the equipment they have, the player‟s must be interested in actually undertaking the program. Without


the player‟s having the correct attitude and approach then the results will not be as accurate as required. Player‟s should be informed and feel involved at every stage. A team playing in the local park, in a local league at the weekend may not wish to waste their one training session a week to perform a VO2 max assessment. So player interest is crucial. Tests carried out can provide results that players can test themselves against later on in the season. For example a bleep test, during pre season, is easy to perform and the results collected can be used as a comparison when they repeat the test at the beginning of the season. Biggest improvement gets a prize – a great motivator.

The use of sports science – short-term „fad‟ or does it have a long term future within football? The role of sports science has increased in recent years and there is no reason to believe that this trend will diminish. I personally believe that the partnership between sports science and football will strengthen as elite coaches use scientists to progress the

until it is implemented in some form at every level. It is therefore advisable for those coaches who wish to improve their ability, to become familiar with the terms, concepts and procedures used within the sports science environment, and most of all possess the open-mindedness and willingness to adapt their approach to include tests, results of research and changes of attitude. A better educated coach will lead to better educated players.

Team Cohesion

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performance of their players. This approach will then pass down the levels of coaching

To be successful a team must be cohesive, they may not interact or socialise away from the club but once they are all there they must be unified. “Cohesion is the ability for a group of individuals to join together and create a combined unit, and it is what sets apart teams of individuals and successful teams.”

Different Types of Cohesion


Task Cohesion is based around the concept that groups of coaches and players will bound together in order to achieve a common goal. Social Cohesion is based around the concept that individuals are not just united through their common goal but also interact on a social basis as well.

Factors affecting Cohesion 

Stability - Cohesion develops the longer a group is together with the same members

Similarity - Cohesion develops when the more similar the group members are in terms of age, sex, skills and attitudes

Size - Cohesion develops more quickly in small groups

Support - Cohesive teams tend to have managers and coaches who provide support to team members and encourage them to support one another

Satisfaction - Cohesion is associated with the extent to which team members are pleased with each other‟s performance, behaviour and conformity to the norms of

Carron (Social Psychology of Sport, 1980) defined a cohesive group as having the following characteristics: 

a collective identity

a sense of shared purpose

structured patterns of communication

Therefore in order to promote cohesion, you as the coach should attempt to:

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the team

1. Establish a sense of togetherness, through team identity. 2. Promote unity of purpose. 3. Collaborative team work. 4. Establish individual and collective accountability. 5. Team culture, no groups or cliques. 6. Develop a family atmosphere, all help each other. 7. Trust and belief in each other. 8. Honesty, identifying problems early and collectively solve.


9. Well defined roles to ensure complete understanding. 10. Communication – open, clear, honest, pro-active, regular, collective and individual, understood and active listening.

Team Effectiveness A team is “a group of individuals (two or more) that share both a common identity and fate, who must interact and communicate to achieve their own, interlocking, personal goals and their collective goal.”

Carron & Hausenblaus (Group dynamics in sport 1998 [2nd ed.], pg162) highlighted that in order for a group of individuals to become an effective team certain factors should be present. These factors were: 

Role clarity (a clear understanding of what their role is and the components of that

Role acceptance (individuals accepting their roles and the responsibility that the roles will be completed)

Role performance (how well the individual completes their role). To put these suggestions into a football orientated environment the collection of individuals (on the pitch) will only make an effective team if each person understands their roles (positions in the team), accepts their roles (full back is a full back not a wide midfielder) and complete their roles to the required level of performance (strikers score when opportunity arises).

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role as well as everyone else‟s)

If one element of that triangle breaks down then the overall team performance is negatively affected i.e. if a player is unsure of their role or unhappy with their role, then their performance may be negatively affected, as seen many times before when some players are played out of position. So it is up to the coach/manager to ensure that each player has a clear understanding, of their role, accepts their role/position in the team (these are even more important of the


player is being asked to play out of position) and then performs in their role to the best of their ability. » Nutrition

Eating for Energy & Recovery To guarantee the body is adequately fuelled to complete the demands placed upon it, it must receive the correct energy. This can be achieved by ensuring the consumption of a balanced and healthy diet. This diet should include the necessary carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibres and nutrients. These can be provided through the stable and common three meal approach (breakfast, lunch and dinner) or through consuming five to six smaller meals throughout the day. It is not advised that meals are skipped during the course of a day as it has a negative effect on the body, this effect can be even more detrimental on training or performance days. In addition to having the correct energy the body must also be optimally hydrated. When performing any physical activity the body releases and loses water through sweat. The amount of water lost can be determined by factors such as intensity of training, weather

For example on days of longer, harder or hotter sessions more water should be consumed before, during and after the session. An effective recovery will include supplying the body with the correct levels of nutrients needed to replace those expended. The major nutrients required to aid recovery are carbohydrates and protein, and they should be replaced as soon after training as possible. The carbohydrates are required to replace the bodies‟ glycogen stores that have been used up during activity and proteins are required to tackle the problem of

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and duration. If these factors are known before training then they should be planned for.

muscle breakdown. There is also the added benefit of some proteins being able to aid the mental focus of an individual, this helps the individual improve attention and concentration after a session. Also should the session have occurred in any potentially harmful climates or environments (for example the cold) then the individual should seek to ensure that their immune system is at full strength, therefore taking additional supplements or minerals as required.


Eating for Fat Loss Unfortunately there is no miracle product or system that can ensure weight loss. Yet many individuals still get overwhelmed by diet „fads‟ and the promises they bring with them. Each claims to make weight loss quick and easy through their own specialist approach. However, the concept behind losing weight is not a hidden secret that requires huge expense or vast reading to discover, in fact it is relatively simple; create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than are consumed. The body requires a certain amount of calories to remain at a certain weight. Any increase in these value will provide weight gain, while any reduction will result in weight loss. The bigger the deficit the more weight will be lost. The manner in which the calories are consumed also affects the weight loss process. Many individuals base their eating habits on three larger standard meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, while snacking in between, to achieve their calorific requirements. This is not a bad approach to adopt, as long as the snacks are small and do not contain high levels of fat. However another approach that could be adopted is to eat five to six smaller

advantageous results. People who tend to eat smaller meals more regularly tend to experience less bouts of hunger and are therefore less likely to snack and also their metabolism rate is increased. Notice the suggestion is made to eat more meals (but smaller than normal) and not less. It is advised that meals are never skipped or removed from an individual‟s daily regime. A missed meal can result in less calories consumed within that day but it can also result in the individual‟s metabolic rate decreasing, blood sugar levels to drop which can then affect energy levels. So look to spread out the daily

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meals a day. By adapting eating habits in such a way the body experiences some

calorie intake over an increased number of meals. Limiting and reducing calorific intake will result in weight loss, however by only reducing the amount of calories consumed daily the weight loss will take time. There are approximately 3500 calories in one pound of weight. Therefore if reducing calorific intake by 500 calories, the result will be a weight loss of one pound a week. It is not advised to reduce calorie intake by mush more than that. To increase the speed at which weight loss occurs exercise should be incorporated. Any movement undertaken, breathing, reading, walking all burns calories, the more strenuous the movement the more calories are used. Therefore if an exercise regime is adopted (cardio-vascular based activity at


least twice a week) more calories will be lost. This is because as the exercise is undertaken the body turns to its „own stores‟ (glycogen and fat) for energy rather than the food recently consumed. So if each time the exercise activity occurs another 500 calories are burned, that is at least another 1000 a week, so when combined with reduced calorie intake the individual is now losing 4500 calories a week or 1.3 pounds of weight. It is vital that when training and dieting that water and liquid is not forgotten. Water is crucial in keeping the body hydrated and contains no calories. Individuals should look to consume two to three litres a day.

Recommended Fluid Intake The need for players to adequately hydrate themselves prior to activity, whether that is training or competition, is well documented and as a result players are generally good at carrying this out. However, the requirement to continually stay hydrated during activity is a task that is very rarely effectively fulfilled and as a result players are performing with insufficiently hydrated bodies.

600ml of fluid, ideally not just plain water but sports drinks or fluids containing a small amount of salt. As this can aid with the retention of the fluid and reduce the rate and amount that passes straight through the body and is excreted in urine. It is advised that this fluid is sipped as opposed to gulped down and that time is allowed for the excess water to be excreted from the body. Sweat is the main reason fluid is lost during activity. Sweating is the bodies way to ensure its temperature is kept at the desired level (37-38°C) once the other common heat

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It is suggested that prior to activity the individual should consume between 400 and

removal methods (such as convection, conduction and radiation) are overloaded and exhausted. There are many factors which can affect the amount of sweat the body produces. Some of the more obvious factors include: Climate temperature – a 15°C change in temperature can alter the sweat produced by up to 1.5 litres (although this figure can alter if the body has become used to performing in such a climate). Such a climate change can occur across continents and even individual countries. Humidity levels – If there is moisture in the air then the amount evaporated off the body


is decreased. Clothing – Amount and type of clothing has a direct influence on the quantity of sweat produced. Intensity and Duration of the exercise – The longer and harder the individual works for, the more sweat is produced. Due to the amount of fluid lost during exercise, it is suggested that fluid is replaced every 15 minutes, although this figure can vary depending on the influence the above factors have on training or competition. Otherwise the participant may experience dehydration. If the body becomes dehydrated then many of its systems can suffer. Such problems that can arise through dehydration include; 1. Work rate and effort perception. 2. Thermal regulation. 3. Lactate production within the muscles. 4. As well as reduced functions of the excretion and digestive systems.

of the above factors can influence their performance. So what is the correct amount of fluid that should be taken on board to ensure hydration? The guidelines at present for the average footballer are as follows; 

400-600 ml of fluid approximately 3 hours before activity (if the intensity is known to be high then adjust intake accordingly).

150-250 ml approximately 15 minutes before commencing (just sipping).

150-250 ml every 15 minutes during activity (depending on environmental and

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It is therefore crucial that players are continually re-hydrating themselves to ensure none

intensity factors). 

1.5 litres for every 1 kg of body weight lost after activity.

Due to the nature of soccer matches there does not presently exist a chance to take water on board during the halves at designated periods, as no time outs or water breaks exist. Therefore the following should be followed to delay the onset of dehydration; 

400-600 ml immediately before kick off.

400-600 ml during half time (once again only sipped).


1.5 litres for every kilogram of body weight lost at full-time.

Players should also take any chances during games to get fluid inside them. For example when there is an injury or a break in the play for any other reason. There are three main ways to test and assess a player‟s hydration level after they perform. The first simple test is to measure their body weight before and after activity, any difference will be the amount of fluid lost. A second process is to check the colour of the player‟s urine. A dark colour means the individual is de-hydrated, while a clearer lighter colour means that their body is adequately hydrated. One final approach is to use a Osmocheck™ device which can instantly provide an accurate reading of an individuals hydration levels. This article has focused on hydration in players when they are performing in either training sessions or matches, with a very adult orientated approach. However it is the younger generation that require the most attention and educating with regards to hydration as their under developed bodies are not capable of the same thermal

more regular basis (every 10 minutes) and be provided with enough fluid to not just meet their thirst requirements but exceed them. So to ensure the players under your supervision maintain a healthy and hydrated physical well-being you as the coach should ensure they all have access to the sufficient amount of fluids and are allocated the time to take those fluids on board.

The Food Pyramid

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regulation as adults. Children should therefore be encouraged to consume fluid on a

Many guidelines and suggestions are made to advise and inform individuals regarding the components that should comprise their daily nutritional intake. One of the most commonly used one in society today is „The Food Guide Pyramid


(or FGP)‟. This pyramid provides an outline on the specific types and amounts of food that should be eaten on a daily basis. The (FGP) pyramid was first created and released by the United States Department of Agriculture. It took almost two decades to devise and advises on food choices that meet nutritional needs, promotes health, supports an active life and also reduce the chance of chronic diseases. A brief summary of the guidelines is as follows: 1. Vary the food consumed: It is not possible for the body to extract all the required nutrients from any single food item or group. For this reason it is advised that food from all the groups are eaten. 2. Diet should be low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. 3. Sugars, salt and sodium should all be consumed in moderation. 4. Do not exceed daily recommendations regarding alcohol consumption. 5. Balance these dietary suggestions with a good degree of physical exercise and

As can be viewed from (figure 1) the pyramid is split into six groups over 4 tiers. Bottom Tier - The foundation of the pyramid is made up of foods high in carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta and cereal. It is suggested that these foods can be consumed in generous amounts on a daily basis. Next Tier Up – Consists of the fruit and vegetable food groups. These are also foods that can be consumed in a generous manner. Penultimate Tier – Guidelines suggest that the foods contained within this tier are

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consumed within moderation and not as freely as the two previous tiers. The food groups contained within this tier are the dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese) and meat, fish, poultry, dry beans, eggs and nuts. Top tier – The top tier contains foods that are considered to be made up of empty calories. These are foods that are high in energy (calories) but provide no other real nutrients, vitamins or minerals. As a result these foods should be consumed on a restricted basis. Included in this tier are fats, oils, sweets, sauces, deep fried foods and other foods that are high fat based.


The following table highlights the suggested daily intake of each group and what constitutes one serving:

Food Group

Portion Size

Bread and Cereal (6-11 Servings per day) Bread (brown or white)

1 Slice

Pitta Bread

1 Small


1 Small




1/2 Bowl


5 Small

Cooked Rice or Pasta

1/2 Cup


1 Medium

Fruit (2-4 Servings) Apple

1 Medium



Canned Fruit

1/2 Cup



Dried Fruit

1/4 Cup

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Vegetable (3-5 Servings)

Meat (2-3 Servings ) Cooked Lean Meat, Poultry or Fish




1 Medium


1/3 Cup

Dairy (2-3 Serving) Milk

1 Medium





The food pyramid is a useful tool to use as a guideline when establishing the foundations of a daily diet. However when the athlete uses it they should be wary of the fact that the intended audience of it is the sedentary individual, however the requirements for a footballer changes as they may require sugar based foods for energy and may also need to consume more calories than the average individual to replace those expended during exercise.

Glycemic Index It is well documented that the level of intensity that a player is capable of performing at is directly related to their glycogen stores (energy stored in the liver and muscles). It is therefore no surprise that players will attempt to keep these stores as „stocked up‟ as possible by consuming carbohydrates prior to exercise. However it is not just the consumption of carbohydrates that is important, it is also the kind of carbohydrate, as

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Figure 1: Image is taken from

some can be used for a short-term energy solution while others provided a more prolonged source. A simple process that can be used by players to determine what time span it takes for the carbohydrates to provide energy is to look at the foods Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index has been devised to categorise items of food into a ranking system that illustrates how quickly it can increase blood glucose levels. Foods are classified into 3 group‟s dependant on whether they are considered to be high, medium or low Glycemic index; 

Low GI - less than 55


Intermediate GI - between 56 and 69

High GI - higher than 70

The process to determine a foods ranking on the index is quite a simply procedure. An individual fasts overnight and then proceeds to consume 50-100 grams of the desired food, within a laboratory environment. Measurements of the individual‟s blood glucose level are then taken over the next two hour period. From the recordings a graph can then be plotted to show how the individuals blood glucose levels are affected by the food chosen compared to that of the same amount of pure glucose. It is possible for a player to use the index as a useful tool when planning not just pre and post training/competition meals but also their daily diets.

Glycemic Index

Portion Size


Moderate (or high depending on time until activity)

Dependant on how close to training or competition





Low (or high if consumed after activity)



Any – dependant on time of day and schedule


Pre-match / training


Regular (but not too big)




Post-match / training



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Examples of the Glycemic index of some daily consumed foods

Food Item

Glycemic Index


French Baquette







75-80 (brand dependant)





Jelly Beans




70-80 (brand dependant)


Mars Bar ®



Cottage Pie






Split Pea Soup



Cranberry Juice



Popcorn, Sweet



Spaghetti (boiled 15 mins)



Tomato Soup



Red Lentils



Plain Yogurt



Hummus Dip



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White Bread

There will be times when players will not only require the understanding that carbohydrates are useful but also which are the best sources of energy for certain times. Therefore they should be equipped with the knowledge contained within this page that they are capable of planning and preparing their own meals and diets.

Meal Creation and Preparation Ideas There are no set meals a player should have to stick to. There are many varying beliefs to what kind of diet would be best for a football player; high protein, high carbohydrate, low fat etc. The general consensus amongst the majority of people is that the diet should be


high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Even so this does not mean that players must avoid their favourite meals or bypass the opportunity to try something new. Outlined below are a list of guidelines for how the serious competitor can adapt their usual diet to still eat the foods they love and not let it affect their recommended nutrient intake.

Cooking Methods and Recipes Adapt conventional recipes and preparation methods to reduce the fat content. For example if meat is usually cooked in a frying pan with oil, prepare under a grill instead, while deep fat fried chips can be oven baked. Low fat ways of preparing cooked food include baking, grilling, steaming or microwaving.

Enhanced Flavour Fat is used within dishes to help to enhance the taste and flavour of the meal. This extra fat should be reduced or altogether removed from the dish. Such dishes that use this process include mashed potato and scrambled egg (with extra milk and butter) and lasagne (increase oil). Reduce the high fat layers with more beneficial nutrients, for

of pasta ones, thus reducing the fat and increasing the carbohydrate content.

Substitutes It is possible to use a low fat alternative to the outlined or core ingredients, for example exchange whole or semi-skimmed milk with skimmed milk. There are also many ready made low-fat options in ranges such as oils, yogurts and cheese that can be easily integrated into the meal instead of the more common alternatives.

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example with the lasagne reduce the amount of cheese layers and increase the amount

It is also possible to substitute different quantities of the ingredients to get the desired nutritional intake. Like the lasagne example used earlier (where cheese was sacrificed for pasta) it is possible to use less meat and instead include more vegetables, pulses onions etc, so still providing a filling meal but no compromising on the nutritional content. These are just some of the ideas that can be employed to positively affect the content of a dish so that it is providing the desired nutritional content. The majority of dishes can be adapted in such ways, therefore favourite dishes do not have to be a treat or „one-off‟


but instead altered to be the basis for any diet, all that is required is a bit of innovation and adaptation.

Eating for Strength & Size When undertaking any form of training the body becomes damaged in the process, some fibres are exhausted while others are torn. The body then naturally repairs the affected areas, however during the repairing phase it overcompensates. This is known as the „training effect‟. The result is that the damaged areas are now stronger when fully healed, meaning the same work can be performed with less effort. This is then a continuous affect so once the fibres are re-damaged they are re-healed stronger and as a result overall strength increases. As the muscle fibres gets stronger they become bigger and therefore the overall size of the muscle or muscle group increases. Protein is used by the body when recovering from exercise or healing the damaged muscle fibres, as it happens to be the main component of muscle. A lack of protein can result in the muscle fibres not being repaired as desired. If an individual is undertaking a frequent and strenuous weight lifting regime they are required to increase their protein

individual and will require more protein to ensure all fibres are fully restored. To increase muscle size as well as muscle strength, the individual will have to alter their calorific intake. If the desire is to only build strength then there is no need to consume anymore calories than the amount required just to maintain the same weight. However if added bulk is desired then the number of calories consumed should be increased. The type of additional calories is also crucial. They should be supplied in the form of carbohydrates, so the body has sufficient energy to perform the desired tasks, and

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intake. This is because they will be damaging more muscle fibres than the sedentary

protein so that they can be used to aid the muscle recover and increase in size. To increase in size approximately 500 extra calories should be consumed daily. So the „training effect‟ is the process of building more muscle, while protein is the „blocks‟ required to achieve the overall goal. Injuries » Injury Prevention

Injury Prevention


Articles: This section provides informative articles regarding the steps that can be taken to remove or greatly reduce the chance of certain injuries and incidents occurring. Read more Stretching: It has been heavily documented that muscles should be warmed-up and stretched prior to any physical activity. This section provides an in depth look at the different types of stretches and the ones that can be performed. Read more Being fully prepared is crucial element in avoiding injuries and being able to deal with situations when they arise. With this in mind it is essential that a first aid bag is close at hand when player's are undertaking any activity, training or matches. What is even more crucial is ensuring that the first aid bag contains both the necessary and required resources. Follow the link below to discover the basic essentials a first aid pack should be equipped with.

Common Soccer Injuries However collisions, blows and tackles are not the only actions that result in injuries occurring, unchallenged and common movements such as sprinting, turning and jumping can all contribute to the chance of injury. This article looks to highlight the most common injuries in football and how they come about.

Head and Face

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Soccer is a contact sport, for this reason the possibility of injuries occurring is high.

Such As: Cuts, concussion, nose bleeds, fractures and dental related. Head and facial injuries are most common when the ball is in the air and two player‟s challenge for it, as the heads or an arm and a head clash. There is also a risk when someone lowers their head below chest height to head a ball and the opposing player goes for the same ball with their foot; a situation that is regular in goal mouths as players are desperate to score or clear the ball. Goalkeepers are also vulnerable to facial injuries as they dive down at the feet of oncoming attackers. It is also not uncommon for facial injuries to be caused by the ball striking the face at speed.


Hands and Arms Such As: Sprains, strains fractures and dislocations.An outfield player is less likely to suffer such an injury compared to a goalkeeper. This is because of the nature of the role that goalkeepers play within soccer. They are constantly stretching to catch or diving to save. An injury to the arm or hand is usually due to an awkward fall or a direct blow.

Torso Such As: Cracked ribs, strains and „dead‟ muscles. Once again goalkeepers are more susceptible to torso injuries than outfield players. This is because they often have to come through a crowded area to collect a ball at full stretch, meaning their torso is unprotected against any challenges. They must also use their bodies to block any attempts at goal. In addition to collecting and blocking the ball they are also required to use their back muscles during distribution when they have to throw the ball over great distances. The majority of torso injuries that occur to outfield player‟s, occur in the same situations as head and facial injuries. When a ball is in the air

their body and the other attempts to kick it. However some torso injuries can originate from player‟s falling on top on others with their feet, elbows or knees.

Upper Leg Such As: Strains, tears, dead legs and breaks. Breaks in the upper leg are very rare due to the strength of the femur bone and the

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and two player‟s compete or when the ball is bouncing and one player controls it with

muscles surrounding it. So it would take a very excessive force to cause such an injury. More common are dead legs (when a blow is taken to the muscles) and strains from overstretching or too many repetitive actions. If a player is not fully warmed up then their hamstrings may seem „tight‟ and sore when they attempt to accelerate.

Knee Such As: Cartilage and ligament damage.


The knees are involved in a lot (if not all) of the movements that a footballer is required to make. However they are also very susceptible to becoming injured because they are not the most well protected region of the body. The medial ligaments (on the inside of each knee) are one of the areas that are commonly damaged during football. A knee injury can occur by taking a direct hit on it; if the foot is planted at the same time as the blow then the leg has no „give‟ in it so the knee must absorb the force and as a result it bends in an unnatural manner. It is also possible to damage the knee when turning. If the studs of the boot become „stuck‟ in the ground and the player attempts to turn, the body will turn but the foot will not, this leads to the knee turning outside its natural range, thus causing damage.

Lower Leg Such As: Cramp, cuts (stud induced), strains and fractures and complete breaks. Due to the nature of soccer, the lower leg is one of the most commonly injured areas of the body. A mistimed challenge, continuous jumping and sprinting can all contribute to

in a competitive environment. Cramps are a result of a build up of lactic acid in the muscles that are common when an individual begins to fatigue.

Ankles Such As: Ligament and cartilage damage, as well as fractures and dislocations. The ankle is similar to the knee as it is involved in every movement undertaken by a footballer and also regarding the manner it can get injured by direct blows and turning.

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wounds arising. It is therefore imperative that player‟s wear shin pads whenever they are

However due to the location of the ankle it is a lot more susceptible to direct blows than the knee. An ankle can also be damaged by landing abnormally from a jump or twisted when running due to a poor pitch. So before playing ensure there are no dangerous potholes in the ground. Due to the amount of different ways the ankle can get hurt and the weakness of the joint, ankle injuries are a lot more regular than the other joint related injuries.



Such As: Fractures and cuts Injuries to the feet are most commonly caused by direct blows from opponent‟s feet, when tackling or looking to block a shot. However there has been a recent increase in the amount of injuries caused by the foot bending in an abnormal nature and damaging the bones in the feet (the metatarsals).

Youth Players Specific Osgood-Schlatters This condition is the result of performing too much kicking movements. This continuous motion places excessive stress on the region below the knee where the tendons of the quadriceps muscles connect to the tibia. It can be very painful for a youngster, and stop them from playing. Player‟s should be advised not to over-train or over-play.

Personal Responsibilities for Preventing Injuries It is impossible to avoid some form of injury in a contact sport such as soccer. However

arise it is possible to minimise the risk of them occurring.

Player‟s Responsibility Endurance If the player is not physically fit enough to perform the tasks placed upon them during a match or intensive training then they will become fatigued a lot quicker. The biggest

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if the coach and the player both take responsibilities for the types of injuries that can

performance impairing injury that is a result of fatigue is cramp. This occurs due to the build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Another problem with fatigue is that the player may adopt poor positions to compensate for their diminishing physical state. These poor positions can lead to the player having to recover by overstretching for the ball, which in turn could lead to an injury. A further problem associated with fatigue is that the player may become uncoordinated. Uncoordinated movements or actions could increase the possibility of injuries occurring.

Mobility and Flexibility


The mobility and flexibility of a joint or a muscle, respectively, are crucial to the prevention of injuries. A lack of such movement can result in injuries occurring when only the slightest stretch is required. The hamstrings and groins are very susceptible to strains as players will often stretch them too far when tackling, sliding for a ball or trying to control a pass. If a player can increase their flexibility then they will be able to lower the potential for such muscle damage to occur.

Personal Equipment The correct equipment should always be worn; including pads, gloves and the appropriate clothing. Player‟s should be reminded that any inappropriate items can lead to injuries for themselves and those around them. Items that are only required for the task they are undertaking, training and playing, should be worn. Any other „fashionable items‟ should be removed.

Recovery Period If a player is on the path to recovery from an injury then they should not seek to begin

before the injury is completely repaired, regardless how small, then they may re-injure the same region or experience a more severe one, both of which can result in a prolonged absence from playing.

Agonist and Antagonist Ratios It is natural that players will look to improve and strengthen parts of their bodies, either for performance or cosmetic reasons. When undertaking such a weight training regime

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playing again until it is completely healed. If they attempt to resume their activeness

they should be made aware of the agonist and antagonist ratios. Agonist and antagonist are opposing muscles that work together to complete movements, for example the quadriceps and hamstrings are opposing muscle groups that work together to walk, run etc. When the quadriceps are the agonist (the contracting muscle) the hamstrings are the antagonist (the lengthening muscle) and vice versa. If one muscle group is focused upon too much then they become significantly stronger than the other group, which places more stress on the weaker muscle group, increasing the chance of injury to them. Naturally one muscle group is stronger than the other, the ratio for quadriceps to


hamstrings is 60:40 (ratios change depending on muscle groups). A ratio greater than advised will lead to a muscle imbalance and heightened possibility of injury. So players should discover the ratios and ensure that their training workouts account for this.

Respect Recklessness in challenges is a quick way for injuries to occur. Such challenges can not only leave the receiving player injured but can also result in an injury to the tackler as well. Therefore such challenges should not be encouraged in matches and especially not training. Muscular Imbalance Player's may predominately use one leg more than the other. This means that the muscles within the under-used leg may become weaker than those in the other leg. To ensure that this does not occur player's should be encouraged to use both legs. Not only does this decrease the chance of muscular imbalance between legs, but also improve the player's ability to use both feet equally.

Equipment It is the coaches responsibility to ensure that all equipment is the correct size and in the correct condition for those who are using it. For example if players are playing with balls too big for them, insufficiently pumped up or ones with pieces of leather hanging from them then they may cause injuries. A generally overlooked but potentially hazardous

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Coaches Responsibility

piece of equipment is the basic cone (or space marker). The cones that are used should be collapsible so that if a player stands on them they will not damage their ankle.

Pitch The pitch the player‟s perform on may not seem like the coaches responsibility but instead the responsibility of the grounds man (or woman), however this is not the case. If the pitch is not safe to perform on the coach should cancel the session or seek to use other facilities. It is better to have one cancelled training session than to have one or more serious injuries as a result of continuing. Problems with the pitch can include;


divot holes, being completely or partly frozen, glass pieces or cut metals, pegs for goal nets sticking up or insecure goal frames.

Facilities The facilities used by a class, team or a club should not place anyone at any unnecessary risk. So they should be away from dangerous surroundings such as water hazards (ponds, lakes and rivers), roads and dangerous vegetation (forests, overgrown areas or harmful plants).

Education The coach should educate their player‟s on their personal responsibility to remain injury free.

Top Ten Tips from Top to Toe Injuries can be very frustrating for players, as their team mates and friends train and play while they are left to watch on. It becomes an even more frustrating time if the injury that

This article looks to highlight some of the preventable smaller injuries that players can experience due to their kit and accessories. 1. Headgear: No headgear should be worn during matches. With the following exceptions; religious reasons, by goalkeepers to keep sun out of their eyes or as a way to keep longer hair tied back. Any other form of headgear should not be permitted. Hair bands, Alice bands and sweat bands should be the correct size and

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is keeping them out is only a small one and one that could have been easily avoided.

not too tight, they should also not be so tightly applied that the hair is uncomfortably held in place. 2. Glasses: Glasses can be dangerous for the wearer and those in the close vicinity. If the ball is kicked into the face of the wearer then the glasses may break causing glass to end up in their eyes and face, as well as those around them. Contact lenses provide the perfect replacement for glasses. 3. Jewellery: Should be removed before playing and training. The majority of jewellery is worn for fashion reasons so can easily be removed. For those items that cannot be removed they should be taped. The reason behind this is not only


that the jewellery may become damaged but it may also cause injury to the wearer or challenging player if they become entwined. A watch can damage an opponents face if accidentally hit or if a ring gets unknowingly caught on the goal net, the finger can be seriously damaged if the player continues moving in the opposite direction. . Even earrings and other facial piercing‟s that are seen as „out of the way‟ can be caught by a stray hand or caught on an item of clothing and as a result be pulled through the skin. 4. Chewing Gum: Can be swallowed and cause choking so should be outlawed in all training and game situations. 5. Clothing: Should be appropriate to the weather and of the correct size. It is easier to take items off if the player becomes too hot than it is to try and find additional clothing to put on if they become too cold. Also clothing that is too tight may restrict blood flow, cause irritation or be painful. 6. Friction Burns: Not every player will have the luxury of playing on flat, grass covered and recently watered pitches week in week out so the chance of becoming injured due to the pitch increases. Friction burns are extremely painful and

common areas for friction burns are on the knees and on the outside of the hips and buttocks, as these are the areas that come into contact with the ground when sliding. These wounds can then be continually re-opened every game and are not allowed the sufficient time to heal. Cuts in such places can make everyday tasks such as kneeling, lying on one side or even wearing tighter clothing very unpleasant. To help reduce the chance of friction burns occurring players are encouraged to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the most affected

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extremely common during the dry months, when the ground is hard. The most

areas. This application then acts as a second skin and protects the real skin underneath. 7. Shin Pads: An essential necessity. They should be appropriately sized so that they provide adequate protection, and should be worn during training and matches. An additional note to shin pads is that they should not be red or black coloured. If they are and a serious injury occurs to the shin under the pad it is very difficult to determine whether or not the wound is bleeding. 8. Tape: many players nowadays apply tape to their socks to keep them up and keep their shin pads in place. Advice should be given to these players to ensure that the


tape is not too tight. If it is then it can become very uncomfortable and cause blisters or even cut the skin. 9. Socks: Wear socks that are free from holes and ensure the seam does not cause irritation within the boot, this will reduce the risk of painful blisters appearing on the feet. 10. Boots: The most crucial element as they can cause injuries such as blisters, corns and nail related problems. Boots should not be too big that the foot slides around inside them but not too tight that uncomfortable friction occurs between the foot and leather. Also ensure that the boots are correct for the surface being performed on. Wet conditions require studs while dry conditions require moulds or rubber soles. The wrong type can result in blisters and slipping. If wearing studs ensure all are the correct height. The studs under the heel are commonly longer than those at the front (for extra grip when turning and stopping) so make sure they are in the right positions. And finally, Allow a „breaking in period‟ for new footwear. They need time to stretch and adjust to the feet (unless they have been specially designed). The first time they are worn soak them in some water so the leather

wear for a prolonged time the first time, increase the duration they are worn for gradually. It is recommended that the first time new boots are worn is not during a match.


Getting the Right Boot

12. The football boot industry is a multi-million pound industry worldwide, and this is shown in the number of boots available. Some players will buy boots as a fashion accessory because they look good or because they promise to help

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softens, this will then allow it to stretch and shape itself around the foot. Do not

improve performance like no other boot around. But as a coach the primary factor when advising player‟s which boot to purchase should be that they are comfortable and that they offer the feet the correct level of protection. As it is not uncommon for player‟s to experience foot pain and injury due to their choice of footwear both on match days and during training sessions. This article will seek to help the coach educate player‟s on choosing the correct type of footwear for themselves and the conditions around them.


13. Correct Sole of Boot. There are certain areas of the feet that are pressure hot spots. This is because they are the areas that are most in contact with the ground and because they control all the major movements and manoeuvres. The locations of these hot spots are the big toe, the ball of foot and the heel. They also happen to be the regions where the studs are placed, this can increase the localised pressure even more. Therefore it is crucial that the boots worn are correct for the surface being performed on. Wet conditions require studs while dry conditions require moulds or rubber soles. The wrong type can result in blisters or slipping (which in turn could cause injury). When studs are worn on hard ground they are unable to penetrate the surface. This means the body weight and downward force is spread out over a smaller surface area as the sole of the boot is never in contact with the ground; the result is that more pressure is placed on the soles of the feet and, in particular, the pressure hot spots. Moulded footwear has a greater number of smaller „studs‟, so the surface area is increased and as a result the pressure on the soles, and the hot spots, are reduced. If wearing studs ensure all are of the correct height. The studs

turning and stopping) so make sure all the studs are in the right positions. 14. During the drier months some of the longer duration training sessions could Incorporate Trainers. This should only occur during the fitness element, if carried into the ball work then the body will become used to having a cushioned and higher heel, something that is not provided in flat football boots. They also do not provide the same stability and grip when performing turning movements, so the players may adopt a different turning technique or run slower to

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under the heel are commonly longer than those at the front (for extra grip when

accommodate for this. A change that if allowed to become permanent may affect their all round game. 15. Comfortable Fit. This is purely an own preference matter. Some wear a size smaller than they would normally as the boot moulds, stretches and shapes around the foot. This then provides the wearer with a better feel for the ball. Other players may decide to wear two or three pairs of socks underneath so may even require a size bigger. There is also the problem of finding a boot that allows for the correct foot width so that the foot is not overhanging the sole (a


situation that can become very painful). The boot should fit snugly at the heel and the toes, it should also not cause any discomfort when worn. 16. One piece of useful advice for the player is to wear the same footwear (socks, ankle padding and strapping) when buying boots as they would do when they were playing or training. This ensures that the correct size of boot is purchased and that they are a proper fit. The player‟s should also allow for a „breaking in period‟ for any new footwear. They need time to stretch and adjust to the feet (unless specially designed). The first time they are worn soak them in some warm water so the leather softens, this will then allow it to stretch and shape itself around the foot. Do not wear for a prolonged time the first time, gradually increase. It is recommended that the first time new boots are worn it is not during a match. 17. Some individuals do not clean their boots so the mud dries and hardens, this then does not allow for stretching to occur when they are worn again. So, if the boot is covered in hard mud moisten them before wearing. Otherwise the lack of stretch will lead to more friction and increase the risk of blisters. By cleaning

18. Insert Insoles. Insoles can be used to increase the comfort and mobility in the boot. Some of the insoles boots are supplied with are rigid and do not allow a great deal of movement, so if they are replaced by softer ones the range of movement can be increased. However ensure that the studs can not be „felt‟ through the insole, if this occurs then the potential for localised pressure increases. 19. Main elements when choosing boots is to ensure the sole is correct to the

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and polishing the boots regularly the leather is kept soft.

surface and weather conditions and that the boot is a comfortable fit.

Five Top Tips for Ensuring the Footwear Fits Comfortably Comfortable footwear is crucial to a player regardless what standard they perform at. To ensure the footwear chosen is appropriate follow the 5 golden rules outlined below. 1. An obvious one but commonly missed; ensure that all footwear is the correct size. If you wear two pairs of socks when playing matches, wear two pairs when trying


on boot in the shop. If feet are still growing enquire about half sizes and allow that little extra space for the foot to grow into. 2. Outstretch the tongue fully and ensure the laces are tightly fastened. If the tongue is not fully out of the boot it can cause friction between laces and foot, which in turn will lead to blisters. If laces are not fully fastened then the boot can slip around, which means it is not supporting and protecting the foot as much as it should. Also the movement of the boot may lead to increased friction and as a result blisters. 3. Ensure the boots are correct for the surface being performed on. Wet conditions require studs while dry conditions require moulds or rubber soles. The wrong type can result to blisters or slipping. If wearing studs ensure all are of the correct height. The studs under the heel are commonly longer than those at the front (for extra grip when turning and stopping) so make sure they are in the right positions. 4. Do not stand on the heels of the boots. By doing this the material is forced to bend. When it bends it moves closer to the heel. Increasing the amount of friction, which can result in those annoying blisters on the heels, which stay for ages

the top layer of the blister. 5. Allow a „breaking in period‟ for new footwear. They need time to stretch and adjust to the feet (unless they have been specially designed). The first time they are worn soak them in some water so the leather softens, this will then allow it to stretch and shape itself around the foot. Do not wear for a prolonged period of time the first time, instead increase the duration they are worn for gradually. It is recommended that the first time new boots are worn is not during a match.

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because each piece of footwear (with a heel or strap) worn from then on removes

Foot Care Such is the nature of this sport, that there is one simple truth; if the feet are not looked after then the performance will suffer. Yet simple and easy-to-follow advice is frequently ignored or deemed meaningless, an attitude that has lead to many unwanted and troublesome infections or injuries. As with many forms of injury and illness the most appropriate form of cure is prevention. This article will look to discover the most familiar and widespread foot problems and suggest prevention measures that can be employed, so that players do not fall victim to them.


Blisters Blisters form when the feet get hot and sweaty, they then rub against the sock and the footwear. When this happens the outer layers of the skin become separated from each others and fluid then fills up the space created. The pale or transparent liquid is called serous fluid, but if the fluid is red or reddish coloured then this is blood and means that the capillaries near the surface have become damaged. The blood filled blisters are more serious and may require medical attention. If the rubbing then continues after the fluid enters the space then this may lead to the blister popping. When the blister pops a break in the skin is consequence, which in turn can lead to an infection.

Prevention 

Wear appropriate footwear. Footwear should not be too small or too big.

To reduce the amount of friction, ensure the sock is fully pulled up out of the boot or trainer. If it is not it can bunch and increase irritation.

New footwear should not be worn for a long duration straight away. Allow time for

time. 

Moisten hard boots before wearing. Some individuals do not clean their boots so the mud dries and hardens, this then does not allow for stretching to occur when they are worn again. This lack of stretch will then lead to more friction and increase the risk of blisters. By cleaning and polishing the boots the leather is kept soft.

Wear socks that are free from holes and ensure the seam does not cause irritation

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it to mould to the foot and stretch as required before wearing it for any prolonged

within the boot. 

Use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or other similar products to act as second skin in susceptible areas. These products can be applied to the foot, sock and boot as required. However do not leave on skin for a prolonged time, as they are water based products they can cause wrinkling and softening the skin. This can then actually lead to the size of the blister being increased.



If blister is already popped, cover it with a plaster so it cannot become infected. It will soon dry out and the pain will subside. Cotton wool and petroleum jelly can be applied to sensitive area if still sore when training or playing.

If the blister has not popped then do not pop it. Cut a hole out of some cotton foam (same size as blister) and stick it over the blister.

Athletes Foot Athletes foot is a fungus infection that commonly occurs between the toes, but can also spread to other parts of the foot as well as the hands and face. The fungus enters through breaks in the skin and can cause a burning, stinging or itchy sensation. The reason it is so common between the toes is due to the fungus thriving in warm, moist areas and due to the amount of time the feet are kept „locked up‟ in socks, shoes, trainers and boots they can become the ideal locations for the fungus to grow. It is more likely to affect those individuals who have sweaty feet (like athletes) hence where the name originated from. It spreads quickest in communal areas where bare skin can come

pools. Prevention 

Due to where it is most commonly caught always wear flip-flops or sandals when in the changing room or showers.

If you have athletes foot always wear flip-flops or sandals so that it is not passed onto anyone else.

If any area is contaminated, clean thoroughly and adequately warn all users of the

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in contact with contaminated regions, such as changing rooms, showers and swimming

problem. 

Try not to share towels or footwear with other individuals. Even if they do not have the infection they may have the fungus, this can then enter the skin through any breaks.

Change socks and clean footwear regularly. If an infected foot has come into contact with socks or shoes ensure they are thoroughly cleaned before wearing again.


Thoroughly dry the most susceptible areas of the body after washing, then apply a powder (such as talc) to dry the skin.

Wear footwear that allows the feet to breathe. Such as sandals and flip-flops, but there are also many trainers that have been designed to allow air to circulate around the toes and keep that area cooler and drier.

Treatment 

Do not scratch or pick at it. Although that course of action may make it feel better it will not help cure it, instead it will just spread the infection to the hands (and then anywhere the hands touch).

There are products specially designed to treat the infection (such as Daktarin). Ensure treatment is carried out for the duration recommended by the Pharmacist or Doctor.

Diabetic individuals who suffer from this should not attempt to treat it themselves instead seek medical advice. * Cotton socks can be worn to absorb any excess

Change socks regularly.

Corns Corns are hard, thick skin that can appear on the toes or bottom of the foot. They are caused through localised pressure and can become very painful. There are two types of corns; Hard – they have hard central „roots‟ and are found on the outer areas of the foot. Soft – are often found between the toes, they are soft due to the moisture. Corns can

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originate from tight footwear, the rubbing of tight sock seams against the skin, deformed toes or abnormal walking.

Prevention 

Do not wear footwear that is too tight.

Position sock seams in an area where no irritation is caused.



Do not pick at the corn. This will only increase its sensitivity and lead to a greater level of pain.

Do not use corn plasters as this can lead to the healthy skin around the corn becoming damaged.

Apply a foot cream designed for cracked skin to the affected area, this may reduce pain.

Seek medical advice.

Verruca Verruca‟s are a virus which is ever present in the environment, but it very rarely attacks the skin, unless it is allowed to enter through a crack or break in the skin. For that reason they are commonly found on the bottom of the foot, although they can spread to other parts of the body, including the hands.. They are small (approximately 1 cm) and are usually white in appearance (some have noticeable black dots, these are blood vessels that feed verruca). They can also be a single wart or a number of smaller ones that

and as a result do not go as deep into the skin. Although irritating and unsightly, verruca‟s are generally only painful when direct pressure is applied to them or when they are being squeezed.

Prevention 

As with athletes foot they are most commonly spread in changing rooms, swimming pools or shower areas, so; Always wear flip-flops or sandals when in the changing room or showers.

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surround a larger central one. Verruca‟s are similar to corns but they are more superficial

If you have athletes foot always wear flip-flops or sandals so that it is not passed onto anyone else. * If any area is contaminated, clean thoroughly and adequately warn all users of the problem.

Try not to share towels or footwear with other individuals. Even if they do not have the infection they may have the fungus, this can then enter the skin through any breaks.



Over the counter products can be purchased to aid the healing process. Only apply to affected area.

Keep covered at all times. Not only does this stop spreading to other individuals but also stops spreading around the foot and body.

Do not scratch or pick at it. Although that course of action may make it feel better it will not help cure it, instead it will just spread the infection to the hands (and then anywhere the hands touch).


The ankle (or talocrural) joint is comprised of 3 bones; the tibula, fibula and talus. The talus bone moves smoothly across the tibula. The fibula (on the outside) keeps the ankle in place. There is also a bump in the tibula which prevents the ankle moving inwards. The stability of the ankle is based around the ability for these 3 bones to remain in place, and the strong ligaments that surround the joint.

The ankle is a Synovial hinge joint so it can only move in 2 ways; dorsiflexion

Injuries in Soccer

Sprained ligaments. This occurs when excessive force is placed on the joint and it moves outside its natural range of movement. These injuries can occur through a challenge, a boot getting caught in the ground when turning or ball landing on it. The most commonly damaged ligament is the lateral one (on the outside of the ankle). Although the medial ligament can also be damaged in some more severe cases. By strengthening and improving the flexibility in the ankle the chance of sprains is reduced.

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(pointing toes upwards) and plantar flexion (pointing toes downwards).

Dislocated ankle. Nowhere near as common as sprains but they can still occur. A dislocation is caused by a strong, external force forcing the bone ….

Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Stand on one foot holding onto something, repeat other side. Stand on one foot holding onto nothing, repeat other side. Stand on one foot holding onto something with eyes closed, repeat on other side.


Stand on one foot holding onto nothing with eyes closed, repeat on other side. Gradually increasing the time. 


Stand on one foot on a stability ball holding onto something, repeat on other side. Stand on one foot on a stability ball holding onto nothing, repeat on other side. Stand on one foot on a stability ball holding onto something with eyes closed, repeat on other side. Stand on one foot on a stability ball holding onto nothing with eyes closed, repeat on other side.

In addition;

Do not just run on flat roads or pitches. Run on wet, uneven ground (not too uneven) that way the foot twists unnaturally and the ankle has to stabilise it, thus strengthening it. That way, when it twists during a game it is flexible and strong enough to cope.

The nails are integral parts of the feet. If they are infected or poorly looked after then that will result in the foot itself becoming tender or sore when inside a boot. Some player‟s may have experienced losing a nail. This can be a very painful time as the new one grows back, a process that can take up to 4 months. Therefore the upkeep of the nails is a crucial element of a footballers daily routine. Some conditions can be prevented (or at least the potential for them to occur reduced) while others need to be spotted early enough to be treated.

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Toe Nail Care

Fungus Nail Fungus nail is a very unpleasant condition that is caused by Dermatophytes that grow within the nail bed (top part of the nail at the end of the toe). If left untreated the condition can move down the nail to the root and even onto the other toes. The fungi feed on the protein of the nail and cause it to turn white or yellow. In the later stages the nail can become brittle and deformed, it can also produce an unpleasant smell. Although fungus nail does not really hurt it can cause discomfort when the nail rubs against footwear.


Prevention There are no real prevention techniques that can be employed, although like most fungi, Dermatophytes require a warm, moist area to grow, so wear cotton socks to absorb the excess sweat. The individual should be aware of the symptoms so they can seek treatment as soon as the condition arises.

Symptoms 

Discoloration of the nail. Yellow or white blotches appear. There may also be yellow streaks going across the nail.

The nail may become brittle and break.

Treatment Seek medical advice. They can suggest the appropriate cream, spray or medication that should be used depending on the severity of the case.

An ingrown nail can be the result of wearing footwear that is too tight, poor nail cutting or an external force acting on the nail. It can be very painful as the nail (or a splinter of it) grows into the nail bed, this in turn can lead to swelling and a discharge of pus (or watery fluid) which then increases the amount of discomfort and pain. This condition will not cure itself so it is advised that medical attention is gained.

Prevention 

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Ingrown Toe Nail

Cut nails straight and not too short. If cut too short then the nail has the chance to grow into the bed.

Avoid very tight footwear.

Treatment 

Soak feet in warm salt water for 15 minutes a day.

Seek medical assistance.


Other Nail Problems Other issues such as infections, abnormally growing bones under the nails (Subungual Extosois) and bleeding under the nail (Subungual Haematoma) should be referred for medical observation. DO NOT try and cure any of these yourself. People have been known to try and drill through their own nails to relieve the pressure placed on the nail, by releasing the blood underneath – DO NOT DO THIS. It is highly dangerous and can lead to a lot more serious health implications. Seek medical assistance

Hamstrings Due to the nature of soccer it is very common for players to suffer from hamstring related injuries. These injuries can occur through collisions with other players, running or over stretching, and can significantly impede or end performance or participation.

Anatomy The hamstrings are situated on the back of the thigh. They are actually comprised of

three originate from just under the Gluteus Maximus, where they are attached to the pelvis. They then run down the back of the femur, and attach to the inside or (in the case of the Biceps Femoris to the) outside of the knee.

Functions and Roles Due to the placement of their attachments the hamstrings are responsible for movements across two joints. The main anatomical roles include moving the hip backwards and

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three different muscles; the Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus. All

bending the knee. They are also employed when the body is performing movements that require the knee to turn inwards and outwards. Another anatomical role of the hamstrings is to protect the sciatic nerve, which is the main nerve that runs down the entire length of the leg (it is also the longest single nerve in the body).In addition to the anatomical roles the group of muscles play, the hamstrings also unite with other muscles to perform some movements that would otherwise be impossible without their contribution, all of which are crucial to a footballer. The hamstrings help perform all walking, running, turning movements while also helping to control the speed of the legs when moving.


Football Specific There are some clearly obvious roles that the hamstrings play for the modern day footballer. A player can have flawless technical ability but if they are unable to perform any of the basic movements such as running, turning or jumping then they will never be able to compete at any standard. However there may be some less obvious roles that the hamstrings complete. When striking the ball the hamstring is required to pull the foot upwards (bend the knee) however it continues to work when the foot is moving towards the ball, as it works eccentrically (still working as it is lengthened) to slow the leg down and prevent the knee from hyperextending. It is however very difficult to assume how much stress and strain the hamstrings will be placed under during a match situation. This is because a number of factors will contribute to this, depending on the player‟s involvement, position and biomechanical composition. As those who are required to accelerate and decelerate, strike the ball or stretch more often are more at risk from hamstring injuries. The risk of injury can also

Injuries It is relatively simple to analyse injuries to the hamstrings, this is because all injuries can be classified into either strains or tears (rupture). Strains are the result of a number of damaged fibres within the muscle. The pain felt, the amount of discoloration and the ability to continue to actively use the hamstring will all depend on the number of broken fibres. A complete rupture occurs when the muscle is completely torn. There will be a lot of discoloration, immense pain and the hamstring will

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increase if the individual does not have much flexibility within the region.

be unusable. Although complete ruptures are rare they do occur. High hamstring tendinopathy is a condition that normally affects athletes that compete in middle to long distance events. However it can also affect footballers as many train over such distances to improve and maintain their fitness levels. High hamstring tendiopathy is a sprain brought on by overuse, it causes pain in the buttock and high in the hamstring, and is due to the hamstring contracting eccentrically during running to prevent hyperextension of the knee. It is most painful when aiming to accelerate as the hamstrings are required to work harder.


Hamstring injuries can also occur if there is an imbalance between them and the quadriceps (the four muscles on the front of the thigh). If the quadriceps are over trained or perform continuous repetitive movements (such as striking a ball) then they may become significantly stronger than the hamstrings. A quadriceps: hamstring ratio of 60:40 is suggested, as at this ratio no imbalances (which can place the hamstrings under greater and undue stress) occur during the running cycle.

Treatment When a strain occurs, regardless how small, the worse thing a player can do is continue playing or training. This will only lead to the strain developing into a more serious injury. The correct course of action would be to rest, ice the sore area, keep it compressed and ensure that it is elevated; this procedure is known as „RICE‟. The player should then rest the injured hamstring until it is completely healed. If they attempt to train or play on it before it is ready then the injury could reoccur or a more serious one may develop. For more serious strains, that significantly hinder movement, then the player should be

Should a player experience a tear then they have no other option then to seek emergency medical aid. They will require pain killers, crutches and a rehabilitation program. High hamstring tendinopathy: This is a very difficult injury for the medically unqualified individual to diagnose. Therefore for an individual to know they are suffering from it they would have already seeked the guidance of a medical professional. They will then be able to provide the player with the appropriate treatment, guidance and rehabilitation program.

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advised to seek medical assistance and guidance.

Muscular imbalance: The only real treatment for injuries of this nature is rest. Once the muscles have fully recovered then steps can be taken to ensure is does not reoccur, by strengthening the weaker muscles up to the required level.

Prevention Although completely eliminating the possibility of hamstring injuries occurring is almost impossible there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of them occurring.The first precaution is to ensure that the muscles are adequately warmed up


before attempting any activity. If an elastic band is placed in the freezer and then taken out and stretched to its full length it snaps but if it is warmed up first then its elasticity increases allowing it to stretch, muscles work in a very similar manner. The greater the flexibility in the muscles the less chance they will strain or tear due to overstretching. A good degree of flexibility (along with correct pelvic alignment) will also reduce the chance of high hamstring tendinopathy occurring. Training both the quadriceps and hamstrings will remove the risk of muscle imbalance. If a player has spent hours striking a ball with power then they should spend a short time strengthening their hamstrings at the end of the session so that they have also had a workout.



Injury Rehabilitation physiotherapists on hand to help every injured player. The reality is that many will not even have one physio, so the coach is required to offer some sort of guidance and assistance is such a situation. This section looks to educate the coach on the most commonly occurring injuries in football. So that the coach is able to pass on the correct information to their players and have them fit and playing again as soon as possible. Neck & Head

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Not every team in the world will have an elite set-up with a team of dedicated

Arm & Shoulder Back & Torso Leg & Knee Ankle & Foot

Propriception Training - This is referred to throughout the pages within in this section, so use this introductory article to educate yourself what it is.


Introduction to the Layout of Rehabilitation Pages: Provides a detailed analysis of the pages contained within the injury rehabilitation pages.

Neck and Head

Although injuries to these regions of the body can be caused by an awkward fall the more recurring reason for such as injury is direct impact or trauma. The most common injuries to the neck and head are:

Stiff Neck

Detailed Analysis A stiff neck is a condition that many individuals can suffer due to the way it can occur. However for a player it can heavily burden their performance as they may suffer a reduced line of vision and ability to freely look around as desired. A stiff neck can be the

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Quick Diagnosis

result of an unconventional or uncomfortable night‟s sleep or the result of a sudden movement, as each can affect the muscles in the neck and cause them to strain or spasm. However in some cases the stiff neck can be the result of other problems so if it persists for a longer time frame than a few days it should be referred to the attention of a physiotherapist. The most common symptoms associated with a stiff neck are; 

Stiff neck

Neck pain


Restricted movement

As the head and neck are used constantly in daily activities there are very few people who can allow it a prolonged period of rest to allow it time to recover, however the following suggestions can be used to reduce pain and to ensure the individual does not suffer from it again in the future; 

Rule out more serious injuries first by consulting the appropriate medical professional

Neck pillow

Heat pack

Whiplash Quick Diagnosis

A common neck injury is whiplash. Which occurs when the soft tissue around the spine is stretched and strained due to a forceful blow from behind that jolts the neck. This can occur through a tackle or be the result of a push when the person is in the air. The symptoms that may be experienced if the player is suffering from whiplash include; 

Neck and shoulder pain / stiffness

May be a tingling or numbness down the arms and hands

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Detailed Analysis

The neck and spine are a very sensitive area, so any sort of rehabilitation should begin very light and should only commence when the pain has fully subsided and a medical professional has suggested it. Once this is the case the following can occur; 

May require neck collar

Soon as pain allows o

Neck flexion – Chin to chest back to eye level


Next extension – eyes to ceiling back to eye level



Rotation – Look to left, back to centre, look to right, back to centre


Side flexion – Tip of ear to the shoulder, return to centre then other side

Exercise frequency dependant on pain

Neck should gain more mobility after each time

If fails to improve contact a medical professional

Arm and Shoulder

Injuries to these parts of the body usually occur due to a

The most common arm and shoulder injuries are:

Broken Collar Bone

Colles Fracture

Scaphoid Fracture

Dislocated Elbow

Dislocated Shoulder

Broken Arm

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fall and an awkward landing.

Broken Collar Bone Quick Diagnosis

Detailed Analysis The collarbone is a long bone, which is found from the base of the neck to the shoulder, and a broken collarbone is a common injury among athletes, especially those who


participate in contact sports and those under 20 years of age (as the collarbone is not completely hardened until that age). The most common way for this injury to occur is through a fall; this is because the force of the fall (especially if the arm is outstretched) is transmitted from the elbow and shoulder to the collarbone. The symptoms for someone who may have a potential broken collar bone are: 

Extreme shoulder pain

Sagging shoulder (down and forward).

Inability to lift the arm because of pain.

A grinding sensation if an attempt is made to raise the arm.

Although a fragment of bone rarely breaks through the skin, it may push the skin into a ‟tent‟ formation (although not always present).

Possible bruising

Rehabilitation can occur the moment the pain subsides as it is crucial that movement in

Maintain movement at elbow, wrist and hand. Use a sponge ball to grip, bending elbow and wrist out and in.

Once able, active flexion, abduction, extension & rotation (pain dependant)

A simple arm sling can usually be used to immobilize the arm. A child may have to wear the sling for 3 to 4 weeks; an adult may have to wear it for 6 to 8 weeks.

Depending on the location of the break, your physician may apply a figure-of-eight strap to help maintain shoulder position.

A large bump will develop as part of the healing process. This usually disappears

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the entire arm is maintained. The following guidelines can be followed;

over time, but a small bump may remain. 

Return to sport after receiving doctors consent

Scaphoid Fracture Aka: Broken Wrist

Quick Diagnosis


Detailed Analysis The most commonly broken or fractured bone in the wrist is the scaphoid. It occurs when the individual lands on an outstretched hand. The symptoms of this kind of break are; 

Pain between thumb and wrist

Pain in wrist

Swelling (very rarely)

A suggested rehabilitation programme includes; 

Maintain movement in the shoulder, elbow, fingers and thumb. Aids preventing swelling and secondary stiffness

Attempt to strengthen wrist area by using putty, hand balls and hand strengtheners Wear a brace until fully functional again

Dislocated Shoulder Quick Diagnosis

Detailed Analysis The shoulder joint is your body's most mobile joint. It can turn in many directions, but

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this advantage also makes for a very large disadvantage, as it is also very easy to dislocate, especially after an awkward fall. There are two cases of dislocation; 1) A partial dislocation – this is where the top of the humerus (upper arm) bone is partially out of the socket. 2) The other type of dislocation is the complete dislocation – This is where the humerus comes completely out of the socket. Regardless which type of dislocation the player suffers they will experience pain and unsteadiness in the shoulder, and may even have spasms within the surrounding muscles.


If the individual is suffering from the following symptoms then that could signal a dislocated shoulder; 

Shoulder Pain

Loss of movement

Keeping arm protected, usually tight into chest

May require the assistance of a trained medical professional to pop it back into place and should not be attempted by a untrained individual. Rehab (if dislocating for the first time) Speed of progression dependant on severity: 

Under 40 3-4 weeks in a sling, Over 40 less time to remove possibility of stiffness

No overhead movement or sport for at least 6 weeks

Any exercises should be based around pain, do not damage healing fibres

Maintain movement at elbow, wrist and hand. Use a sponge ball to grip, bending elbow and wrist out and in. Raise arm 90° forwards and 60° sideways (up to ribs), range can be increased over next 2-4 weeks

Once out of sling o

Isometric contraction – pushing against wall


Weights and pulleys‟s can be implemented


Need a programme to strengthen all aspects of shoulder (adduction, abduction, flexion etc)

Colles Fracture

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Aka: Broken Wrist

Quick Diagnosis

Detailed Analysis


This type of break is not the most common type of broken wrist as this break occurs in the radius bone of the forearm, which is just above the wrist. It usually occurs through the individual falling on an outstretched hand. Once this injury occurs the symptoms are; 




A suggested rehabilitation programme includes; 

Maintain movement in the shoulder, elbow, fingers and thumb. Aids preventing swelling and secondary stiffness

Attempt to strengthen wrist area by using putty, hand balls and hand strengtheners

Wear a brace until fully functional again

Quick Diagnosis

Detailed Analysis A dislocation occurs when the joint surfaces become separated, and in the case of an elbow dislocation it can be a complete or partial. Such an injury usually occurs when the

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Dislocated Elbow

individual has suffered a direct blow to it, fallen on it or placed too much weight on it at an awkward angle. When the elbow becomes dislocated it is clearly deformed. Rehabilitation can begin once the pain allows it to but a full return to football should not be expected for at least six weeks. The main objectives of a rehabilitation programme are; 

Increase flexibility

Obtain pain-free range of motion


Strengthen the muscles in the arm

Even though the elbow may still be injured it is still possible to maintain CV fitness through cycling, and in some cases running (unless otherwise prescribed). Some ideas for the rehabilitation programme include; 

Wrist Flexor stretch

Wrist Extensor stretch

Pronation / Suppination stretch

Triceps stretch

Biceps stretch

Strengthening exercises

Wrist Extension

Arm Curls

Broken Arm

Detailed Analysis When an arm is broken or fractured that means that one of the bones in the arm have suffered a crack. A break can occur in the lower arm bones or the upper arm, but more commonly it is the lower arm. Where the break occurs is directly related to where the

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Quick Diagnosis

direct trauma was received or how the fall occurred. Most broken arms have these symptoms: 

A large amount of pain and increased pain when moving the arm


Maybe an obvious deformity compared to the other arm

Possible open wound either from the bone puncturing the skin or from the skin being cut during the injury


Decreased sensation or inability to move the limb, which may indicate nerve damage

Rehabilitation is greatly dependent on the type and area of the break, and may take from several weeks to several months to fully heal and allow a return to competition. Regardless the type and area of the break, the rehabilitation programme will still involve the same activities; 

Exercises to improve range of motion

Exercises to improve flexibility

Exercises to strengthen the muscles

Although back and torso injuries can occur they do not happen as injuries to other parts of the body. The most common back and torso injuries are:

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Back and Torso

Lower Back Pain Quick Diagnosis

Detailed Analysis Lower back pain can be uncomfortable and greatly impair daily activities, let alone performance. Therefore when it occurs it should be diagnosed immediately and treated


accordingly, as if it is allowed to persist the severity could increase and result in the player being sidelined for a long period. Pain felt in that region can usually occur due to; 

Fractures through direct trauma. There is often soft tissue injury associated with this kind of injury also.

A trapped nerve. Where pain normally radiates down a specific part of the leg.

Spinal canal stenosis Although this is more usually seen in older athletes.

The symptoms of lower back pain include; 

An aching pain that may be constant or come and go.

Pain may be on either side, both sides or in the middle. A common complaint is

There may be pain in the buttocks or hamstrings as well.

A reduced range of motion.

The 'slump test' may increase pain or show restricted movement.

Tenderness over the spinus processes.

Hypomobility (lower than normal mobility) in one or more of the intervertibral segments.

Muscle spasms in the lower back and buttocks.

The rehabilitation programme from an injury like this include; 

Reduce pain and inflammation through ice, NSAID's, electrotherapy and rest.

Restore full range of movement.

Increase flexibility and strength.

Return to full sports specific fitness.

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that the pain is in a band all the way across the lower back.

Herniated Disc Quick Diagnosis


Detailed Analysis When a player is diagnosed with a herniated disc they often experience back pain, leg pain or a weakness of the lower extremity muscles. This pain is because the cushion that is positioned between the spinal vertebra is pushed outside its normal position. This in itself would not be a problem if there were not spinal nerves so close to the intervertebral discs. The soft cushion of the intervertebral discs become more rigid and looses its elasticity with age and as a result it becomes more vulnerable to injury. An injury which can occur through repeated bending (especially in sporting situations) and lifting. The most common symptoms associated with a herniated disc are: 

Back pain, increased with sitting and bending

Back muscle spasm

Sciatica (pain, weakness, altered sensation in the buttocks, hamstrings, calf or foot)

Sudden and severe pain. Can be increased by bending or sitting for a long while,

Rehabilitation is not essential to be able to return to light day-to-day activities but is integral if the player wishes to continue participation within football. The rehabilitation programme must be overseen by a qualified person and can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months.

Home » Injuries » Injury Rehabilitation

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as well as coughing and sneezing. Changing positions may help

Leg and Knee


Due to the nature of football the legs and the knees, just ahead of the ankles and feet, are the most commonly injured parts of a players body.

Hamstring Strain

Gilmores Groin

Groin Strain

Thigh Strain

Calf Strain

Shin Splints

Osgood Schlatters

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

Torn Cartilage

Runners Knee

Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury

Medial Cruciate Ligament Injury

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The most common injuries to the leg and knee are:


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