Performance in football depends among others on the ability to react fast, take fast steps, be quick in the first 5 m, and make fast movements in changing directions. All this happens in an unpredictable way for a period of at least 90min. Thus football players need to undertake strength, power, balance, speed, agility and endurance training. This makes conditioning planning a complex process.
Today, I would like to comment only on the speed, agility, quickness training. This is the so called SAQ training method. Unfortunately, there are no many scientific studies on SAQ method in elite football players. One of them is that recently published by Jovanovic and colleagues (2011). In this study, high level junior players were divided into two groups: the control group that did regular training Monday to Friday and one game each Saturday and the experimental group. Players in this group supplemented their regular training with 3 SAQ training sessions a week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday morning for 90-120min each).
- 2,1% improvement in 5m time (Quickness)
- 3,7% improvement in 10m run (acceleration)
- 1% improvement in counter-movement jump (power)
No improvement in these fitness parameters were seen in the control group.
1) SAQ training is effective in improving fitness in high-level players.
2) To improve these factors coaches should plan SAQ training at least 3 times per week for 90-120 min each session.
3) The improvement with SAQ training seems to be due to adaptations taking place in the central nervous system and the muscle itself.