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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BACK TO THE BASICS

We are living in an era of “accelerated knowledge”. We receive new, excited information that promises to make our professional life better. Have you heard about the “magic” water, the legal substances that “can boost performance”, the new training methods that will maximize training adaptations?
Much of this information lacks scientific support. The fact that something is perceived as good by a player or a coach does not mean that it can improve performance for all. Have you heard about the placebo effect? If you think that a substance or a strategy will improve performance it may actually do so without any biological effect. More importantly, it may not work the second time!
 Looking and hearing about all these I am wondering: Do we miss the basics?

Basics in training
The principles of training are:
-Specificity: In order to maximize the benefits, especially at high level, players should train with methods, exercises and speed of execution specific to their positional needs. For instance, sprint types and training structure should be planned based on match analysis (distances, intervals etc).
-progressive overload: To ensure long-term improvement training should be hard enough to stimulate adaptations but light enough to avoid over-training. Training plans should also incorporate resting periods/days to maximize adaptations (Figure 1).




Figure 1. The overload principle (source: roadcycling.uk.com)


-Reversibility or detraining: without suitable training players will lose the fitness gains.
-Individual response: To maximize performance training must be based on individual player’s needs. I would suggest a more individual approach to training planning. No matter what method you use, modern or conventional, if you ignore player’s needs you miss the point.

Think and design based on player needs
This is my conclusion so far. To maximize the benefits one must use the method, means and techniques that fit the specific situation (club, players etc). In my professional life I am always looking for scientifically proved information and try to think in a simple and clear way. This does not mean a simplistic way!
To my belief we should not forget the obvious. Sometimes the solution to the problem is in front of us but we are not able to see it. Why? Because we might spend a lot of our time looking for new, more and more attractive information. We spend our time searching and not thinking!

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