Heart Wings World Academy – Live Blog
As I mentioned at the start of our season 2015 is a crucial year for our youth team. The Intensity of our training sessions increased, and concentration and focus on the strength of each individual is our goal for this year. The boys are turning 16 during this year and I believe this is the age where we can start to build up they physical strength more intensively than ever before. The
Last two months Heart Wings Youth players (age of 15) experienced a block of strength & conditioning work outs. The ball played an important role as always, but focus was purely on strength.
Every Tuesday night we repetitively used my favourite spot for conditioning session St Kilda Sea Baths. We start with a 2.5 km jog to Elwood beach and finish our warm up with dynamic stretching. Usually I’m handling the warm up and the intensity of it by myself as during this period when the muscle is under permanent pressure you need focus on stretching (dynamic & static) much more than usual. Communication with all players is important, they must feel and understand the feelings of their body before, during and after session. Education of the team a especially in youth football is crucial.
After a dynamic warm up, we start Athletic exercise for coordination and running technique. I repeat this usually once, twice per week with this age group. Individual times of approximately 2-3 min after athletic exercise is used for stretching the top of the body a specifically back & abs. This is followed by individual stretching needs of each player. The necessary and consistent question I put forth to them is; “Do You need more time or you feel ready to go?” No one knows their body better than them so I constantly ask! It can prevent injuries and you can avoid losing one of your best players for months.
Hills training is next. It is a very sensitive part of my strength plan. If you are not experienced with it (and I mean professional experience) please do not use it! It took me a year of preparation for all of my players before I started using this type of tool. If you’re thinking of using it for players younger than 15 please don’t do it. In my opinion its much too early and you can damage their muscles & joint tissues as their body is not fully developed yet for this intense exercise.
Questions for every coach who is wanting to use hills as a preparation for the upcoming season is; what are you looking for? Is it to improve speed!? Is it to improve strength? Is it to improve starting speed (first 2 meters)? These are the most important things to know before you even start thinking of utilising it.
Each and every goal such as speed, power and strength is requires different degrees of hill running and also different lengths of running. With an incorrect mix up of these, you are not able to achieve the required result.
After Hill exercises are completed, we then undergo a 2.5km jog of 50-60% of the player’s maximum intensity. Keep in mind, every player is on different fitness levels and possess different abilities to run so they shouldn’t finish all together in one group, if they do, you have to explain them what is required.
Swimming & underwater strength exercises
This is my favourite part as I developed this unique block of exercises after years of research, studies and personal experience. I got a bit of an idea from my childhood experiences as in my 10-13 years of age we used swimming as strength in my Academy minimum once per week. So this was a seed in my thoughts about a gentle way in how to get stronger and build muscle balance between the top of the body, abdominal muscles and legs in youth and sub youth player development. NBA players are also using similar methods nowadays.
The boys start with a block of underwater exercises with each exercise utilising water resistance and concentrating on special parts of muscle combinations. Players start with Chest (pectorals), shoulders combination (deltoids), top and mid of the back (trapezius), Abdominals muscle, biceps & triceps.
These are muscle combinations which players are not using that much during training sessions on the field but it’s necessary to keep the body (strength of body) in balance. If you want to start increasing your intensity during training session on the field, using high hurdles for vertical lift or Hills for strength and starting speed, you have to develop balance and strength in different parts of body first. If one part of body is stronger than another, muscle injury is likely to occur.
After 15 minutes of strength exercises I change the exercises, now focusing on explosive strength. This is vital as personally I believe explosion is the most important fitness aspect in scouting for senior football. (Quick change direction, starting speed & acceleration, vertical jumping ability)
Swimming – shorts sprints 25m
Options – using only top of the body,
– full body