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The Boot Room


Issue 09 April 2014


PHYSICAL ASPECTS


Work Ethic – one of the most important factors in the physical development of the squad has been the ability of individual players to implement and stick to rigorous training regimes. As amateur players this has required considerable dedication of time and eff ort to go away from training camps and take responsibility for the correct nutrition, hydration, training and rest and recovery to arrive in peak physical condition. Indeed a phrase commonly coined by the squad is “the only place winning comes before work is in the dictionary.”


Tournament Fit – the ability to play six international games in six days (and in the case of Japan seven in nine days) without a loss of intensity was essential. In tournament play games use a ‘stopping clock’ format which means games can often run in excess of 80 minutes and so physical and mental stamina are essential.


Physical fi tness – the squad has worked very hard on aerobic fi tness following specifi c fi tness programmes with regular testing to ensure individual progression – we used the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test as it gave a balance of ease of use for fi eld testing with the squad and a specifi city that more closely matched to the demands of


the game – endurance fi tness also provided us with more tactical options, with the confi dence to know that players would be able to cope with half court and full court presses for as long as the situation required - it also meant that substitutions became more about tactical play than the need to swap players due to fatigue. In addition, explosive speed has been a focus. Research shows that the most common element of high intensity work within the game are maximal sprints lasting fi ve-eight seconds and there is no better way to develop this than the specifi city of a game, but the players spent considerable time in the gym completing power development routines as part of their individual programmes. Gym programmes designed to increase strength in contact and the ability to hold players off in Futsal and be strong in the tackle can be achieved largely by the neurological development of muscles through training rather than causing unnecessary growth of muscle size. This was balanced with technical drills, core stability, strength and power sessions to enhance player balance and coordination.


Recovery rates – we demanded a professional work eff ort to recovery, particularly rehydration and glycogen replacement (eating and drinking the right things at the right times) along with clear recovery strategies based around ice baths, contrast bathing and pool sessions (subject to individual preferences) allowing players to have confi dence in their ability to recover – also the value of enough sleep should never be underestimated.


Medical fi tness – importantly we underpinned our entire fi tness programme with medical knowledge and expertise – our view is that those players who were also medically fi t were more likely to last the rigours of consecutive day competitive games. We managed to go into our fi nal game with all of the players fully fi t and in great shape.


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