Why is the warmup and cooldown so important?
The warm-up prepares the body for exercise and should be tailored for the specific exercise that will be undertaken. For football, both general and specific exercises should be performed.
The warm up may include:
- General exercise jogging or cycling for 5-10 minutes to warm the muscles and enhance circulation in preparation for stretching
- Low level resistance exercises to ‘wake up’ important core stabilising muscles which will help support the back, hips and legs during training.
- Once the muscles are well warmed up, more vigorous dynamic stretches can be performed carefully under supervision of the coach so as to avoid injury.
The cool down is important to safely restore the body back to its resting state. This may include include general exercises such as light jogging or cycling and static stretching strethching to help prevent post exercise muscle stiffness and soreness.
Why is strength conditioning important to prevent injuries and optimise performance?
Strength and conditioning (S&C) physically prepares the body for the demands of the sport. It includes all forms of resistance/strength work and also agility, endurance, speed and flexibility training.It can also help prevent injuries.
Specific exercises should be related to football and will primarily focus on the lower body such as running drills, lower limb strength and balance work. A good example is the FIFA 11+ exercise programme. These exercises should ideally be done in the gym at a under supervision of a certified trainer or chartered physiotherapist initially and then at home once safe and effective technique has been taught. These S&C exercises are used as essential ‘background’ training to prevent injury and improve sports performance.