Fitness training represents the improvement of the athletes’ abilities according to the needs of their sport. It primarily refers to motor attributes, abilities and skills important for top performance. Therefore, it is a controlled process, which serves to raise competitive abilities to a higher level.
Physical condition in football means fulfilling the standards of the psychosomatic states of football players, the functional state of the football player’s organism, where physical and motor abilities are developed. The task of fitness preparation of football players is to raise functional and motor abilities to optimal level. This is usually handled by a football fitness coach.
The Value of Fitness and its Role in Sports
Optimal physical fitness is a basic prerequisite for success in any sport, including football. The development of football in the tactical sense has led to the fact that fitness preparation is not just important, but an essential factor in any training. Today’s development of the football game is characterized by dynamic, fast playing tempo. This requires a high level of physical preparation, technical and tactical training as well as psychological stability from football players. Constantly increasing the training workload, in combination with constantly changing the pace during matches, requires continuous improvement of the players’ basic motor skills:
- Speed and Endurance
- Flexibility and Agility
- Balance and Movement Coordination
The role of a football fitness coach is to develop and maintain the required level of physical ability of players. Assessing the way each player functions and determining the emphasis in the development of his abilities are of extreme importance. Both for the physical development of the player and his success in the game.
Is a Football Fitness Coach an Essential Member of Staff?
The role of a football fitness coach in today’s football is indispensable. When we look at clubs all over the world, we see that every serious club has at least two fitness coaches in the first team, plus a few more in the junior categories. The requirements of the game itself are increasing and the need for a systematic plan and organization of the training process is obligatory today. Football players now have training sessions of high intensity and they have substantial energy expenditure doing training drills.
All of these factors should be analysed and training activities organized by a fitness trainer. Fitness, or optimal physical fitness in football, is a basic condition for every individual and team efforts with an objective to achieve success. Football fitness training has the basic task to raise and develop players’ motor skills to the maximum level possible (coordination, speed, strength, flexibility, endurance).
Although the development of physical abilities is most often talked about and written about, in senior age, especially during the competition period, the basic task and a big problem for a football fitness coach is how to keep the players at the achieved level of abilities. The emphasis in the work must be on these abilities. The fitness trainer must transfer to the players the knowledge about the basic principles of exercise, the methods of developing physical abilities, the principles of choosing exercises, methods and knowledge about the basic laws of the training process, the importance of rest and the effects of various means of recovery.
The Fitness Coach and The Players
He gains authority from the players, directs them and enables them to practice independently and creates from them associates who, thanks to the acquired knowledge, can give him valid information about the state of their body. A fitness trainer must apply a large set of tests to assess physical fitness. It is obvious that a football fitness coach cannot test everything, but he must choose tests that are sufficiently informative for him to assess the state of the football player’s physical abilities.
In modern sports, including football, the planning and management process of competitions and training sessions is extremely complex. Apart from the head coach, the team of experts consists of an assistant coach, a doctor, a physiotherapist and a fitness trainer. In some cases, a nutritionist and a psychologist as well. As a rule, fitness trainers are professors of physical culture. They have the power and skills to apply that knowledge in practice.
Importance of Cooperation with Staff Members
The cooperation of the head and football fitness coach is essential for the creation of an optimal training process. The training plan should include training goals on a weekly and monthly basis, with projected development for a longer period. Quality communication is essential between fitness and head coach. Being that the head coach has an influence on the work of fitness, and vice versa, of course. They need to share their vision regarding the game itself, training advancement and tasks. It is desirable that they complement and advise each other, each in his own expertise.
The fitness part of the training includes the entire training, not just one part of it. If we look from the physiological aspect of sessions, every exercise, requires a certain body movement. That is, running, jumping, hitting the ball, tackles, etc. That is why the head coach, together with the fitness coach, should make a plan for the whole training. After designing daily drills, they should then make a three-day micro-cycle, and then a weekly training cycle.
A crucial part of their joint effort is to observe the influence of these sessions. Then build a report of every section of training, not just physical preparation with the ball, but also without it. Here it is essential for both head and fitness coach to reach an agreement regarding the players’ development. It is much easier to fulfil projected goals if they have a similar work style.
Who can be a Football Fitness Coach?
The role of the fitness trainer has gradually changed over time. A fitness trainer nowadays must fulfil three essential conditions, them being that he must:
- Have extensive knowledge of anthropometrics. These measurements represent a series of body proportions such as muscles, bones, and adipose tissues, in order to assess the composition of the human body. They allow you to know how the natural development of abilities flows and what determines them, how physical abilities are developed and maintained in training at a certain level (methods, means and loads for their development and maintenance), what is the interconnection of different abilities and much more.
- Know the basics of football, motor and functional requirements, the specifics of movement with and without the ball. Such as running, jumping, stopping, turns, changes of direction, etc.
- Know the regularities of periodization of sports training (structure of individual training, training micro cycles of different types, characteristics of the introductory exercises, competitive and transitional period, regularities of acquiring and maintaining sports form, etc.).
Only if he meets all three of the above conditions, it is guaranteed that a football fitness coach is successful at their assignments and of use to the head coach and the rest of the staff team.
If someone wants to become a fitness trainer and enjoys this role, then his/her motive should be sports success, he/she should exercise often, read fitness books and hang out with other fitness trainers. Books and talking to other coaches will help but work experience is invaluable. A young fitness trainer should not be afraid of mistakes, as they are the way to get experience and learn. He/she should be open and try to analyse every time what was done in training and how it may be improved. Communication skills are very important. The relationship with the players and other members of the professional staff is very important.
A serious fitness trainer is an enthusiast in his field. Learning as a process has a beginning, but no end. The job of a fitness trainer implies constant improvement. The coach’s job is extremely complex – it takes a 24-hour commitment to the sport to acquire the necessary skills. It is important for the coach to be a competent psychologist and a charismatic person. There is a simple rule – communication with players should be open and clear. It is a big challenge to make workouts fun and inventive. If the players have fun, they will train more intensively. This in turn will speed up their progress. As a result, they will consequently be at the top level when it is most needed.
The job of a coach is neither simple nor easy, but if the love of sports is the primary driving force, as is the case with all top athletes, then everything becomes a challenge that you are happy to meet.