Pre-season isn’t just about getting your team fit in time for the season, but about working towards your sides end goal from the very beginning.
But of course, the off-season is a very long time, and for many teams this year, will have been one of the longest periods off the pitch they’ve ever experienced, so a decrease in fitness levels is expected.
So, fitness MUST play an essential role in your pre-season plan.
But fitness levels being lower than usual does not equate to extra-hard fitness training, as this could be dangerous and hindering to many of your athletes rather than beneficial.
When you increase training volume and intensity too quickly and create a spike this can greatly increase the risk of injury. To avoid this you should adopt the term ‘Progressive overload’ which is covered in the MiMentor preseason guide.
Progressive overload means to increase volume and intensity in a progressive manner and will not only reduce the risk of injury and games missed by your players but also will result in a more stable level of fitness as the season progresses.
Progressive Overload is one of the four key principles that should be at the heart of your pre-season plan.
An area of fitness that can often need the spotlight shone upon it during preseason is speed training.
It is likely that during the off-season, the player will have completed little training at high running speeds, so in the first few weeks of preseason you want to ease your players in. So, by building this in a progressive manner in the first few weeks, we can minimise the risk associated with sudden increases in high intensity work.
You can do this through maximal running speed (MAS) drills where the focus is on developing extensive endurance but will also expose the player to higher running speeds in a controlled and safe manner.
The above image shows an example of a MAS drill which is a great starting block for developing progressive fitness in your players. There are of course variations with when you can apply this drill (e.g. at the end of a conditioning warm-up) but also with how to progress the drill to continue to challenge your players (e.g. reduce the rest periods).
For information on not just how to get your players into tip-top condition, but a complete guide on creating an integrated pre-season training programme, then head to the MiMentor Portal and download the FREE Pre-Season PDF to help coaches set up right for pre-season!