Fitness, Science

UOIT Ridgeback’s Women’s Soccer Fitness Coach Tip of the Day – Day 11 – Post-Game Fitness

The Canadian University Soccer season is here, and this year marks my 3rd season as Assistant Coach and Fitness Coach with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks Women’s Varsity Soccer Team.  This season, I will be blogging every day with a ‘Tip of the Day’ – a small piece of information about the testing, training, monitoring, or performance analysis I am doing with the team.

Today’s Tip of the Day is about maintenance of aerobic fitness.  Over the course of any soccer season, including at the university level, there will be a certain number of players who do not play regularly, or who play less than a full 90-minute game once or twice per week. These players, over time, will lose their aerobic endurance, and fall behind the players in the team who are playing full 90-minute games 1-2 times per week.  Many higher level teams, especially at the professional level, will solve this problem by having a ‘reserve team’, that plays reserve matches on the day of, or the day following, the first team games.  This solution, however, is not very practical for university teams, as it would be difficult to impossible to find opponents on a regular basis.

It has been my experience that the easiest and most efficient way to ensure that players outside the starting-11 maintain their aerobic fitness is to schedule specific workouts on the field, immediately after a game has finished.  Because time is usually a factor, these workouts need to provide a high stimulus to the aerobic system, but they also require a relatively low volume (10-20 minutes in total).  Below is an example of a post-game fitness routine I have used successfully in the past:

  • Set up a training area behind the goal
  • Place 1 line of cones 15 metres from the goal line; 1 line of cones 30 metres from the goal line; and 1 line of cones 45 metres from the goal line
  • Players line up on the goal line, and perform the following run, for 2 sets of 5 repetitions, with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:1 (the rest period is equal to the time taken to complete the first set of 5 repetitions)
    • Run at 90% intensity to the 1st line
    • Run at 50% intensity back to the start line
    • Run at 70% intensity to the  2nd line
    • Run at 50% intensity back to the start line
    • Run at 60% intensity to the 3rd line
    • Run at 50% intensity back to the start line

The above workout takes only 10 minutes (so it is short enough to be done after a game), and it also presents enough of a stimulus to the aerobic system to allow players to maintain their aerobic fitness.  I have used and will continue to use workouts like this post-game with my players.  Other coaches and fitness coaches should try to do the same.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic.  Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.

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