I was talking to a coach of a junior team at the weekend and he told me he’s had 45 plus out to training ever since they were able to get back on the pitch. This is a club with a senior team, senior reverses, junior and junior reserves and there’s still 20-odd men not getting a seat on the bench.
The interest in returning to play after the prolonged break has been phenomenal. I know off hand 12 men who had declared they’d kick their final ball at the end of last season but with the idea of a shortened season, a bigger break away from the last time they played which allowed their bodies to recover from all the aches and pains a 30+ year old body gets from playing ball, and a reduced training load due to the consistency of games coming at them every week they just couldn’t stay away.
There could be something to be said for shortened seasons but that’s a conversation for another day!
With huge numbers at training the coaches face a challenge to not only ensure the safety of the players but to maintain quality and intensity throughout. Couple that up with knowing that there’s a game at the end of each week and it points towards working on systems of play being the best use of the teams collective time together.
Be that working on kicks outs, transition play or spacing, now is as good a time as any to put the time and energy into sharpening how your team want to play the game. It calls for short bursts of intensity, periods of focus and small groups of players working together at time, ticking all the boxes any coach would want given the stage of the season we’re in.
Outside of the pitch and inside the gym you should continue to stay on top of your strength work. Championship is just around the corner and you want to be firing on all cylinders. Make sure you’re loading all the foundational movements – squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, rotate and carry – and complement them with small amounts of plymometric exercises to help give you that bounce when you’re on the pitch.
I know there’s still a lot of sore bodies not quite adjusted from the lay off so it’s important you listen to what your body is telling you, if you need to rest, take a rest. It is pure and simple your best form of recovery. Daily mobility, yoga and movement flows will all help keep you in top condition and at this point should be a part of your routine, done as automatically as brushing your teeth in the morning!
With a couple games already gone of the 2020 league campaigns, knowing there isn’t a whole pile left it’s time to double down on your efforts, on the field, in the gym and at home. 2020 has the year of the underdog written all over it, be that a team or an individual who has taken the chance to back themselves to shine. Implement change today and give this season the very best effort you can, you’ll never have one like it again!
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