Windows of Opportunity

With the normal soccer season, there is practically no opportunity for traditional linear periodization. Increasingly shorter pre-seasons, increasingly longer seasons, and minimal transition periods means that one often must develop fitness adequately during a short pre-season and then find opportune times to top-off that fitness during the season when breaks in competitive play allow. For example, we’ve had stretches where we’ve played 7 games in a month. With the stress of travel and the games themselves, that leave little opportunity to actually train for fitness as most time is spent in tactical / technical preparation and recovery and regeneration from the physical demands of such a rigorous travel and game schedule. The games serve as the primary training stimulus. Contrast that with how we finish the season…we have 4 games in a month with an 18 day break between two of those games. In the latter schedule we have a HUGE window of opportunity to top off fitness for a stretch run. Effective fitness coaching is knowing when to train and when to not train, when to train what, and how often. Aerobic and anaerobic lactic capacities tend to detrain relatively quickly and need constant remediation. Speed qualities, once developed, need very little to maintain. Decay times for each capacity vary so knowing what has been addressed helps to figure out what needs to be trained to reduce likelihood of detraining.

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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.
Category : Training
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