Keeping Your Substitutes Fit!

SoccerSpecific

Damian Roden is currently Head of Sports Science at Stoke City F.C. of the English Premier League. His success at the highest levels has led him to be considered one of the top injury prevention fitness specialists in the Premier League and beyond. He is a former Head of Sports Science at Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Australia & Wales national teams.  Damian currently oversees all aspects of fitness and performance at Stoke City F.C., the club that lost fewer days to injury than any other in the Premier League during the 2013/14 season.  Follow him on Twitter: @rodendamian

With the start of the season upon us the question often arises – “How do I keep my substitutes fit without many game minutes and within a heavy game schedule?”

Damian Roden lays out a logical and progressive plan that can be implemented with teams of all levels. The sessions and detailed progressions are based on the demands of the game with the overall goal of having your Subs ready to perform if called upon!

View PDF – The diagrams below illustrate Runs 1, 2 + 3b. For full descriptions and illustrations of all Interval Runs click to view attached PDF file.

Pre/Post Match Conditioning

  • It is common across the world to see players who haven’t featured in the game to come out onto the pitch again to perform some element of ‘conditioning’.
  • Whilst there is no substitute for football specific fitness through football games, it is often difficult to play football after a game at a stadium whether it be at home or away. Running activities therefore are sometimes the only option.
  • If you are performing running activities, they should be as specific to the demands of the game as possible.
  • If subs have been sitting on the bench all game the last thing they want to do is run, but if they are not training the following day they need to perform some high intensity activity in line with games.
  • It is not advisable to make subs sprint after a game for obvious reasons but runs that include a progressive build up of accelerations and decelerations safely are essential.
  • Similarly, if the subs tend to be the same players each week it is important to make the runs progressively more difficult by increasing the duration and level of difficulty.
  • The emphasis of the following interval runs is to start at a relatively low demanding point and gradually build up each week as early as the first game of pre-season if there are subs in need of work.
  • Interval run 1 for example has fewer accelerations and decelerations, but is longer in duration with greater rest periods, working more towards being able to last the pace of the game by comparison to the other interval runs.
  • Interval run 3c has more accelerations and decelerations, but is shorter in duration with shorter rest periods, working more towards the ability to recover quickly from high intensity actions.
  • It is advisable that the runs are used in sequence each week from interval run 1 to interval run 3c to develop the ability to both last the pace of the game and recover quickly. Each week that the run is repeated, the duration should be slightly increased.

Roden.Interval Progressions

Post Match Conditioning : Intermittent Runs 1

Organisation:

Players start on touch line and jog to 18 yard line. At the 18 yard line players accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, then jog to opposite 18 yard line and walk to opposite touch line.
Players go around cone, jog to 18 yard line, accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, jog to 18 yard line and walk back to start point.

Roden_Chart2

 

Roden.Intermittent Run 1

Post Match Conditioning: Intermittent Runs 2

Organisation:

Players start on touch line and jog to 18 yard line. At the 18 yard line players accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, then jog to opposite 18 yard line. Players go around cone, accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, jog to 18 yard line and walk back to start point.

Roden_Chart3

 

Roden.Intermittent Run 2

Post Match Conditioning: Intermittent Runs 3a

Organisation:

Players start on touch line and jog to 18 yard line. At the 18 yard line players perform ‘doggies’ by sprinting to cone 2, back to cone 1, up to cone 3, back to cone 2 and up to centre spot.
Players then jog to opposite 18 yard line, go around cone, accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, jog to 18 yard line and walk back to start point.

Roden_Chart4

Post Match Conditioning: Intermittent Runs 3b

Organisation:

Players start on touch line and jog to 18 yard line. At the 18 yard line players dribble ball around cones as fast as possible to centre spot then jog to opposite 18 yard line.  Players then go around cone, accelerate (80-90%) to centre spot, jog to 18 yard line and walk back to start point.

Roden_Chart5

 

Roden.Intermittent Run 3b

Post Match Conditioning: Intermittent Runs 3c

Organisation:

Players start on the corner of the penalty box and dribble ball around cones as fast as possible to pole then jog to half way line. Players then perform ‘doggies’ by sprinting to cone 2, back to cone 1, up to cone 3, back to cone 2 and up to centre spot then jog to end pole. At pole players accelerate (80-90%) to centre pole, slow down and walk back to start point.

Roden_Chart6