Pillar of Development – Physiological
The physical demands and needs of an individual, in their pursuit of being an athlete to be able to perform soccer at a physically optimal condition. While the immediate thought is that it covers the athletic needs of being fast, aerobic, strong, and powerful, it must also take into consideration the overall health and wellness of the athlete. Rest, nutrition, and injury prevention, are all vital in the optimal performance of an athlete.
As like the other pillars, in long term player development, the purpose is age appropriate learning, and a methodology to support the age appropriate physiological needs of an individual. Training should address the physical needs of the age appropriate player, through selection of the physical component to be training within the session, with consideration for the active and rest periods to allow a player to perform at optimal level. Physiological develop must also be game specific to the demands of the game model, and the health of the individual in reference to injury prevention.
A youth player must enjoy themselves, have fun, and live like a child. We cannot and should not expect a youth player to be a professional athlete. We can however, use soccer as the medium to support an individuals growth and knowledge towards a healthy lifestyle and creating healthy habits for life as a whole. There must be balance, a child needs to have sleep overs, stay up late on special occasions, and eat fun foods in celebration and enjoyment. It is our role to explain and educate what is needed to become the next Ronaldo, how an individual can make good decisions about their health, and the reason why we need to maintain a healthy physiological state in life as well as performance.
Preseason Physical Preparedness
The following 4 week plans will support the physiological development of the player during the preseason mesocycle. The sessions are age appropriate, with the objectives suitable to the age of the player, with each session using the ball as often as possible. These practices should not replace any work with the ball, maximum touches short be a priority, and the physiological plan is to supplement technical practice.
*U13 – U19 is predominantly to optimize the individuals aerobic conditioning. This however is only beneficial to those players who have reached maturity. Maturity can happen at a range of chronological ages, so players will need to decide upon whether aerobic conditioning or the U9 – U12 speed, agility, and balance sessions will be of more benefit.