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Football Performance II
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Football Performance II - new goals for success

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Football Performance II is an interesting collection of topical articles related to the sports science aspects of football. It is extremely readable, with a less formal tone than the scientific publications upon which these articles are based. This lack of stuffiness makes Football Performance II extremely accessible and relevant to coaches and team support staff at all levels of football.
David Wales, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Arsenal FC

The beautiful game is played in over 200 countries worldwide. Last year, the FIFA World Cup boasted viewing figures of 715 million people – making it far and away the most popular sporting event in human history ever. FIFA estimates that more than 300 million people now play football worldwide, and over a billion regularly watch it on TV.

But, until now, there has been a massive gulf between the training know-how and match-winning secrets used by the professional few and those available to the rest of us.

Not surprisingly, more scientific research than ever is being focused on the game. After all, with your average UK Premiership footballer taking home a basic annual salary of £640,000, and transfer fees for leading players now running into millions, there’s more pressure than ever to perform.

But, until know, the benefits of this research has been kept as the closely-guarded secret of an elite few.

Professional club managers, and national football governing bodies, are desperate to gain a performance advantage over their opponents. In the last eighteen months alone a number of important research projects have been conducted in the UK, France and elsewhere – and their findings circulated to those ‘in the know’. They contain invaluable (but costly) insights into football training and conditioning techniques, injury prevention and rehabilitation, match-day nutrition, and more.

Finally you can read all about these new performance ‘secrets’ in our brand new football special report -- Football Performance II: new goals for success.

And you won't need to invest thousands of pounds into a team of sports science researchers!

This latest addition to our Peak Performance series of practical workbooks is an essential successor to our first football workbook, published early last year. That’s because you get privileged access to cutting-edge conditioning and training techniques – brand new training, sports nutrition and injury prevention techniques that come directly to you from the very latest sport science studies.

All 108 pages of Football Performance II: new goals for success are made available for the very first time to those outside the sports science community and the football community’s management and coaching elite. You can be the first to benefit from them, today!

Here are just some of the ground-breaking facts you’ll learn:

Essential Fitness Secrets
Discover the best way to achieve optimal pre-season fitness – while ensuring you remain mentally fresh for all the games to come.

New Hydration Research
We reveal just how much liquid you should be taking in at half-time.

Premiership Performance Boosters
Do you know which half-time supplement can ensure you rebuild your reserves of stamina and restore your levels of concentration?

Top Technique Tips
Find out the simple throw-in technique that can add an extra 10% to your throwing length.

Power, Pin-Point Passing and Sharp Shooting
Learn the best way to build kicking speed – without sacrificing accuracy.

Quick Kit Fixes
The professionals show you how to break in a pair of brand-new football boots when you haven’t got any time to waste

Injury Disasters and How To Avoid Them
Recent research zones in on the two football moves which are responsible for most ACL knee injuries on the field – and explains how you can train players to minimise the injury-risk.

Winning Team Tactics
Listen to the killer communication strategy that can motivate any team at half-time to come back from behind.

All in all, 100 pages of cutting-edge information every serious football player, team coach and manager needs to know – and integrate into their training and conditioning programs immediately.

Pre-season Training: Are You Missing A Trick?

Sports science and modern technology has had a major effect on football training in recent years. Many teams have become much more analytical about their players’ work rate in games, and also in training, by introducing tools such as game analysis and heart rate monitors, in order to gain an accurate understanding of the physical demands on players in games.

What’s more, the structure and training methods in football throughout the season have also changed significantly. But, it is the period of pre-season training that has seen the biggest and most significant changes. Only the best pre-season training can ensure that players start the season in premiership shape, and, crucially, will be able to maintain their fitness and stay injury-free throughout the season.

A comparison of the work rates of English Premier League players over two recent seasons with previous observations of top English League players before 1992 shows that today’s players cover approximately 1.5kms more ground in a game than their earlier counterparts – a difference that is apparent for all playing positions.

There is also evidence of a faster tempo to the game, including more movement of the ball and shorter breaks in play. This is partly due to changes in the rules, such as the omission of the back pass. But it is mainly the fruits of applying recent advances in sports science and player conditioning.

However, despite the high aerobic demands necessary to sustain work output for 90 minutes, games are often decided on the quality of explosive efforts, which depend on anaerobic and alactic bursts of energy; for example, to get to the ball first, leap above an opponent, spring into a goal-scoring position or to close down an opponent and deny them space to pass or shoot at goal.

So in Football Performance II: new goals for success we kick-off with a discussion of how you can gain from the pre-season training secrets used by the pro’s. We reveal how you can lay down the right foundation for the arduous season ahead. Having established the energy requirements of footballers, we identify the central principles of pre-season training taking into account some of the very latest thinking on how best to condition footballers.

You will find some radical alternatives to the tired traditional interval training approach so beloved of many coaches. And these will deliver the following benefits to you and your team:

Boost the fitness of your cardiovascular system

Enable you to mimick match-specific skill requirements

Blast player motivation sky-high

Develop the capacity to perform skilled movements under pressure

Ensure a reduced rate of training injuries

We describe the training drills in detail, giving you all the information you need to try them out for yourself at your next training practice.

We also show you how to bring all this information together, by constructing a football-specific pre-season training session you can use with your own team.

Explosive New Kicking Techniques: Dramatically Improve Your Distance and Accuracy
– And Avoid the Risk of Injury

OK, so it’s all going well in a crucial match and the ball is at your feet. And then…

Just why is it that you can suddenly become struck with two left feet?
Or, why are you suddenly prone to hamstring strains when going to cross a long ball into the box?
And exactly where should you look when you are hoping to put the ball in the net from the penalty spot?

The ability to kick is a skill that needs to be constantly developed and improved.
And, just like other sports skills, improvement requires the correct mental, as well as physical, approach.

So in Football Performance II: new goals for success we present some of the latest thinking on improving footballers’ kicking technique. We cover the full range of training inputs, from physical training for improved strength and power, through to using the mind to improve your kicking technique.

And we reveal for the first time some fascinating recent research from Denmark that has identified the variables behind maximum kicking speed, and a little-known Greek study that reveals the true potential effects of a football strength and technique conditioning programme on kicking power, distance and accuracy.

Speed Testing: How You Can Blast Past Any Defence

The modern game of football requires players to be faster than ever before. And the most widely used technique to test player’s speed is the 40m sprint (or the 40-yard dash in the USA). Because the 40m test is so prevalent every footballer will benefit from training plans that improve their 40m sprinting, as well as their linear speed, to assist their sporting performance. Indeed, in the USA, whole training programmes, websites and camps are devoted to ‘improving your 40’.

This data is highly relevant to football, where players are not only required to run bursts of similar distances during the game, but also need to have high top speeds and good acceleration, e.g. being first to a ball or racing back to get into defensive position.
So we devote a section in Football Performance II: new goals for success to explaining how to get the best out of training for, and subsequently testing, the 40m sprint. We explain which strength training exercises give the best results for sprinting over this specific distance – and not just the ‘drive phase’ of the sprint action, but the ‘recovery phase’ as well, given the demands of the modern game.

The training programme we outline is designed to deliver maximum benefits in minimum time. You will receive full details of a sample 40m sprint-training programme for footballers – covering both the off- and in-season periods – that you can use to get your sprint training up to speed right away!

Half-Time Physiology: How Can You Go the Distance and Avoid Second-Half Fatigue and Injury

Half-time must be about more than just sucking oranges! While sucking on an orange may have once seemed to provide a sufficient half-time recuperation strategy, things have certainly moved on. But do you know the latest thinking? Or are you still passing round the fruit?

Any half-time strategy must address two fundamental aims:

To enhance second-half performance;

To effectively manage the incidence and impact of injury.

In Football Performance II: new goals for success we examine the core demand of the half-time period: what’s the right way to recover from the first half while at the same time preparing for the second?

We devote much of the discussion to the following key question: exactly what should we be doing – cooling down, or warming up? Our analysis includes the results of two recent sports science studies into half-time cooling strategies. The first is a study of American footballers; the second draws on the experiences of an English Championship team.

In the course of the discussion we describe the most effective ways to cool down a team of players during half-time. And we let you into the secrets of how to prepare for the demands of the second half, drawing on some recent research that illustrates the relationship between warming up properly, match fatigue and second half injuries amongst football players.

Half-Time Nutrition: Food for Sport

The half-time nutritional strategies employed by many football teams often rely as much on tradition, fashion and even sponsorship deals as they do on sound science. But teams that are performing at top level have been benefitting from sophisticated nutritional strategies devised by nutritionists and sport scientists. And now you can close the gap and learn these performance secrets.

In Football Performance II: new goals for success we look behind the advertising slogans of sports drinks companies. We bring you the results of recent studies that outline the main factors to consider when planning nutrition in the half-time interval. Because outcomes in team sports are highly influenced by skill, it is essential to consider factors that may influence skill and concentration when considering strategies to optimise performance. Often these factors go hand in hand with carbohydrate depletion, associated with reduced exercise capacity and poor concentration – effects that will be compounded by dehydration.

Because both dehydration and muscle glycogen depletion are associated with injury and accidents, efforts to prevent these affecting performances could have repercussions well beyond the immediate match. One of the main difficulties in discussing nutritional strategies for the half-time interval in order to optimise performance in the second half is that the factors may vary according to the state that players are in prior to the match.

Our discussion covers the central issue of hydration – both pre-match and at half-time. How do you work out how much each player should be drinking, given that optimal hydration requires that each player be treated as an individual?

Then we look at nutritional strategies over and above the core question of what, and how much, should each player drink? You’ll find out which foods are best suited for players facing another 45-minute period on the field. And, when and how these should be ingested.

The discussion includes a revelatory account of how one leading UK football team put a feeding strategy at the centre of its half-time efforts – and the marked impact this had on their subsequent league successes – more goals scored, and fewer conceded, in the last 15 minutes of every match!

Half-time Psychology: Can Words Win Matches?

The half-time period is not just about refuelling and physical therapy. It’s also an absolutely crucial time for the coach and team to gather their thoughts and prepare mentally for the challenges of the second half. Finding the right motivational words could be the difference between three points or zero.

The half-time period in a game creates an emotional experience amongst the players and the coach. A full review might take place a day or two after the game, which can be generally analysed free of the emotional reactions associated with the game itself. However, at half-time the outcome of the game is yet to be decided. The interval is only around 15minutes in duration, and is the only direct opportunity the coach will have to speak to all the players and to influence the second-half performance and result.

The half-time team talk will, of course, depend on the score and the coach’s perspective of the match. It is also important to note other variable factors, such as the context of the game – eg is it a cup match in which the loser gets knocked out? Is it a league game and what are the league positions of the teams contesting the game? Is one team an overwhelming favourite to win the game? Is the team winning but not performing well?

Our discussion of half-time psychology kicks off with an analysis of the crucial role of the coach. You will learn the match-winning answers to these three vital areas:

What different communication styles are available – and which work best, when, and why?

How does the coach’s leadership style affect his approach to communication?

What are the secrets that you can learn from the world’s most successful coaches?

We also focus on how one particular communication approach, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is used to create the right state of mind for match-winning results.

Footballing Injuries: How To Avoid the Sprain Drain

Listen: the overall level of injury to a professional footballer has been shown to be around 1,000 times higher than in industrial occupations generally regarded as high risk.

Football is a highly athletic sport with rapid deceleration, acceleration, single-stance twists, single-stance ballistic movements and aerobatic manoeuvres. In Football Performance II: new goals for success we review the evidence for injury patterns to the lower limb and spine, the mechanisms of injury, and the latest theories that can help us understand how these injuries happen.

The high incidence of metatarsal fractures in football players like Wayne Rooney has raised the question as to whether modern football boots offer enough protection to the foot and whether they are to blame for the high number of foot injuries. Find out if your kit is putting you at risk and learn the best way to quickly break in a new pair of boots.

But it’s not all about kit. We also show how factors such as age, fitness, skill level, and even playing surfaces play a crucial role in increasing the risk of injury.

Next we review some exciting research into the physical demands of different playing positions, which sheds new light on patterns of injury across the team, comparing the match-day demands of defenders versus midfielders and strikers.

The findings of this just-published study will give football players and coaches a firm understanding of the physical demands of the game. More importantly they will allow you to develop appropriate player- and position-specific conditioning and rehab programmes that will help to reduce the incidence of injuries.

Then we turn our focus onto two common football injuries.

First, the most common injury in football – not hamstring tears, as is commonly thought – but ankle injuries. We examine three common treatment strategies – strength training, orthotic inserts, and proprioception training – then we tell you which of these is the most effective, and why.

The second of our injury ‘workshops’ deals with ACL injuries of the knee. We disclose the findings of a new Danish study that has shed unexpected light on the causes of this injury – and we tell you how the latest thinking suggests you can help to prevent it in future. Significantly, the research clearly identifies two distinctive moves on the football field that are most responsible for ACL injury. By training players to perform these particular moves more safely, the risk of injury could be substantially reduced.

We conclude the section on football injury by identifying four simple measures you can take that will massively reduce the likelihood of any injury ruining your season.

Football Performance II: new goals for success is one of a series of special reports from Peak Performance, the sports science newsletter. This book is not available elsewhere.

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