The new football season is nearly upon us, and many players are on the last minute grind to get that extra bit of performance gains prior to the new season. We all know players need to be getting fitter, stronger, quicker in this time - but here are another few considerations that will help maximise performance.
1. Sort out your movement mechanics
This is the time when you can alter some mechanics of your movements, such as working on running techniques, turning techniques or squat techniques. Tidying up the biomechanics of your movement reduces the energy cost of each run, turn, or sprint you try to do on the pitch, therefore making you a more efficient athlete. This in turn means you get more work done whilst for the same amount of energy, so you will feel less tired.
Invest in a good strength and conditioning coach and get to grips with how to actually change direction properly, accelerate properly and jump and land properly. As well as the benefits to energy cost, nailing these movements reduces injury risk by not continually loading joints incorrectly or putting joints into extreme ranges. Working on movement mechanics rather than running constant drills on incorrect mechanics is a much more efficient and enjoyable way of training.
2. Deal with injuries
Any issues that have been bugging you previously; now is the time to get them sorted so they don’t drag on into the season. Often players have let problems build up over the course of the season due to the busy playing schedules of most seasons.
So ensure your pre season includes rehab of any previous issues; often warm ups are useful times to complete any rehab exercises you have been given.
3. Trial recovery nutrition
All players should ingest some protein and carbohydrate post match, at a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 depending on individual needs. This ensures the body has sufficient fuel needed to kick start the recovery process.
With so many new products constantly coming to market, there is plenty of choice of healthy recovery snacks. However, whichever nutrition you choose, its always advisable to trial your snack during pre season. Mid season with a high game density is really not the time to find out the latest brand of chocolate milkshake gives you stomach cramps, or that the food you chose actually doesn't taste good.
Test all the products you intend to use in pre season. Or use this time to compare if one makes you feel better than the other post training. Just don’t wait until match day to start trying new recovery methods.