The trainees arrive at intensive course Barcelona‘s beach at 10:30 hours. Here, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday a very different training session to what they’re used to awaits them. It’s a demanding session.
A gentle run for a few minutes on the sand prepares the body both physically and psychologically. Warming up is essential so that each player can perform at 100% and avoid potential injuries.
The physical trainers explain the session objectives and exercises and divide the students into three groups. They will alternate in different stations designed to work towards different objectives. Beach training is ideal for developing not only strength but also proprioception, that is, being aware of the space your body occupies.
“The first post provides technical exercises in pairs, with interior, instep, head and chest control. The students have to return the ball to a partner who throws it with his hands”, explains Moisés Falces Prieto, head of the Optimization Department of Physical Performance at Marcet.”
The lack of stability of sand makes hitting the ball on this surface improve the balance and stability of each player. On the other hand, its softness cushions impacts on the ground, which is good for joints and allows for intense training all the while preventing injuries in a safer environment.
“ In addition, the beach offers players new psychological stimuli that end up improving their performance,” explains Falces. “That’s important especially in terms of motivation, preventing children from stagnating and falling behind during a course as demanding as our High-Performance one.”
The second post is a first activation phase, with a high-intensity circuit. Then, a second phase of concentration, in which the students have to stand for a few seconds, centre the ball and hit a point marked on a pike.
“The objective is to learn to manage different levels of activation,” says sports psychologist Héctor Canyelles. “During games the same applies, because a corner is far from being the same as a penalty, and it is important that students become aware of the degree of activation that is appropriate for each action they take.”
When kicking the ball in this exercise, the players find themselves in a situation very similar to that of a striker who has to shoot after a 50-metre sprint in a counter-attack scenario. Their chances of success increase if they are able to find the necessary calm and concentration to be precise and get the ball past the rival goalkeeper.
The third post consists of a force circuit that starts with a ballasted race. “ Tied to an elastic rope, the students have to carry out frontal and lateral displacements,” explains Falces. “It’s an exercise designed especially to reinforce abductors and buttocks, fundamental muscles in the practice of football.”
All the exercises that are executed against a resistance of this kind also have implications concerning coordination and balance. On top of this, the elastic rope allows the muscles to absorb tension in the best possible way during the exertion, playing an important role in the prevention of injuries.
The circuit continues with a series of push-ups with the aim of strengthening pectorals, deltoids, triceps and core. Although football is played with the legs, working on upper body strength is also fundamental.
Correct coordination between the upper part and the lower part of the body is essential to ball control. If both aren’t developed harmoniously, adequate energy transfer between the upper body and the lower body becomes difficult, with potentially disastrous consequences in terms of balance, power, speed…
Another type of exercise involves the use of a rubber band for the strengthening of the dorsal and abdomen muscles. As is also the case with the push-ups, working on the lumbo-abdominal area is fundamental to balancing upper and lower body strength.
Strengthening back and core is important to prevent injuries associated with the pubis and its muscles. If the torso is not trained, adductors, abductors and iliac psoas will suffer consequences.
Once the three posts are finished, Marcet students can finally rest. Some stay talking with teachers, others prefer to take a dip in the sea.
After such a demanding training session, the team returns to the Sports City to eat and recharge their batteries. Rest is also essential to avoid overtraining and continue optimal performance. After a restful nap, the High Performance players will put their boots back on for a training session in the field.
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