Intensive football courses are a holiday classic for all ages. So how do you get the most out of such a short amount of time?
For younger trainees, it’s the best way to improve technical abilities in a short space of time. For those who are closer to 20, they’re vital to get back into shape and be ready to compete in the new season. Intensive courses are a holiday classic for footballers of all age groups. But is it really possible to gain positive results out of a few days training? How can you get the most out of them?
“Four days do not seem like a lot, so you have to look at the time spent in terms of hours”, assured Rubén Martí, head coach of Fundación Marcet’s intensive courses for under 14s. “Every day we do a 6 hour session working on their technique. In which we work on basic aspects like: on the ball control, their touch, throw-ins, passing, heading… It’s a sufficient amount of time to notice results, although it’s important not put everybody in the same basket. Everyones has their own individualised target and they must set a new target each day. Everyone can progress, but each at their own rhythm and based on their level”.
“Every kid has their own personal goal. The important thing is to detect what the target is and help them achieve it, or set an even more ambitious goal”, pedagogue Eva Franco says. “The point is, attitude is extremely important when taking advantage of such short courses. The scholars that show better predispositions are the ones that have guaranteed results”, Martí claims: “To take full advantage of an intensive course, it’s crucial to follow the coaches instructions at all times. It’s pointless starting well to then show now interest when on the pitch”.
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Effort and commitment are vital when wanting to stand out in football, at any age. “Those who succeed are the ones capable of getting up after falling.”, added Martí, underlining the importance of values when training: “Humility is essential. If someone is a know-it-all and isn’t able to accept criticism, they then put themselves in a position where they won’t learn anything”.
“You have to be mentally prepared and know that the demands are very high, so there is always an adaptation process before starting”, Carlos Rivero adds, the head of Fundación Marcet’s intensive course for over 14s. “In this age bracket the goal isn’t to improve technically but to return to a competitive level for the new season. The younger players can get back to competitive level with ease, so they don’t have this sort of problem. But for older players the summer break can have a negative effect.
“Intensive courses are the best way to get back to the necessary level to compete. Also a great way to get up to speed after the resting period before getting back to work with their clubs”, Rivero says. “They’re like a little preseason and can be key for players coming back from an injury or players that have a lot of competition for positions in their squad. For them, getting back to their team in perfect shape can make the difference when wanting to cement their place in the side”.
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“To get the most out of these intense training sessions, it’s imperative to stay injury free. You have to prepare in advance. The abrupt change in rhythm is the major cause of physical problems that occur on the intensive courses, especially on the first day”, According to physiotherapist Vianca Ferrando, “It’s ideal that before they start training, the players gradually start increasing their work intensity. Especially if they’re coming back from vacation, so that the change isn’t so abrupt.”
Would it then be better to avoid resting altogether? “Not at all, rest and holiday is vital”, points out Rivero. “You have to disconnect, primarily to mentally disconnect. Although you shouldn’t ever relax too much, but it would be an error to not take a vacation. Because rest is vital to recharge and return even more motivated”. Two of the most important keys in taking full advantage of an intensive football course.