Team Doctor Briefs: Training tips for all players and coaches as they prepare for games that will score them results in the professional ranks.

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Adapted with permission from DR JOSEPH MUTYABA

Football is about speed and accuracy! At least for much of the time you are on the pitch.

For a football player to achieve professional level competence of speed and accuracy, physical conditioning will be the task.

Everyone driving the vehicle of physical condition should know that it must be fueled. And the fuel is no doubt proper nutrition. So please do not forget to fill the tank with the best fuel. And remember, more is not necessarily better. 

That aside, speed and accuracy will need to be applied differently in different situations. So practice and training can not be taken for granted. So if it is true that practice makes perfect, then do it. 

But please be reminded, practice or training is not just and only physical. There are several kinds and types of training.

Mental training for example. Play Station can be a tool here. You can internalize the pitch in your mind and polish your thinking skills in a video game. Talk about applying the coach’s pep talk at home or even in your free time. You don’t have to wait to be on the pitch. The mind is where the skills come from and you can always train your mind. Tactics, game reading, formations, etcetera.

And yet it is not the best football minds that make the best players. It starts in the mind but it does not end there! So for those who fail to practice on the pitch, the talent will amount to nothing.

Physical training. That is mostly what all players do. But are you doing it right? Did you know that you require a minimum of 10 km ground coverage per day? By the way, these have to be bursts of intensity plays, with quick sudden change of direction, stop and go movements, offensive and defensive flows, and so much more. 

Your technical coaches and trainers should know what you need when it comes to physical training. And they do know. They will take you through a multitude of drills: master passing skills, defensive tackles, dribbles, ball stopping, shot stopping, and the list goes on and on and on. You have to be a versatile player and you must be able to do many things on the pitch with or without the ball. The mind may know this, but the only way the body will know it is through repeated physical training.

You will have to be strong to make it through this kind of physical training. But it may not be the responsibility of your technical coach to make you strong. Not at all. For that, we need to have time with the fitness coach. To build Fitness and resistance. And that is still another different type of training.

Fitness and Resistance training. You will need to be hard, so the fitness coach will help you with that. This kind of training involves a venture into athletics: sprinting, fast jogging, altitude training, swimming, high jump, cold and hot conditioning, and finally GYM workouts. This will help you build the gas for the 10 km daily ground coverage.

So much work?

Certainly not.

Just in case you have forgotten, in a full match of soccer a Goalkeeper will cover 4 to 5 km of distance on the ground. Defenders, Fullbacks, Strikers, and Wing players on average do about 7 to 9 km of ground coverage. Midfielders; whether defending, holding or attacking will have to cover 9 to 11 km of distance. It is surely not a game to be a professional footballer!

How many times would you have to run around a soccer field to make it 10 kilometers?

Assuming you run directly on the lines around the field, it would depend on the size of the field (or more directly, the field’s perimeter).

An Olympic soccer field has a touchline length of 100 to 120 meters and a goal-line length of 64 to 75 meters. This means that the perimeter can be anywhere between 328 meters and 390 meters.

Considering 10 kilometers is 10,000 meters, you simply divide 10,000 by the distance around the field.

10,000m/328m = 30.49 laps

10,000m/390m = 25.64 laps

So, you would have to run anywhere between 25.64 and 30.49 laps around an Olympic-sized soccer field to complete a 10 km.

Hope this helps!

Dr Joseph Mutyaba is a medical doctor in the Vipers SC Health Department.

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