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During the summer, football enters in some sort of parallel dimension, where the transfer market and the social networks completely absorb the public’s attention. The truth is that those who works in football are already back on the pitch since July, starting a phase which can be considered essential for the whole season: the pre-season athletic preparation.
From amateur to professional levels, this phase is indeed becoming more and more decisive in creating the necessary athletic conditions to support the frenetic pace of modern football, and this can produce both positive and negative consequences even months later. In fact, an international professional player can get to exceed the 60-70 matches per season, including the national and international competitions for clubs and for national teams, and this can help to understand the importance of the athletic approach to the preparation phase in avoiding physical complications and injuries during the season.
Football pre-season preparation has gone through many phases over the decades, adapting every time to the transformations of the game, but the functional training is now playing a more and more essential role in it, becoming some sort of conjunction ring between strength and technique training. A complete functional training can’t indeed avoid a preliminary phase in which the athletic and technique performance is analyzed to identify the specific schemes of movement and to intervene accordingly to them. Movement is indeed the unit of measure that our body use to achieve a goal and, thanks to functional training, the athletes are able to work on whole movements, instead of single muscular contractions.
A solid base of joint mobility work is essential before to proceed towards strengthening exercises, and it characterizes the first part of the pre-season, together with an approach with the functional training tools and the Core training. Mobility, stability and coordination are indeed fundamental elements to maximize an athlete’s performance capabilities, and in this sense Flying Suspension Training, Flow Bag, Medicine Ball or Kettlebells may enable the subsequent construction of a more advanced functional training, that will characterize mainly the agonistic part of the season.
In a functional point of view, the pre-season preparation especially in its first steps shall be accompanied by an important joint mobility work, improving the elasticity and the coordination and enabling a complete awareness, and therefore control, of the athlete’s own body. Working with heavy weights on incorrect postures can be not only ineffective, but also counterproductive and harmful, and that’s why the first training sessions should serve for evaluating and correcting this kind of issues with the players.
In particular, some Primitive Functional Movement sessions can be absolutely useful to work on player’s joint mobility, global stability and coordination, allowing them to be fully receptive during the subsequent steps of the training, in which the weight loads go more and more intensive.
Together with the specific coach’s work on functional strength, individual technique and team tactics, this approach can result essential not only to start the season in optimal conditions, but also to sustain the frenetic pace of modern football during the whole season, guaranteeing the players a high performance in game and avoiding them to incur a musculoskeletal injury.
Below some examples of the development of the specific Football Functional Training, that take in consideration the various coordinative and conditional capabilities in delineating training circuits which start from a base of Joint Mobility and bring to the development of the role’s specific movements.