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Football Physical Preparation

Through his successful background in numerous Belgian first or second division clubs, Frédéric Renotte knows perfectly well what he is talking about when he talks about physical preparation in football . During a classic six-week preparation, this professor of exercise physiology at the Haute École Condorcet recommends intensive endurance work for two weeks , then specific interval exercises for the following two weeks , trying to vary as much as possible. maximum pleasures in order to avoid any risk of monotony or overload. It is only after these four boring but very important weeks that work with the ball can really begin.

The specificities of the physical preparation of the footballer

Football, compared to other major team sports, is the only one that allows you to use your foot to hit the ball (apart from rugby in certain very episodic phases).

“It is also the only sport that is practiced in a closed chain ,” explains Frédéric Renotte . That is to say that a footballer uses his feet which are glued to the ground with what this implies as risks in the event of blocking of the supporting foot . In other team sports (basketball, handball, rugby), we use the hand, which does not rest on anything and can therefore be struck without the possibility of blocking. The hand being open, the risk of injury is reduced. I know that it is fashionable to criticize footballers who let themselves fall to the ground too easily, but this sport is more traumatic than the others: the risk of injury is higher . It is therefore necessary to work well on stability and strengthening the ankles.

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In addition, due to this characteristic, it is also more demanding than the others. In handball and basketball, you can shoot at goal or at the basket several dozen times per match, without any problem. In football this is not possible because it requires a lot more energy. So, even if some people wrongly think that footballers are lazy, it is not possible to carry out two intense sessions on the pitch per day . Which doesn't mean we can't work morning and afternoon, of course. But then you have to plan a session on the field and another of bodybuilding, cycling or core training, for example. »

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Another particularity of football: heading

Compared to other sports, football is also special in that it is the only one that allows you to use your head. Some players, particularly attackers or central defenders, have made it a major weapon that should be worked on during training.

“But I don’t think we should consider specific physical exercises ,” argues Frédéric Renotte. . The head game, very often, we have it or we don't have it. It is above all a question of timing : a tall player will always have a theoretical advantage over a small player, but some small players compensate for this size deficit with better timing, better anticipation of where the ball will land. »

Strengthening the muscular chain of the neck and shoulders can, however, help to give more power to the headbutt. But it is rare that we work specifically on this aspect of the game, although it is crucial in set phases.

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