SOCCER FITNESS INTERVIEW WITH JIM PETRUZZI - (Founder of the Jimmy Petruzzi Soccer Academy)

This weeks article is based around an interview with Jimmy Petruzzi, former professional player and founder of the Jimmy Petruzzi Soccer Academy (www.petruzzisocceracademy.com) which has produced many top professional soccer players.

Q/ Jim, your book "Only a Game" is due shortly for release, please tell us in 3 major points, what it offers to improve soccer fitness ?

A/ Firstly the book goes back to basics, it is not complicated and easy to follow, focusing on improving every aspect of fitness that goes with football. Secondly, the book is written in journal fashion which is unique as it is aimed at improving the fitness of a player at any level. Thirdly, most importantly there is a structure to the book and not endless amounts of jargon and ideas, the book takes you in stages,and you almost follow it like a fitness program, it goes into enough depth to explain the importance of your exercises and program, but also incorporates every important facet of training, this book is very individual and is written to get the best out of you both mentally and physically.

Q/ Do you think that at top levels in the modern game, fitness training methods have improved and if so how ?

A/ At top level football, fitness has improved, I feel due to sports science becoming more significant. I guess a modern day athlete needs every edge possible, a footballer in today's game must be a top class athlete, the demands of the game have been researched scientifically with great effect, the methods of training in today's game are much more specific to the game, they are also individualised to the players needs, they incorporate many aspects of fitness i.e., flexibility , strength, mental training etc. I also believe the fitness trainers in the game have a lot more of an educational background and a better understanding of what fitness strategy to incorporate.

Q/ Being a fitness expert, which part of soccer fitness is often neglected by players and coaches at all levels ?

A/ When I think of the many aspects of fitness still being neglected by coaches and players in the game, 3 important aspects come to mind: flexibility training, think of how many injuries could be prevented if players and coaches worked on flexibility increasing the range of movement of players, 10 minutes work are day would improve flexibility enough to meet the demands needed for football. Correct warming up and warming down are other important areas which can help prevent injury and increase performance. Especially after a game, a ten minute warm down is often neglected or not done properly and could aid recovery significantly. Other areas which are also neglected are diet, imbalance of training, and physiological work, I do stress there have been many improvements in the above areas, amongst players and coaches, but still a large number of players and coaches still neglect many aspects of the above fitness work.

Q/ Can you give a bit of advice for players wanting to maintain fitness during the off-season ?

A/ During the off-season players should have a break and recover and refocus, but to maintain fitness a player should remain active i.e. play some other sports like tennis etc, or go for 3 to 4 runs per week at a moderate pace for 30 to 40 minutes each time.

Q/ Briefly, can and should strength training programs be followed by younger players ?

A/ Personally I wouldn't advise a young player to follow a strength program, I would say 16 years of age would be a good bench mark, but expert advice should be taken on this and the individual assessed, as teenagers have different growth rates etc. I would say most 16 year olds could start strength training, though I would advise constant supervision at that age. Generally I believe strength training should be brought in around 18 years of age, but basic weight training from a qualified trainer, from the age of 16 can be implemented.

Originally from Australia, Jim has had the experience of playing and coaching in Italy, Romania, USA, and the UK He has individually trained players from teams such as West Ham, QPR, Crystal Palace, and several more at club/international level. He has also coached for several academies including The Bobby Charlton academy at Hopwood Hall in Manchester, where players such as David Beckham have come through. Once tipped for national honours in Australia, Jimmy was touted as one of the best right backs in the football league until injury cut his career short. With the experience of working as a fitness coach in several other sports including Olympic classed athletes, Jim's credentials speak volumes. With an MSc in Sports Science in addition to his full qualification as a UEFA Coach, not surprisingly Jim is considered to be amongst the best fitness trainers in the world. A highly respected coach and trainer, Jim is also the author of one of the best football fitness books to be found, "Only a Game", and the author of 100's of articles on the subject of fitness. The Petruzzi Soccer Academy prides itself on offering a service second to none, the Academy is unique , the first of its kind and the best, producing many top players all over the world. If you're an aspiring player, or established, and your looking to fulfil your potential and go as far as you can go in football, then the academy offers you an opportunity to work with the worlds best. With clients all over the world, the academy continues to get the most out of the players - this is an opportunity to be involved in a revolutionary program, to become part of this program read what his School of Excellence does - Trains you to become a pro footballer, gets your fitness and ability assessed, we design programs to enhance your ability & make special recommendations for players to professional clubs - visit the academy on: www.petruzzisocceracademy.com.

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