SOCCER FITNESS WITH JEREMY BOONE - (Carolina Athletic Development Institute - Charlotte)

This weeks article is based around an interview with Jeremy Boone, founder of the Carolina Athletic Development Institute in Charlotte, USA. We would like to express our thanks to Justin for sharing some of his knowledge of soccer fitness.

Q/ Does your approach to training and competition with various levels and types of players (younger, women, elite..) differ in anyway ?

A/ Yes by all means. All of the training programs that I create are based on the demands of the sport, the position of the sport, and the qualities of the individual. In addition to those three, there are a few other training considerations as well. For example, when training the female soccer player, it is important to train the ability to stop or decelerate. More specifically, teaching the ability to correctly load the body (absorb shock) in movement. Or when working with young athletes, training loads for a 10 year old female will be quite different than a 10 year old male. This is because of the differences in the human developmental process between genders.

Q/ What do you think is/are the key aspect(s) in weekly training ?

A/ It all depends, let me explain. I use the term coined by my colleague Vern Gambetta "planned performance training". The key aspect here is recovery and not the training itself. You are only as good as your body's ability to recover. So if you have two games in a week in season, than where you put recovery is critical for your players success. In addition, it is based on the goals and objectives of the overall program. Whether it is a team or an individual athlete, I use a needs analysis profile. Together we determine what the theme is for the training year and build everything around that. Generally speaking, speed and strength are qualities that need to be trained on a continual weekly basis where flexibility is a day to day objective.

Q/ You advise a lot on recovery after training or competition, briefly what should any player look out for ?

A/ First and foremost players and coaches need to realize that performance and training is only as good as a player's body ability to recover. Presently, overtraining is a hot topic in the field of sports science. Warning signs for players might include decreased performance, technique breakdown, less energy, loss of appetite, lack of motivation, depression, and disturbed sleeping patterns. The best way to avoid overtraining is implementing a sound planned performance training program. Simple tips that players often overlook are adequate sleep and a balanced nutritional diet. Teaching players how to relax and go through a proper cooldown has had significant results with my players here in the states. Other methods of recovery might include self-massage, contrast baths, whirlpools, and specific relaxation techniques.

Q/ Have you noticed an improvement over the years in player's attitudes to training (diet, warm-up..) ?

A/ Overall I would definitely say yes. Primarily in the area of speed training. Every soccer player that I work with wants to get faster and stronger. There are many soccer players that can dribble, pass, and head the soccer ball. What separates the better from the best is athletic performance, who has the quicker first step. On the other hand, the more specific components of training such as a players nutritional habits are not taken seriously until the teenage years here in the states. This is unfortunate because all of these younger players drinking coke and eating foods high in sugar are affecting their bodies ability to physically recover and get stronger.

Q/ What do you look for in a younger player ?

A/ You must remember that as a soccer fitness specialist I look more for athletic ability. The very first thing I look for is does the player love the game and can he/she have fun. If not, than all else does not matter. The second thing I look for is their ability to move without the ball. Are they coordinated? Can they change direction quickly? Does movement look effortless? The third thing I look for is the player's ability to recognize and then react to soccer specific situations. Overall, playing the game itself is the best assessment.

Q/ How much of a role does sports science play in your preparation ?

A/ Sports Science serves as a strong foundation for everything that I do. Especially with so much new research coming out almost on a daily basis. The present research on power production and ways to objectively test it in soccer specific situations has been the most influential for our training programs. It is as important to remember however that coaching is an art form as much as it is a science. There are many days where I have planned a specific speed training session and have been forced to totally change what I wanted to do. For example, I might have planned for a player to perform 6 x 30 yd uphill sprints followed by a 45 second run at 75% effort. If by the fourth sprint the quality of effort has significantly decreased I might go ahead and stop it there. Practically all of my planning is what my colleague Vern Gambetta calls contingency planning. In other words, using sports science as a foundation for planning, but always being prepared to change the plan if needed. This is where the art of coaching is so crucial.

Jeremy Boone is the founder of the Carolina Athletic Development Institute in Charlotte, NC. The Institute is dedicated to providing athletes with comprehensive training and conditioning programs based upon the athlete’s sport, position, and the individual. He is also the consultant of Speed and Strength for the Atlanta Beat (WUSA), the Charlotte Eagles Men’s A-league Soccer Club (the Eagles won the Men's Div. III 2000 National Championship), and to various college programs. He is an Official Content Provider for the www.internetsoccer.com network. He has worked with athletes from the novice to professional stature in multiple sports including baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Boone has lectured on various topics of athletic development and sports therapy to colleges, national conferences, and sports clinics/camps. His primary areas of focus includes recovery & regeneration and the developing athlete. Please read more about Jeremy's work and ideas at: www.soccerrecovery.com.

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