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Fuel For Football is a football performance  company, based in the United Kingdom, that focuses on aiding footballers worldwide to reach their greatest potential.

All information and advice should be used at your discretion.

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6th October

Self-assess your psychology against the ACSI test. This will allow you to notice the necessary areas for improvement in your mental state. Give yourself a score from 1-4 on each question (strongly agree can be both 1 and 4 so be careful which way the scale works for each question). Total your scores up at the end and you will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses in psychological terms. Click the document on the right to open it.

 
 

What is VO2max?

 

VO2 max, or maximal oxygen uptake, is one factor that can determine an player's capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. It is measured as "milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight."

This measurement is generally considered the best indicator of an player's cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.

 

How to Perform the Cooper Test

To undertake this test you will require:400 metre track, Stopwatch, Whistle, Assistant.

This test requires the athlete to run as far as possible in 12 minutes.

  • The athlete should perform a standard warm up.

  • The assistant gives the command “GO”, starts the stopwatch and the athlete commences the test.

  • The assistant keeps the athlete informed of the remaining time at the end of each lap (400m).

  • The assistant blows the whistle when the 12 minutes has elapsed and records the distance the athlete covered to the nearest 10 metres.

 

Calculating VO2max

An estimate of your VO2max can be calculated as follows:

  • (Distance covered in metres - 504.9) ÷ 44.73 = VO2max

Link to VO2max Calculator

7th October

VO2max and Football

  • Soccer players posses excellent endurance with VO2max reported to range between 55 and 70 ml/kg/min in elite performers (Bangsbo et al, Reilly et al).

  • VO2 Max varies according to playing position. For outfield players, midfielders have significantly greater aerobic power values whilst central defenders have the lowest values.

  • The game is played at an average intensity close to the lactate threshold - approximately 80-90% of maximum heart rate (Helgerud et al, Reilly et al).

  • The greater a player's aerobic capacity (VO2max), the more ground they cover during a typical game and the number of sprints completed in a game also increases (Reilly et al, Smaros et al).

  • By improving the VO2max of youth soccer players by 11% over an 8 week period, a 20% increase in total distance covered during competitive match play was manifested, along with a 23% increase in involvements with the ball and a 100% increase in the number of sprints performed by each player (Reilly et al).

Improving VO2max

  • Basic aerobic endurance training that follows the ACSM's recommended guidelines for cardiorespiratory fitness training is known to improve VO2max.

  • For elite players expecting high increases in VO2max high intensity interval training (HIIT) should be performed.  HIIT is a method of training that involves performing intervals of high intensity exercise interspersed with rest intervals of lower intensity exercise.  Generally this involves mximizing the time spent at or near to the individuals VO2max.

  • To improve VO2max your high intensity intervals should be performed at an intensity of roughly 90% of VO2max (this correlates to approximately 95% of maximum heart rate).

  • The length of each high intensity period should be roughly 75% of the maximum amount of time that you could last at this intensity before fatiguing. 

  • Rest intervals can be 2:1 for untrained players and closer to 1:1 for trained athletes.

  • During your rest intervals, you should carry on your exercise activity while reducing your intensity level to approximately 70% of maximum heart rate.

  • Time spent at high intensity during the bouts should be 20-30 mins total.

  • Perform HIIT now more than 2-3 times a week.

  • Many other factors affect VO2max: Age, Gender, Body Composition, Fitness level, Form of Exercise, Genetics.

  • Individuals VO2max will improve at different rates.

http://www.professionalsoccercoaching.com/aerobic-fitness-science/cooper-test-vo2max-calculation

8th October

 

A great example from @spursofficial on Instagram of when to play simple and when to play a complex ball. Playing in their own half Alderweireld, Dier and Trippier use simple 1 touch passing, along the floor, straight to their teammate’s preferred foot. This continues when Eriksen joins in on the half way line. Notice that the players all play the way they are facing as there is less risk involved. Once the ball reaches the last line of defence more risk can be taken on the pass. This can be seen where Alli flicks the ball with the outside of his foot. As this ball is played so quickly it doesn’t allow the Huddersfield players time to react allowing Kane to play Eriksen through. Understanding when and where to play simple and precise passes versus more difficult ones is a part of game knowledge and understanding all players should come to learn.

Other parts to focus on:
Eriksen’s movement to get in behind the defence. Showing willingness to bomb on after playing a pass is extremely important. Even if Eriksen doesn’t receive the pass in from Kane, his movement alone leaves space that Alli could roll into.

Davies movement over the far side.
Although completely uninvolved in the build up play it is Davies who scored the eventual goal. This is a testament to what can happen when you continually make runs forward.

 

'Leg Day'

For most players building strong legs can be particularly difficult, especially during the season. The most common complaint is that training schedules don't allow time for adequate recovery from leg sessions. While this may be true, there are several ways to continue gaining strength during the season that occlude problems associated with such training.

Compound Movements

There are many exercises that can be used in strength and conditioning sessions that build leg strength without directly focusing on legs. Compound movements involve several muscles working together during the same exercise. This takes much of the load off of individual muscles which will reduce their recovery time needed while still promoting strength and muscle growth. Great examples are Deadlifts and Power Cleans. We advise starting all workouts with a compound movement as: the higher weight involved can stimulate faster blood flow to muscles; they utilise several muscle groups so are great for building overall strength.

Faster Recovery

There are several ways to speed up your recovery times. For full details check out our recovery page. Leg specific sessions should follow similar to protocol to match day recovery. As a checklist you can use our Recovery Day Score Chart to improve your recovery or equally you can create your own. Key factors to consider... Sleep - Nutrition - Hydration - Myofascial Release - Cryotherapy

Timing

During the season opportunities for heavy leg sessions are sparse, therefore they must  be utilised. The best exercises at these times are high weight power exercises including: Leg Press, Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Plyometrics, Hill Sprints.

When there is less time available to recovery look instead at using sprint variations to maintain leg strength and power.

9th October

10th October

 

11th October

Recommended App

Benefits of Meditation

Reduced Stress

Research suggests that in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs may help manage stress. In fact, a systematic review of 17 MBSR studies found the program to be effective in reducing psychological and physiological symptoms of stress.1

Sleep Better

A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials for insomnia found that eight weeks of in-person meditation training significantly improved total waking time and sleep quality in patients with insomnia. 2

Happier, Healthier Relationships

A study evaluating the benefits of an in-person mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program suggests that mindfulness enhances couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, closeness and acceptance of each other, while reducing relationship distress. In fact, three months after participating in the study, couples were still experiencing these improvements.

Manage Anxiety

Anxiety currently affects about one in fourteen people worldwide. That’s 7.3% of the total world population.4 A systematic review of in-person meditation training found that 69% of the studies analyzed showed meditation practice alleviated symptoms of anxiety.

Sharpen Concentration

Findings suggest that meditating for just four days is enough to improve novice meditators’ working memory, executive functions and their ability to process visual information.

 

12th October

 

Mobility isn’t just about having that feeling of being able to move freely with less stiffness. Mobility issues can be about habitual situations that see us holding our joints in positions that can become damaging to the soft tissue around it and/or the body tissue of the joint itself.

For example many mobility issues of the hip give rise to complex hip pathologies that often lead to surgery. The same goes for the shoulder. Both are unnecessarily common and can lead to a condition known as impingement. This is typically a chronic condition that occurs as a result of mis-use or poor mobility.

Poor mobility does not necessarily mean lack of movement. It can also mean too much movement or how different directions of, or combined movements may oppose each other – that can often lead to issues with strength, and balance of strength across a joint.

Using pilates to improve mobility.

Pilates is about the CORRECT movement patterns. When you are new to Pilates, at first your body may not feel like these exercises are a normal movement as your body has gotten so used to its adapted strategies of movement.

But with practice, it gets easier and your body starts to opt for the new and correct strategy over the old and dysfunctional damaging one. Pilates exercises are healthy to your body. They will help you to discover an awareness of the elusive “core” muscles that are vital in stabilising the back and pelvis. And develop an awareness of how to move optimally. This will in turn make movement easier, increasing speed and agility. It also reduces the risk of injuries massively.

Learn more here: http://waldegraveclinic.co.uk/how-can-pilates-help-improve-mobility/

Video from @sporttherapy8232 on Instagram.

Why should players work on their joint mobility?

13th October

 

Here is a great Pilates workout for core stability. Click the pdf on the right to open it. For more pilates workouts click here: https://philip-bayliss.com/exercises.php

14th October

 

Above: barbend.com - Nick English

 

14th October

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