My position in football is centre midfield, which is possibly the most physically demanding position on the pitch. If your side is attacking – you have to be up there assisting the attack, and if your side is defending you have to be back assisting the defense. Consequently, you have to do lots of running so endurance is vital. You are also relied upon to win a lot of the balls in midfield, to protect the defense and start attacks. This tackling requires you to be very strong, so you can win balls and hold players off.
In my recent games it has become apparent to me that I am fatiguing towards the end of games, as my legs become tired and my heart rate becomes high indicating that I am struggling to get a sufficient oxygen supply around the body. Considering this, I have decided to make muscular and cardio-vascular endurance my main fitness aspect to improve, in my PEP. This is so I will be able to perform at a high intensity for a full 90 minutes without feeling fatigued.
Also, playing in men’s football you often come up against fairly large players who use their body weight to their advantage when making challenges. As a result of this, I have made the decision to aim to improve the strength in my legs and upper-body. In my legs, so that I can make hard, strong challenges and also it will enable me to make better challenges in the air as my jumping will be subsequently improved. My upper-body so I have the ability to hold players off and protect the ball.
So in my PEP the three components of fitness I will be aiming to improve are; 1. Muscular Endurance 2. Cardio-vascular/ aerobic Endurance 3. Upper and lower-body strength I will now go in to a bit of detail about my chosen components of fitness and related topics around them. Muscular and Cardio-vascular Endurance Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time, without fatigue.
Cardio-vascular endurance is the ability of the CVR system, to transport and utilise oxygen and other nutrients to the working muscles during sustained exercise. Muscular endurance is different to CV endurance as it involves muscles fatiguing rather than a limitation in the amount of oxygen being supplied or utilized by the muscles. However they are closely linked as slow twitch muscle fibres will ensure muscles receive a rich supply of blood to enable the most efficient production of aerobic energy.
When creating a program to enhance certain aspects of fitness, I believe it is important to consider the adaptations to the body, which occur as a result of training. A warm up should make the body ready for exercise. It can prevent injury and muscle soreness and has many physiological affects such as release of adrenaline, warms up muscles, increases elasticity and extensibility of muscle fibres and makes us more alert due to an increase in the speed of nerve impulse conduction. Warm ups also should be specific to the sports or training that follows and should be in three sections;
Gross motor activity: this is designed to mobilize the joints and warm the muscles. This should be started at a low intensity (e.g. Fast walk) and then gradually increase to a medium intensity (e.g. medium jog). This is to initially stimulate the increase of oxygen delivery to muscles and raise body temp slightly. Stretching: this is the process of increasing the length and flexibility of the soft tissues after being initially warmed up. All of these stretches for my running would obviously be aimed at all my leg muscles and with my strength training at the specific muscles that I am using. I will do stretches in order of; Static stretching – involves gradual stretching of muscles holding them in positions for 10-30 seconds with proper alignment to just stretch the main groups of muscles first.
PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) – this involves muscle contraction before the stretch in order to achieve maximum relaxation. This again would be focused on my legs muscles and is very affective. Sports Specific Exercise – the final stage of a warm up should involve skill related component where the neuromuscular mechanisms related to the following activity are worked. Cool Down: After exercise a similar process should be followed to return the body to its normal resting state. It should consist of low intensity exercise to slowly decrease CVR rates, remove lactic acid to avoid DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and prevention of muscle soreness caused by spasms/involuntary contraction. Cool downs must include stretching and low intensity aerobic activity.
Training Methods I will now go into to the methods of training I have chosen in order to enhance my specific components of fitness. A combination of training methods has an effect on a range of body systems, but specific training methods should be adopted to focus on the main component of fitness to be conditioned.