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A training programme is designed to improve fitness, sharpen skills and encourage team work. Many sports are seasonal, therefore the programme is divided into parts called periodisation. Some sports use three main periods: 1. Preseason – Focus on a high level of general fitness for the particular sport. – Concentrate on muscular endurance, power and speed work. – Development of techniques, skills and strategies for the particular sport. 2. Competitive/Peak season – Emphasise speed. – Practise skills at high speed and competitive situations (training circuits and practise matches). – Extra fitness sessions for strength and power for key muscles. – Adequate recovery and rest to avoid injury and fatigue. 3. Off Season – Aims for complete recovery from competition through rest, relaxation and other sports (active rest) to maintain a level of fitness. The training programme can be long-term or short and designed for a particular sport, specific level of ability, an individual sports person or group of sports people at a similar level of ability. The skill requirements, type of fitness needed, demographics (age, health, experience, etc) must be considered. The training principles, including the FITT principle and training methods, must be incorporated in planning training programmes. The components of a training session. Having decided on the programme of training, the actual training session should have three parts: 1. Warm-up The warm-up helps with mental preparation, increases heart rate and blood flow, warm muscles, loosen joints, increases flexibility and reduces the risk of injury to muscles and joints. The warm-ups must last at least 20-30 minutes and should include: – Gentle exercise for the whole body, such as jogging. – Gentle stretching to increase range of movement at the joints and prevent strains on muscles tendons and ligaments. Each stretch must be held for 10-30 seconds with no bouncing. – Specific warm-up for the activity, e.g., minor game passing the ball around. 2. Training activities This is the body of the training session and prepares the individual or team in different ways for fitness and skill development, depending on the demand of the particular sport. The training activity should include the following: – Physical preparation A fitness session, e.g., continuous, fartlek, interval or circuit training – Psychological preparation Players need a certain intensity of motivation called arousal, which aids performance. If the arousal level is not high enough, boredom sets in and performance declines. Anxiety, stress level and aggression must also be managed. The team psychiatrist will help the players to recognise and manage these problems. – Technical preparation These are the basic patterns of movement which have to be developed in every activity. Skilful performance is the product of using techniques correctly, e.g., a netball player may work through a series of practices designed to improve footwork skills. – Tactical preparation How the opponent is beaten will depend on a number of different factors. Therefore, in order to win, a tactical game plan is needed. The main tactic for most sport involves either attack or defence. The basic principles behind these should be done during the session. For example, corner or free kicks can be done by using drills and practices for each situation. 3. Cool down The cool down is where the body recovers after vigorous activity and is as important as the warm-up. It prevents soreness, keeps circulation up so that more oxygen reaches the muscles to clear away lactic acid, and loosens tight muscles to prevent stiffness later. The cool down must begin with a few minutes of jogging, then finishing with stretching exercises. Special attention must be given to the main joints used. Recovery rate is how quickly the body gets back to normal. Make sure enough time is given to recover between training sessions. If training is done every day, follow a heavy one-day session with a light session. During a heavy training period, at least one rest day must be taken per week.