Pre-Season Conditioning for Team Sports.
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Pre-season is a massively important part of any team sport, it’s the period of time where a base level of fitness needs to be developed so the athletes are fit enough for the season with reducing the potential on injuries.
Metabolic conditioning of players in team sports serves a crucial role in defining and ultimately limiting their contribution to the game. Their level of fitness can be directly related to their ability to fulfil the demands of the sport and the position they play. (1)
In field-sports like; football, rugby and hockey, it is reported that the players level of fitness is related to the distance they are able to cover and the number of high-intensity efforts players attempted during matches. (2,3)
There are a number of different ways to increase your aerobic capacity.
Due to that stop start nature of field sports, this blog will use Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS) as a way to measure and program training intensity.
MAS is the maximal running speed that can be maintained aerobically for an extended period of time.
So first we need to test what our MAS score is.
1200-meter run tests-
Start by finding a big open space, if you have access to a football/ rugby pitch or running track then it will make it much easier. Place 4 cones at each corner and measure the distance between them, add the distance up and divide it by 1200m. This will be the number of laps.
Pitch dimension’s- 100m by 50m which means 1 lap is 300m. Divide 1200/ 300= 4 laps of the pitch.
The athlete will then complete the 1200m as quick as possible and the time recorded in seconds, from this the MAS can be calculated by dividing 1200m by the time.
1200m was completed in 350s (5 minutes 50 seconds)
1200/ 350 = 3.43 m/s
Now that we know our MAS score, we can plan the training session. We can use the % of MAS score to find the distance we are going to run.
If we want to run 30s intervals at 90% MAS. The calculation is (3.43* 0.9) * 30 = 92.6 meters
Then just change the interval time and percentage of MAS depending on the session.
This training plan is designed for 2 sessions a week, and can be done as a team at training for as an individual in your own time.
This is a great way to get some much-needed miles into the legs before the season starts and when it is partnered with a strength training program you will be well on your way to being ready for the season ahead.
If you would like to know more information about Pre-season training then please get in contact.
(1) Gamble, P. 2013, Strength and Conditioning for Team Sports- Sport-Specific Physical Preparation for High Performance. United States of America: Routledge. 2nd ED
(2) Swaby, R., Jones. P. A., Comfort. P, 2016. Relationship Between Maximum Aerobic Speed Performance and Distance Covered in Rugby Union Games. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(10), 2788-2793
(3) Turner, A., Comfort. 2018, Advanced Strength and Conditioning- An Evidence-Based Approach. London: Routledge.