Linking fitness with the development of football skills is a topic which continues to occupy the thoughts of European football's technical community – and a pilot seminar organised by UEFA in Olso this week will examine the various facets of this theme.
Fitness for Football is the title of the seminar, which will take place in the Norwegian capital from Monday to Thursday as part of UEFA's coach education programme. European coach education leaders will be joined by fitness and medical experts for an in-depth analysis of the way football training and fitness training can be connected for players' maximum benefit. The pilot seminar is being run by UEFA's football education service.
UEFA recognises that specialist coaches are becoming increasingly important to football, and European football's governing body wishes to acknowledge this fact by staging the Fitness for Football event. The UEFA Jira Panel, a group of eminent technicians who monitor coaching and coach education developments, has studied the issue of fitness specialists with the UEFA member associations and found that concepts vary greatly from association to association.
Consequently, and following the wishes of the associations, UEFA will use the Fitness for Football seminar in Oslo to familiarise a first group of coach educators with the latest trends in this area, and to raise their awareness of correct facets of balanced football-specific fitness training – geared to achieve peak performance and support injury prevention. The participants will take part in group discussions, mini-workshops and brainstorming sessions to debate the various aspects of fitness and football.
The seminar will also serve to nurture dialogue between coach educators and fitness experts, and stimulate the associations to integrate relevant fitness elements at various coach education levels. The event will ask how fitness training can be united with skills and teamwork training, and to what extent football activities can address physical needs.
The key debating point is that alongside the nurturing of skills and teamwork, players must be fit enough to maintain their skills and teamwork in matches over an entire season. This requires football-specific fitness training that is part of the players' overall training process – which means the demands put on players in a game need to be known, along with what happens to their bodies while they are doing it.
Subjects such as desired football speed and football endurance, in contrast to general running speed and endurance, are part of the general discussion about football and fitness – together with specific football mobility training and appropriate strength training to protect against injuries. The key thinking which will be considered in Oslo is that footballers should be able to master football situations while enhancing fitness within their training at the same time.
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