By Tim Bradbury, ENYYSA Director of Coaching Instruction
I have written on a few occasions recently about the new changes in both the USSF E and D license and the quality of the course updates. I remain convinced that the new courses are quality educational events that compare well to similar offerings from around the globe. Both the E and D course now include theory presentations on the concept of Periodization (athletic planning).
What may be considered odd about the periodization information presented is that all suggestions presented are done so with the assumption that our players are participating in only one sport, surviving only one training regime. All training cycles suggested are done so within a rhythm of one game a week and three practices, two games a week and two practices, two games a week and one practice and so forth. No training regimes are suggested for teams that play two games a day (NERP and Region 1) or three games a weekend, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. Rather than suggest solutions for this all too real and frightening situation the experts simply say, "Don’t do this".
When the discussion gets deeper and it is suggested that 90% of our players are multi-sport athletes with a variety of competitive games each weekend and a huge number of practices to get to throughout the week all discussion on training effect, rest and periodization simply ends. Coaches, parents and administrators alike simply bury their heads and plow on regardless.
We all need to have a basic understanding of the concepts of training effect, compensation, super compensation, recovery time and training load. I am hoping that the graphs below can help provide a fundamental understanding of the science involved.
Put simply the chart above explains that after intense physical activity a period of compensation (rest is required) so the body can repair and go again. When sufficient rest is allowed and intelligent planning involved a positive training and game rhythm can lead to an increase in physical performance.
Adaptation is the term given to how the body reacts to physical activity. As the graph illustrates with sufficient rest the body gets stronger. It is worth remembering in soccer terms that following a competitive game at u14 and above in which a player receives a good amount of playing time 72 hours of rest is required before the body can give maximum effort again.
Unfortunately the opposite is also true. When we give the body insufficient time to rest and then ask it to compete or train again ..."over reaching" the body gets weaker and is less able to work at a high level. When this process is repeated week after week no one is certain what long term affects may be caused.
Like myself I hope that you find the rudimentary science involved at least a little interesting. I wonder what the Sports scientists will discover when there is sufficient research and evidence to publish what happens when a 13/14 year old player has a typical ENYYSA athletes schedule, train in two sports at least twice a week, participate in one school sport each season every day five days a week and then perform in a minimum of three competitive games each weekend. I do not know any player, parent or coach that is able to follow the 72 hour rule and I wish I understood why.
On behalf of the ENYYSA instructional team my top 10 wishes for all players this season
• All remain healthy and enjoy each game.
• Develop a new skill or two this season.
• Be allowed to play without the fear of any mistake leading to yells from a coach or parent.
• Be allowed to make your own decisions within the game.
• Get sufficient rest to enjoy all your games at your best.
• Whether you win or lose leave your best on the field.
• Treat opponents, officials and teammates with respect and get the same in return.
• Learn one life lesson.
• Get to enjoy well planned developmentally appropriate training sessions.
• Learn to love sport a little more and have a coach that inspires you to play for life.