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Monday, July 25, 2011

POSITIONAL SPECIFIC TRAINING

It has been shown in a number of studies that physical demands during the game vary with position. For instance, the greatest distance during the game is covered by the midfielders and the lowest by the center-backs. Wide midfielders cover more distance at high-intensity and sprinting than other players in the team. In addition, recovery time between high intensity bouts is lowest for wide midfielders and highest for central defenders (Bradley et al., 2009). No doubt, however, that central defenders need very good agility and low reaction time to follow their opponents. This information, that comes from Premier League analysis and data from other studies suggest that physical training of football players should differ according to their positional role in the team. 

To my knowledge there is only one study in the literature on the effect of positional specific training on physical parameters (DiSalvo and Pigozzi, 1998). In this study, regular training was supplemented with individual training according to the positional needs in top level players. The results showed greater improvements in physical performance in this group compared with the control group that followed the regular team’s training only. 

To my experience training according to the positional needs is important for both youth and adult players. At the highest level, however, time constraints may limit the use and thus the benefits of this kind of training particularly for players playing 2 matches per week.

Can we start positional specific training at young ages? Yes. In my opinion we can start specific fitness training from the ages of 15-16 years or as soon as players attain the peak velocity for height increase.

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