Whilst players usually love playing matches, even the most dedicated ones whatever the level, can sometimes find training a chore. Especially if the weather is wet and cold, the motivation can sometimes be lacking and it is easy to succumb to the temptation of staying at home where it is warm and comfortable.
And this year there is the added allure of the World Cup, with games scheduled just when people might normally be considering heading out to the gym, or going out for a run.
However, there are things that can be done to make training more fun and, at the same time, stay in touch with events in Qatar so not a minute of the action is missed.
As many found when they were locked down during the global pandemic, there is a range of football training activities that can be done at home, provided that there is sufficient space.
These include press-ups, box and squat jumps, butterfly pulls, muscle stretches and pulls. Many of these could be done whilst watching a game live or the highlights of a match from Qatar.
To get the maximum benefit it is suggested that each movement is practised for so many repetitions before moving on to the next one. And, to avoid tedium, the order in which exercises are performed should be varied each day.
For example, start with press-ups and box jumps one day, and single leg squats and pulls the next.
Professional footballers lift weights all year round to maintain strength. It is a contact sport so strong and flexible muscles help them absorb the inevitable amount of contact they receive.
Whilst players would normally need to go to a gym to lift the heavier weights – this should normally be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor anyway - they can also work on their conditioning at home by lifting handheld bar bells.
This again can be done whilst watching World Cup matches, although care should be taken not to get so carried away with the action that too much time is spent lifting weights. Instead, practice for two or three minutes at a time, switch arms, and rest for a while before resuming.
Some people are lucky to have an exercise bike in their own homes. Cycling anyway is recognised as an excellent way of staying fit because it boosts cardio activity, burns body fat, strengthens the legs and lower body muscles, and provides a low impact work-out.
Most bikes also allow for interval training, so that sessions can be timed, and have different gears, just like on a road bike, so that the degree of difficulty can be altered. One of the beauties of this method of football training is that if the bike is positioned in front of a television, somebody can watch an entire half of a World Cup game without realising that they have been enjoying an excellent work-out as well.
Although arguably less safe than using an exercise bike because of the risk from cars and other vehicles, road cycling is also a great way for people to train for football and it has the added benefit of being in the fresh air as well.
One of the drawbacks some people might have been that being away from home means that they might miss some of the World Cup action, but that does not have to be the case these days. There is now a range of radio shows and podcasts that can be downloaded onto smartphones and other mobile devices and either listened to live or at a later time. And, for when there is no major football tournament on, or it is in between matches, users can choose to listen to their favourite music instead.
To enjoy maximum benefit, though, it is worth investing in an excellent pair of headphones. Whilst there are many alternative available on the market, one highly recommendation model are these Bone Conduction Headphones which are available from Amazon and other major online retailers.
These are particularly suitable for sports and other work-outs because they are open ear headphones, allowing the user to stay aware of their surroundings at all times, and not become so absorbed in what they are listening to that they forget the potential dangers.
They also are designed in such a way that they stay in place over the ears and will not shift or be affected by movement in anyway, and without affecting any hats or eyewear that may be worn whilst training.
Users can also receive and make telephone calls whilst wearing them, although the recommendation is that this should only be done when the cyclist has stopped in a safe place.
These headphones are also ideal to be worn whilst running, which remains one of the best methods of football training. At the top level a professional footballer will run anywhere between 8 and 13 km during a 90 minute match, but no fitness coach would recommend them attempting to cover anything like this distance in training.
Instead, they should aim to run for not more than two to three km at a time, aiming to maintain the same intensity throughout. If this distance can be covered in less than 15 minutes, then that constitutes a good time.
Of course, the ability to sprint is also important in football, so this should be a part of any training regime.
There are various drills that can be adopted such as push-up starts flying sprints, and sprint backpedal repeats. Experts advise that footballers train sprints twice a week – but never just before a competitive game. Distances and speeds should be varied, and it is recommended that players warm-up and warm down before and after sprinting to reduce the risk of muscle pulls and strains.
Again LS1 Headphones can be worn whilst sprinting and all whilst travelling to-and-fro from the training venue. These days there is no need to miss out on the World Cup and regular football training, because both can be done at the same time.
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