Tips of the Football Coach: Technical conditioning work of professional players

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Many football coaches, both in youth and professional teams, focus the physical training in developing Resistance and Strength skills, in some way, leaving aside such an important issue as technical Coordination in association with Velocity. Without a doubt, this is a big mistake.

In the initial stages, advances in Velocity are mostly reached after working at particular Coordination, more than boosting Strength. So, Coordination and Velocity get together with Strength, Resistance and Flexibility, as the bunch of Basic Physical Skills. All of them are interrelated, and player’s performance is directly influenced by them.

For that initial stage of formation, the work on technical Coordination must be very universal, trying to make the player experience as many different situations as possible. Gradually, specialization appears, so that, technical gestures are trained in a more specific way facing the definite learning process.

When he gets a bit older, the player gives more importance to the training in perception of space and time, being much more precise at his technical skill, getting closer to the real game. In the elite stage, the professional footballer has acquired a background in technical automation, skilful but improvable. Already in this final stage, there must be reminder sessions of universal training about every coordination skill.

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It is true that we, as coaches, try to focus the main part of our work in field players. But we must not forget goalkeepers! All the professional teams, of course, count on a specific trainer for them. This is something absolutely reasonable, as hand actions require a different workout to the rest of the squad. There are many points to improve: resistance, flexibility, reflexes, potency, velocity, ball lock, saves, deflections, prolongations…

Switching to the rest of the field players, we could sign five specific tasks in technical work:

1) Ability both static and dynamic

In our previous article, we wrote about the success of the combinative game. But we must never forget the importance of the individual shape, in feints, dribbling and ball domain. The collective performance can always be benefited by one lonely player’s technical gesture.

2) Shot

It must be considered, for its execution: how the action previously comes, player’s previous situation and the kind of shot (depending on how the ball comes, low or in a lob). It is important to try and occupy every zone and in shooting chances, show confidence. In training sessions work on executing velocity without and with opposition, in different situations.

3) Header

Touch, that varies depending on contact surface: frontal, to create potency and direction; front-parietal, after neck turns; parietal, for deflects; occipital, in prolongations. To make a good gesture in a header, it is important to: place yourself in ball’s trajectory; to vault your body and neck backwards, before strongly pushing forwards when striking; arms forwards and bowed before contact; to strike the ball at the precise point; to keep your eyes opened and not to close them in reflex. Once we hit the ball, our body and neck follow its trajectory.

4) Orientation

Control, a key element in modern ideas of the game, as it contributes in ball circulation velocity, not being totally stopped to face the following action. The ball is controlled and oriented after only a touch, which needs to be very precise.

5) Ball drive

It means the technical action in which the ball can roll all over the pitch, its training in sessions must include exercises without and with obstacles and of course, domain of both inside and outside surfaces, sole and instep.

We hope to be useful after this resume of work in Coordination and Technical Conditioning, just to refresh the importance of this point in the development of the modern game in its professional field. Nowadays, every skill is interrelated, and so we will talk in the next article about the role of Physical Training.

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José Antonio Gómez de la Fuente has been working as a youth team coach in one of the most renowned football club in the world – Atletico Madrid. He works as a youth team coach and regularly  manages and collaborates in different youth formation schools projects of the esteemed club. He represents a modern type of a football coach, by being formally educated, multilingual, ambitious and eager for new knowledge and training approaches and perfectionist on a football pitch

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