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Here are some prep notes for how your team can stamp an impression on any opposition and be raring to go for any football game. It can also be applied to other sports too.
1. GETTING OUT THERE
Leave the changing room together, especially at away games. It's a statement of intent if you move as a unit. The time you have to warm up can vary, but there should always be enough time for this sequence and the team talk.
2. INDIVIDUAL PREP
This for the first ten minutes when you arrive at the pitch. Everyone on the team is different and have their own stretches and routines that work best for them to feel ready to play. Let your team do individual bits in the first five to ten minutes of getting out there. You can then perform the drills in step 3 together, as a big, scary, disciplined unit.
3. GENERAL WARM UP - whole team
Watch this. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/skills/7297064.stm This is broadly what you should be doing, running in pairs, in a big circle. It?ll look nothing like what the opposition will be doing and that?s when their fear, as they look over from their age-old crossing and shooting routine, begins.
2. Over the gate (5 each side)
3. Open the gate (5 each side)
4. Hand Tap (5 each side)
5. Kick out (5 each side)
6. Side Steps
7. Mock strikes (5 each side)
8. Swivel hips
9. Lunge walk
10. Revert to jogging
4. MOVING QUICKLY TO THE BALL AND SPEED WORK
At this point the subs go to warm the goalkeeper up. At this point we?re warm, we?re ready. It?s time to get the lungs open and the mind focused. It's time for THE RONDO
You'll recognise this one. Some teams already do this, but to give you more focus, we'll explain the principles behind it and what it helps us to achieve in the game.
The Rondo is Barcelona FC's favourite drill, because it teaches the importance of:
1. With the ball - keeping possession and playing the first pass you see
2.. Without the ball - winning the ball back as soon as possible
A word from Barcelona midfielder Xavi: "Rondo, rondo, rondo. Every. Single. Day. It's the best exercise there is. You learn responsibility and not to lose the ball. If you lose the ball, you go in the middle. Pum-pum-pum-pum, always one touch. If you go in the middle, it's humiliating, the rest applaud and laugh at you."
Probably the most important phase of all. With five minutes to go before kick ?off, it?s important to do some very quick running that really opens your lungs. Push it. Get yourself out of breath so that it?s not a shock to the system the next time it happens. Taste the adrenalin.
The team members should also:
- Defenders give each other some headers
- Midfielders follow your pass
- Forwards practice one-twos
Finally a few minutes before kick off, get everyone on the edge of the box to put the ball in the back of the net from a lay-off. But, as may be the case in the game, you only get one chance. Concentrate, make it count and hit the target...
6. JUST BEFORE KICK OFF
Get your whole team in for some last minute fluids, team talk and hugs.