It might be hard to hear but training twice a week is very ineffective if one wants to improve one’s physical fitness and become a professional. It’s nice that people enjoy playing sports but two training sessions a week combined with no other sport activities are not enough to affect and improve one’s performance (because the gaps between training sessions are too long and thus positive adaptation and desired changes in the athletes body are very small – that is what we know from the sport physiology). In short, if one does sport twice a week, one doesn’t do sport but a hobby. It takes ten years to learn a language if you have two lessons a week and in sports regularity and method are even more vital.
However, since it is often difficult to get access to halls and gyms, raise money to pay rents, find people willing to help with trainings and so on, two training sessions a week is sometimes all one can arrange. If this is the case, encourage the players to do other sports in their free time and strive to make the trainings as effective as possible by including everything from fitness to tactics in every training session. The following text presents some feasible guidelines.
Two training sessions a week could suffice if they are combined with individual stick and ball work, other sports, fitness training and ideally game drills, or matches played even for other than your club. As regards children, it’s good if they can manage to do other sports apart from floorball, like athletics, gymnastics or swimming. The more sports they can do, and the more they move, the better for them.
It is recommended to start the training approximately 30 minutes before entering the hall (the time depends on the category and level of the team). In those 30 minutes the coach can acquaint the team with the contents of the training and its aims and the team can warm up outside or in the space adjoining the hall. The coach can also evaluate the last match, analyze video from the match, etc. All these activities can be done outside the rink before the actual training starts.
Elite teams often start the training even one hour before they get to the game to study the training content plan and warm up properly. If the players know exactly what to do, why, and how, the training can be done in higher intensity with shorter breaks because no long explanations between the drills are needed. As the warming up, the final cooling down, stretching and training evaluation can take place outside the rink if there is enough space in the hall or gym. As a result, players can easily do with only one hour in the rink. Although the warming up with appropriate clothing can be done outside under almost all conditions, it is not true about stretching (you need warm environment and dry and flat surface for this) and so if there’s no space in the hall the coach should rather let the players do the stretching themselves at home.
During the training the coach should organize the drills in such a way that there is no idle time between them or between the players practicing them. The effectiveness of every drill can be measured by clearly stated parameters. First of all, it is the contents of the activity, which should be adapted to the age and level of the players. If the drill does not work well – it is too easy, the difficulty should be changed by for example including another defending player or obstacle or a compulsory element (a spin with the ball) or by reducing the space where the drill is taking place. Drills can be also simplified if necessary and according to the needs. Junior and youth training drills should take place in smaller spaces than those for adult trainings. Since space and the number of players are important variables, 3 on 3 match in a suitably reduced space is much more intensive for all the participants.
Apart from the contents of the activity, the basic parameters are:
- duration of the work interval
- length of the rest period
- number of repetitions
- work intensity
- ways of recovery
Let’s take the example of a notorious exercise called “corners” – see the picture:
It will take every player approximately up to 4 seconds to do their part. The work to rest ratio according to the picture is 1 to 8 (because we have 8 players) so the length of the rest period is around 30 seconds. The work/rest ratio in seconds is therefore 4 to 30 seconds. If the whole exercise takes 4 minutes, there will be 8 repetitions for every player. After the player stops running, he/she goes through a period of rest which is more or less passive. Unless measuring of heart rate is possible, intensity of exercise is at least characterized as low, medium or high. On the whole, in this 4-minute exercise, every player passed the ball, sprinted, shot at the goal, then stopped running and took rest altogether 8 times.
In the 4 minutes, the players would do the same activities of similar intensity but the time of rest would greatly differ. In the first picture (with 16 players), there would be 4 seconds work interval followed by a minute of rest for each player and they would repeat the activities only 4 times. On the contrary, the second picture shows that in the same period of 4 minutes, the time of rest would be only a quarter of a minute and players would repeat the activities approximately 16 times. A small difference in organization but a great difference in effectiveness!
To increase effectiveness, the players would have to move more and do more in the same time period. To achieve this you can introduce individual activities with the ball during the period of rest or divide the players into two or more groups. The first group (a half of the players) would do the exercise twice as much intensively and they would do the same number of repetitions in 2 minutes instead of in 4. The players in the second group would do another activity, for example passing drills or slaloms. Then the two groups would swop and thus in those 4 minutes the players would do the same exercise plus some slaloms or passes. We can push it even further. In the drill which you can see in the last picture there could be twice more players doing the same exercise. And these are the reasons why it is good to watch effectiveness!
In short, training in small groups is much more effective and that is the reason of the growing tendency to include group methods in the training of sports games. The coach organizes the groups according to the experience of players (fitness training) or positions (tactics). In northern countries this trend is very popular. For example, the European champions in basketball did not have a single collective training apart from the actual playing for four weeks (preparation + European Championship) – they did all the training in groups. The most effective type of training is surely the circle training, which is ideal for improving fitness as well as individual technique.
Here we can see two pictures of similar exercises. The numbers of players are the same but the contents of the second exercise are different – the players run out of all the four corners all at once. Consider the difference in action of the players and decide which type of exercise you find more effective.
One of the major activities of a head coach is to watch and analyze the training process and then discuss its contents as well as action of the players. The action of a player can be easily tested by choosing one player at random and measuring the exact time when he/she was moving during the whole training. The result will show the time of action in comparison with idle time, which should be used to re-organize the training.
A coach’s biggest enemy is the stereotype! A search for new impulses and methods is essential to training as well as ample time for relaxation, self-education and inspiration from matches of other categories or from other sports. However, having some free time is also important and for that reason coaches should not train more than one category and one team if they are to provide high quality coaching. The use of group methods requires good assistance, so let’s hope the number of teams trained by more than one coach will grow.
Image: Martin Flousek, xflorbal.cz