Intensity: a fundamental parameter in training
The ability to maintain high levels of physical and mental intensity is a key concept in soccer
- Monitoring heart rate
- Borg scale based on single feedbacks
Discriminating parameters to calibrate the intensity of an exercise are:
- Number of participating players: Obviously, the individual intensity that a player is required to achieve varies according to the number of players involved. Exercises with a reduced number of participants (for instance, 1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3) have the advantage of enhancing work on repeated technical actions specific for each situation, but they hinder a complete development of collective tactics (always the primary objective!). Nevertheless, high intensity 1vs1, 2vs2 and 3vs3 exercises are most useful because they considerably increase the number of fundamental technical-tactical actions executed by the players, such as possessions per player, transmission-controls and number of tactical choices per player.
- Size of the field: Increased size of the playing area where the training session is performed markedly changes the physiological response of the body. Heart rate and blood lactate concentration are influenced in particular, as well as the perception of fatigue.
- Density (number of series, exercise duration and recovery times): Increasing the number of series, repetitions, repetitions duration and recovery times strongly affects the intensity of the session. On the other hand, radical changes of these parameters may bring about dangerous overreaching and overtraining phenomena. Therefore, any variation should be carefully balanced to reach a given objective.
- Encouraging the player: The encouragement transmitted by the coach during the practise is another element that strongly influences the intensity of an exercise and, consequently, the training session as a whole.
When the coach stimulates his players continuously the average intensity of the session increases significantly. Marked increases of heart rate are recorded, and still higher increases of blood lactate concentrations.
Finally, I would like to make an important point.