Grassroots football is not elite football. The players who appear on television competing in the best leagues in the world have specific training. Football players at training age need other training. Another physical preparation. Another intensity..
It is not enough to replicate what is learned in elite coaching courses. You have to adapt the sessions to the age of the players. For this reason, we explain what physical preparation in grassroots football should be like. What you should know. How you should work on it. How to manage training sessions.
Player characteristics in grassroots football
Grassroots football players must fall in love with the sport. They are in a formative stage. They can love or hate football depending on how they train. That is why coaches must take care of the sessions. The boy’s or girl’s future in football depends on how well their qualities are worked on.
To do this, you have to know the characteristics of grassroots football players. Because they are not those of an elite footballer. Not even amateur ones. Tools such as dumbbells, ladders, long sprints, etc. can never be used. To adapt the sessions is to train the people of the future.
The general characteristics of grassroots football players vary. Boys and girls may be at different physical maturity levels. It does not matter how old they are, but how developed they are. Their bones and muscles are not fully formed. They do not have full cardiorespiratory endurance.
It should also be borne in mind that they do not stop growing. The process is continuous. Finally, it is important to know that children have a very high capacity for learning and adaptation. Especially in the initiation stages. Once these general characteristics are known, it is necessary to know the specific ones.
There are four specific characteristics that need to be known. Above all, know how they develop. Flexibility is a quality that degenerates from childhood. Young boys and girls are more flexible and can be worked on on this basis. On the other hand, strength cannot be worked on until adolescence because of the lack of muscle and bone development. They can compromise the development of the boy’s or girl’s body.
Speed is highest when they reach a specific level of physical maturity. From that moment on, it tends to degenerate. Finally, it is not advisable to work on aerobic endurance until the age of cadets. Boys and girls must evolve first in order to be able to work on this quality without problems.
What should be worked on at grassroots level?
Now you know the characteristics of boys and girls in terms of their physique and development. Now, it is time to know what to work on in grassroots football. What should be promoted to encourage the correct physical and mental development of the player. And what not to do in training sessions.
Grassroots football covers a wide range of ages. From three years old to 18. From cherubs to youths. So it is also necessary to differentiate between working with a group of 5 or 6 year olds and a group of 14 or 15 year olds.
Categories of initiation
The initiation categories are cherub, pre-benjamin and benjamin. In these categories, no physical work should ever be done. The children are in the middle of their physical development. They change very quickly. Therefore, shooting, ball handling and passing sessions should be carried out. Simple and easy to understand. Although the important thing is that they enjoy playing with their teammates.
From the juvenile to the first year of cadets are considered intermediate categories. Here you can start to work on physical fitness. Do some sessions with sprints to improve speed. Or games where reflexes are important.
From the last year of cadet to the last year of youth, these are known as competitive categories. The player’s body is now entering the final stage of its development. They reach adolescence and this allows them to train their physical qualities. Aerobic endurance, strength, speed and flexibility.
How to train in grassroots football
Coaching in grassroots football is very different from coaching in the elite. Now you know the qualities of the boys and girls in training. And their different ages. Now we will offer you some tips for training sessions so that players can develop healthily and have fun with their teammates.
Qualities to work with
The sessions must focus on perceptual-motor qualities in order to work properly. There are four fundamental ones. The first is coordination. This is the ability to sequence several movements in sequence and efficiently. Another is balance. It means the stable action of the body.
The third is agility. This is the ability to perform exercises quickly and skilfully. Finally, rhythm. It is the ability to perform continuous and sequentially ordered movements in accordance with a set pattern.
Exercises for working
You can work with different exercises. You can do sessions to perfect one of the four specific qualities. Although it is best to combine several of them in a game or circuit. They don’t necessarily have to do with football. Holding an egg on a spoon while driving a ball is a good example.
Finally, you can play games such as handkerchief or dodge ball. If you want to play football-related games, you can use the “get and go” game. The coach calls out a number and the players, separated into two groups, are assigned a number. The one who is called out runs out to shoot and score before the opponent.