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1. Work rate >
2. Individualised training >
3. Team training - the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test >
4. Periodisation >
5. In conclusion
6. References >

Despite the growth of sport science within association football, and the increasing body of research on the physiological demands of association football, the training methods employed are not always based on a sound physiological basis. In England professional football still tends to be based upon traditional methods that are followed by coaches "because that's what I did when I was a player". This is partly due to a culture of hire and fire within coaching personnel that breeds fear and conservatism. Also, players are often resistant to change and base a lot of their preparation on superstition - any sport scientist who advocates a change to this routine, even if it is based on sound scientific evidence, runs the risk of being blamed by the player for an adverse effect on performance. The psychological aspect of association football should not be discounted and a manager may prefer to have a happy player with a lower aerobic exercise capacity than an unhappy player who is begrudgingly following a scientifically sound program.

Association football is also prone to fads where certain techniques or practices become fashionable. It is quite common for one team to adopt a new regime because it has reportedly been used by another team who have been successful. An example of this is the adoption of the practice of doing a group cool down at the end of each game or training session, which has been introduced to English association football by foreign players and coaches who had experienced this practice in other countries. The cool down is thought to have several physiological benefits which are believed to benefit the player's recovery but there is little documented evidence to back up these claims (Van Mechelen et al 1993).

In conclusion, it is not possible to formulate a perfect training programme for all individuals because there are too many variables caused by personal and situational differences. However, it is possible to optimise the effects of training by considering the scientific evidence related to the specific physiological demands of association football and applying this to training where possible.

References >