Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 14:17
I used to had trouble piecing together interval training with my ball skill sessions. As a player at R.C.Hilversum we just did all interval training without the ball and did ball skills separately. It was felt difficult to combine the two. I have worked out the following system that works great for me. The three basic ingredients are:
- Interval training scheme's written by Dave Mc Lean, fitness adviser of the S.R.U.
- Ball skill exercises from Pierre Villepreux.
- A stop-watch (I use a very cheap stopwatch from toys-r-us....).
- David Mc Lean wants a work-to-rest ratio of 1 to 1, you can use two groups, 1 working and the other resting
- work-to-rest 1 to 2, three groups bringing one ball up and down a grid
Look at this exercise of Villepreux for an example of 1 to 2:
Group B starts, crossing the grid while passing, at the end passing the ball to group A, which brings to ball back to group C. So, 1 group works, 2 groups rest. You can vary the length of the grid, or the size of the group or even add a group to change the interval parameters.
One of my favorites is where I have the groups run between the 22m lines. I do 5 series of 4 runs in a 1:1 ratio. I allow the groups to cross in 12 sec's. or less and gives them a 90 sec. rest between the series. Mind you it is the drop-off especially in the last series that counts. If players are really unable to make the 12 sec. you know your schedule is too tough. Look back in Mc lean’s file to prepare for next weeks session. Either allow for more time to cross or do less runs or series. Use the pulse count (between 100-120) to start the next series. After a while you get to know the recovery well.
If you are not to well versed on heart rate
Heart Rate (HR) is a good measurement for monitoring fitness. Not so much high and low but more how quickly it goes up when doing an exercise and going down when resting.
How to monitor HR when doing interval exercises?
Everybody can feel their pulse or what I always do: let players feel their pulse in their neck. I have a cheap stopwatch and call "start" (a normal watch with seconds is
- Players start counting
- I call "stop" after 10 seconds
- Players have to multiply by six to get their HR
- Everybody calls out their HR: listen for highs and lows average out (some players will have extremely low or could not have found their pulse, do not worry about this)
- Then, after a minute of rest repeat: the average should be much lower.
- Perhaps u15 would have a HR of 150 right after an interval training - look
for 120 after 1 min rest.
Interval training is focused at having the HR going up and down: you should learn to choose your intervals to optimize this. Difficult to learn at first!
I do not think many teams have heart rate monitors so how do you find out what the optimum rate of your team is? This what I do:
- I have all the players count their pulses (I call start - stop for six seconds interval so us rugby players only have to add a zero...) and I try to identify those players who are average for the team. These are the players that will become the thermometer for the team and I will then clock myself.
- Use the stopwatch to clock the drop-off
Learn to select the work: rest ratio's for your exercises using the tables of David Mc lean's paper. Using his interval tables result in good lactic threshold raising intensity.
- 3x3 is three series of three runs, a series could be a cross-over of a grid - rest - back - rest - cross again. Check HR immediately after third run.
- The rest during the series is your variable: if crossing takes 10 seconds and you want to work at a work:rest ration of 1:3 you rest them 30secs. You will get experience on the size of the grids and the cross over time as you go along.....
- Start the next series of three runs when HR is 100-110.
At the start of the season your team will need longer rest to make the crossovers in time: gradually the W:R will drop. Do not worry about giving the players lots of rest, focus them on quality work. Use the rest period actively: slow pace jog, ball handling skills, time to explain things, drink water, etc.
Link to the free download page to download Mc Lean’s fitness paper and the corresponding training session builder.