Read via Chesterfield FC’s matchday programme
Chesterfield’s head of strength and conditioning Mal Purchase guided us through the weekly training schedule faced by players at the club.
“We start on a Monday. We’ll assess the players who’ve played and the ones who need a two day recovery will have a second day recovery of easy cycling, a bit of flexibility work – just all low key stuff for them. Then the ones who have come through the game unscathed, the endurance athletes who recover a bit quicker, will do a light session covering no more than 3,000 metres. Then the other group who didn’t play will do a tougher session, covering between 6,000 and 7,000 metres.
“We start up with a warm up; we do a lot of back mobility to start with. From the back mobility we get the bands out and do a lot of glute activation, a lot of core work and we do a lot of flexibility work and we do some light dynamics. We’ll go through some of the biomechanical movements and then they go into football training drills. Then we might have an afternoon in the gym doing some easy cycling again then we’ll get on to a lot of back mobility work, we’ll try and get the flexibility in there and at this time of the year you do get quite a few back problems because of the hard ground so we try and offset that with all the rehabilitation work we do.”
“Tuesday is usually a tough day. We’ll do a speed and agility session where we do a lot of sharp movements, I try and keep my movements pretty short because off the GPS data our sprints average out to between three and four seconds, no more than that, so I try and keep my speed and agility sessions short and sharp because that’s what we produce on the pitch; you’ve got to replicate what we do on the pitch in training. We keep them short and sharp and make sure they have plenty of rest so they can be really explosive in their drills.
“For the speed and agility session we’re concentrating on speed so I’m not really fatiguing them, I’m just working on the speed aspect so that’s why they’re getting plenty of rest so they can create the speed. Then we can go into small sided games, four vs. fours or seven vs. sevens and we get all of our fitness out of football. We measure our pitch sizes out for the number of players we’ve got to create the best working load. Then after we’ve done our football sessions we ‘ll do a bit of flexibility and a bit of core work in the afternoon on a Tuesday and we’ll take them in there for leg sessions and plyometric sessions.”
“Wednesday is usually a recovery day.”
“On Thursday we’ll have a decent session but not quite as tough as a Tuesday on there and we’ll do some reaction work then, some visual reaction work, some command reaction work and with all our rehabilitation work we’ll do some Bosu ball work, stability work, pro perception and then we go into medium sized games and a bit of game shape. Thursday afternoon some of the lads will do some light upper body and core work again in the gym.”
“On Friday we usually do a short warm up then we’ll go into a small sided game then we’ll do a bit of game shape. It’s low key on Friday because we’re preparing for the game on Saturday and for the Saturday game we’re making sure the nutrition is right to start with, we make sure they’re loading up and obviously we play on a Saturday. It’s all about the food after they’ve trained and all about the compression – sometimes we’ll use fireflies as a compex machine where we get the blood flow going round to speed up recovery. We’ll have the protein shakes to make sure they’re eating properly.
“For me nutrition is massive. Nutrition is 70% of getting your body in shape and in football you can do everything you want to create the model professional footballer with all your conditioning but if you don’t put the right fuel in them, you can’t perform. You can give 100% effort every day but if you don’t have the right fuel in your body then you may only be able to give 85% performance, so nutrition is one of the things that has high priority on the list; the way they eat, portion sizes, the balance of proteins, good fats, carbohydrates, and all your loading phases through the week because you’ve got to load up on certain foods through the week so you get a good boost at the weekend.”
“We use Football Fuels, we use pre-match drinks, which have a small bit of whey isolate, creatine, guarana, beta-alanine, and they’ve got the beetroot extract, sodium citrate and fructose/sucrose balance. Then we have half time energy gels and we have a post-match recovery drink. It’s all about fuelling, you can’t give 100% performance if the fuel isn’t in your body and every time you train if you don’t refuel properly or don’t fuel before you train you’re risking yourself injury, you’re costing the club because you can’t play because of your bad eating habits so that’s why we’re on top of it all the time.
“I’m looking at a 20 point recovery plan after they’ve played so if they tick all those boxes, they’re more likely to come back on Sunday morning or Monday morning in good shape. If they’ve had a game on Saturday we’ll get them in the swimming pool on Sunday for a recovery session with a lot of mobility movements in then the lads who didn’t play have a normal training session and that’s the full week.”