FC Barcelona have arrived at the final phase of the season in optimum physical shape.
The team have shown their strength against rivals like Sevilla and PSG. Things have changed since the days Barca would be running out of steam at this point of the campaign. The methodology shift has been important for this.
The 8-2 thrashing by Bayern meant the board have changed their minds about the working method. Ronald Koeman took the reins and designed a work team which left the fitness in the hands of Albert Roca. The fitness team, medics and physios have coordinated to good result.
NO RONDOS TO START
The sessions needed more physical intensity and volume, so it was necessary to change a few things. Rondos are no longer the first activity when the players are out on the grass.
First there are activations and strength work on the pitch (jumps on one leg, rapid steps on a horizontal ladder, etc). This helps the player prepare for a greater work load, avoid injuries and be more concentrated on fitness from the start. After that the rest of the training finds a balance between volume and intensity.
Each footballer has their own state and preparation should be specific to each. Either at the club or with personal trainers, footballers should do added exercises in the afternoon. Adding micro loads of work is beneficial to gain fitness. Young players especially need more preparation. It’s not strange to see them at the training ground outside of the normal hours to work on that. This has helped them when it comes to extra-time periods, as we’ve seen.
The group has been a pleasant surprise in terms of how committed they are. They are united and the combination of both makes the work effective.
They know what they are doing on and off the pitch. At home they follow the recovery steps and stipulated diet. This is the ‘silent training’, the habits they live their lives by, and it’s working.
Technology is being valued as a fundamental tool. the use of GPS to control strength and speed is nothing new but it’s having increasing weighting in match preparation. The coaches know in detail the parameters of the players physically. Koeman rotates lightly and the team are putting up good numbers. The majority of injuries have been because of impacts - Ansu, Pique, Coutinho, etc, and muscular issues have reduced. If the staff are advised a player is an injury risk they immediately rest them or lower their workload.
There is fluid communication between Koeman, his assistants, Alfred Schreuder and Henrik Larsson, physical coach AlbertR ova and his assistants Jaume Bartres and Dani Romero, as well as the medical and physio services.
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