Thoughts on Charlie Francis and soccer

I’m curious as to which teams-either professional or national-advocate true speed training-under alactic conditions?

I guess it’s more difficult for national teams to have their athletes under a specific program very long since their players spend so much time in their careers with their professional clubs.

Is this a more recent trend of players/coaches using true speed training/development in the training of the players or has it always been present, if even in smaller numbers?

Back to serious matters, maybe a few others on board can give experiences. It appears in the US, the consensus is the “specificity” issue. These goofy courses are set up to try to mimic one of the 1 million possible sequences involved in a match. Yes players have to jump over tackles at time, go up for headers, make aggressive checks etc, as Charlie had pointed out, save those skills for pre-season when team tactics and technical work becomes important. Let off-season work be more general. Improve fitness via tempo, speed, strength, lots of med ball throws etc and players will out perform others. I have seen it in dozens of cases for the past few years now.

A story from this past week from a local university “S&C.” I work with a player at this school, and she has been busting ass with me since April. She attended a “hard session” at school last week “to see if she has been doing any work this summer”(is the quote from the S&C). Supposedly the girls with s&C have been “busting their asses,” running 5 miles a day, lots of agility cone drills blah blah blah.

From reports of this training session, these girls saw nothing but my girl’s butt as she ran by them in everything they did and left the S&C speechless, and the players literally asked her what she has been doing. :cool:


That is fantastic!! Could you give an outline what you have been doing?

True alactic speed work is very rare.

Occasionally it’s done with players returning from rehab or injury, but not with team players really in the team setting.

As for actual speed work as I’d define it - probably never!

But you must remember the time constraints in soccer are huge and far greater than most realize, so the time available for it are limited anyway (whether or not you use the hurdles and toys!).

I worked with a quartet of female players from one of the premier clubs around here a couple of years ago.

They too were subject to 1-2mile run tests and the like.

All the training I programmed consisted of speed work, explosive med ball, power speed, tempo, cardiac output, calisthenics, conservative general weight training, and a small volume of specialized preparatory training.

In the spirit of Charlie, the the bulk of the training was geared to improve max output in favor of operational capacity; as the tempo took care of a certain degree of capacity. anyway. Although, I did introduce alactic capacity as the season drew near.

At any rate, of the four girls, they are now playing at Penn State, Ohio State, Youngstown State, and Dayton, respectively.

let me read back through this will either post here or on my soccer thread…

also i have left the newcastle jets and now work in new zealand with the wellington phoenix team

Over what distance?.

In the short term she maybe leaving them behind but the game is played over 90 minutes.

Has she really developed great stamina doing short burst tempo’s.

She can do 40x100m tempos in under 18 sec with 35 second rest, can also do double big circuit in under 18sec/36 second, can run under a 14 min 2 mile. She is plenty fit.

But I guess since I am not running these with her then my program isn’t very good, since I can’t possibly understand what she is going through. But since I have 6 girls at 6 different colleges who all have their teams fitness test records, I obviously don’t know what I am doing.

What is a short burst tempo?

Why would it be so hard to believe that the program ESTI outlined could be effective?

I think it highly likely that a player could benefit from such a program and derive most of their specific conditioning from any skill development sessions, scrimmaging and most importantly, games.

Thanks for the detailed response ESTI. Re: your last paragraph, I wonder if the s & c guy was also asking what your girl had been doing as he’s the one who really needs to know what type of program helped her achieve that condition.

This actually is a bit personal, since I applied for his job and was never interviewed. He knew about this etc. The girl doesn’t like him either, so we say we are doing secret Russian training programs :smiley:

Well, even if you did not get the job, you got the job done, so to speak :).

Just curious, is this in Michigan?

Yes, a college near Auburn Hills.

I used to live in Troy and Rochester-many years ago. Though it is unrelated, one of our current athlete’s sister (whom I’ve never met) was an ATC at Oakland univ.

Small world, I live in downtown Rochester. My wife played hoops there from 2000-2003.

I last lived in Michigan in a development about a mile or so behind the K-mart-for lack of better landmark.

We ate many burgers at Knapps growing up.

Originally Posted by mighty
I would be interested to read detailed case studies into the injury history of Owen Hargreaves (Man Utd), Louis Saha (Everton), Ledley King (Tottenham) and Micheal Owen (Newcastle Untied), including all attempts at rehabilitation, physcial preparation and the Physios’ opinion on the matter.

I have very recently had the chance to personally work with one of the aforementioned players.

From the information I collected,due to his extensive injury history,the player does not do any additional training,the matches themselves being his only mean of training,supported in the days in between by extensive recovery and regeneration sessions.
This routine has mananaged to keep him at his top level football performances,and part of top and National Teams,but it never never allowed him to stay injury free.

I thought it could fit here as a further stimulus for thought and discussion.

Do you know of any of the training done in the off-season for the player in question or any of the top players/teams?

I know for a fact many Premier league players supplement all sorts of crap to enhance performance. There also constantly enhancing pulls, strains, tears etc also.

Kieron Dyer was a fan of creatine, nuff said. Masses of extensive injury history.

None for the player mentioned above.Only some pool and plenty of recovery and regeneration work with physios.
More or different than that seemingly only makes managing the player’s career even more troublesome.
I am posting this here as it may represent an extreme case,and for this very reason should induce some thinking and discussion.

When Charlie was in Florence last year,he made one point very clear to a few professionals involved in different areas of world top soccer:the main stimulus is and will always remain the game itself,and everything else,from tactics,to training,to recovery and regeneration and even rehab and prehab sould be carefully planned around that single stimulus.
Especially when a team plays 50 to 75 90+ minutes games over a 10 months time span,and some players are called upon to play and win another 7 games to the World Cup victory right after that.
Off Season for them is a ten to fifteen days well deserved vacation!