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Arsene Wenger describes the Arsenal training programme and takes us through aspects such as the daily schedule, planning and preperation, and how he approaches physical v technical training.
When I signed Robert Pires, in the first small-sided training game, I put him in the same team as Dennis Bergkamp. After five minutes I knew how good he was because Bergkamp kept giving him the ball!
Arsenal are renowned for playing some of the most exhilarating, fluid football in Europe, but clearly such high-tempo interaction between the players takes plenty of practice.
That’s where the training sessions come in. Everyday during the season, if it’s not a matchday – and with a few exceptions for days off – the Arsenal first-team squad report for duty at the club’s London Colney training centre.
There, under the guidance of Arsène Wenger and his trusted coaches, the Arsenal players hone their skills for about an hour and a half each morning on the perfect playing pitches.
But what exactly does training for a modern Premier League club entail? How does the boss decide what his players will work on each day and what does he look to gain from the sessions?
In the first of an exclusive two-part special on Arsenal’s training programmes, the manager reveals what the players get up to behind the closed-doors of the training centre…
How do you decide what the training schedule will be each day? First we have a general rule where we work on some qualities every day of the week, every week. So we have a general pattern for these cycles of approximately three weeks. Then we’ll have one week where it’s a little more cool, more based on recovery. You also have to consider what happened in the last game, what do you have to work on specifically? Then you have to look at the individualised work. Everybody’s in different form, some need to work on more physical aspects of their game, while some have to work more on the technical aspects.
So we try to put that all together and get it right for the week, then the result that you get is always shown by how sharp your players are and how sharp the team is on the Saturday. Even with the vast experience I have, that’s never completely 100 per cent predictable because you can sometimes make mistakes when you want to do too well on a certain aspect. You insist on working on some areas of the game that were not right and you can spend too long working on that if you’re not careful, so it’s not easy. But of course that has to be put right before the game every week, and sometimes twice a week.
When do you decide what exercises and drills will be included? How far in advance do you work? Well I know some exercises that I will want to work on for that day’s session, but then we have meetings as well with the fitness coaches. We plan and adapt both together to get that right. Sometimes the fitness work is included within the game that I had planned for that session, or sometimes the fitness work is separate, when we work more with the ball. Some aspects of fitness can only be worked on by running, so it’s adapted every day in the staff meeting.
That’s where you get the final perfection before the training session. You sit together and speak about it in the morning, also because you know that the personnel will have to be adapted every day – not everybody’s available all the time because some players will have knocks and injuries. The medical people and coaching staff work together and sort that out before every training session.
How much do you vary training depending on the next opposition? The day before the game and even two days before the game, the intensity goes down to approximately 20 per cent of match exertion. That’s when we do the final part of the preparation which is more tactical, sometimes mental preparation. So in these last two sessions before the game, the focus is not so much on the fitness anymore. It’s more down to the mental preparation, the focus and, yes, the tactical approach too.
Read More at : Arsenal.com