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Coach: In Soccer, Fast Recovery Is Key

Posted May. 11, 2006 07:08,   


With the deadline for roster submission approaching and a group training scheduled on May 14, the Korean national team has but one month to bring the players’ condition to the top. Head coach Pim Verbeek admits that the time constraint is a problem. “We had five months to train players in 2002, but this year, we have only one month. However, the physical conditioning of the athletes is at a level in which it is possible for us to make the best out of our remaining one month,” said Verbeek. Advocaat and his staff are planning a “power program” to enhance the stamina of the players.

Heartbeat and Stamina-

The main concern of a power program is to lower the number of heart beats. When two athletes are doing the same function, the one with a slower heartbeat deflates his stamina slower. The shuttle run test can assess the heartbeat rates of athletes. The heartbeat rate is checked right after a maximum exercise (67 shuttle runs) and 15 seconds after the exercise.

Guus Hiddink ordered the same test eight times from April 2001 to June 2002 when he was managing the 2002 World Cup squad. The first test done in April 2001 showed the average heartbeat rate of the athletes was 171.3. It dropped to 159.8 in June 2002. The heartbeat rate taken 15 seconds after the exercise also dropped from 153 to 140. This means the hearts stabilize faster. Park Ji-sung showed the best result, as his heartbeat was at 159, right after the exercise, and at 153, 15 seconds later.

Tailor-made Power Program-

“Early this year, we constructed a database using the test result from 2002 and the test that was done most recently. Our physical trainer Raymond Perheyon keeps the test records of the squad’s 23 players. From looking at such data, a personalized stamina enhancement program will be drawn up to fit each player. Since the current condition of the athletes playing in Europe, Korea, and Japan are all different, the remedies will also differ,” said Verbeek.

The power program will include a reflex exercise that will improve speed, agility, and balance; a power exercise that will strengthen the most frequently used muscles; and an interval training that will enhance cardiovascular endurance. Aside from the physical training, Advocaat also aims to train the squad to better understand the strategy through four evaluation matches scheduled before the World Cup.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com