Get a headstart
“Give yourself a couple of weeks off, but then start doing light training a few weeks before the start of pre-season. Begin with plenty of running – aim for three times a week. Run for 30-40 minutes at the same pace to get your body back into exercise, building up to interval training. This involves running for 15 seconds, jogging for 15, running for 30, jogging for 30 and so on. Complete this at three-quarter pace and try doing four sets of each – so four runs for 15 seconds, four for 30 seconds.”
Keep it simple at first
“For the first five to 10 minutes get used to the ball, then as soon as you’re comfortable start expressing yourself and take a few risks. Go out there and enjoy yourself. Make sure you do all the right things and work as hard as you can to get your body in the fittest possible condition. When the first game of the season comes you want to be in the starting line-up and the sharpest player at the club.”
Hard work pays off
“Pre-season is a good opportunity to make a first impression, so put in the extra work. If you’re on your own, set up a circuit of ladders, hurdles and cones heading for goal. Use your footwork to negotiate the ladders and hurdles, then have a ball to dribble through the cones and finish with a shot. If you’re working with team-mates introduce a pass, a give-and-go or a header instead of shooting a dead ball.”
Eat smart to keep sharp
“When you’re not exercising and resting, take on less carbohydrates and focus on protein. Then when you start training you switch the focus around, but don’t overload on the carbs – build up your intake as the intensity of your training increases. Protein will also help your muscles recover. Before training I have cereal or toast, and after training I’ll have pasta or white fish for lunch. For dinner I’ll go for salad, vegetables and chicken.”
Rest to recover
“After a session you need to give your body time to recover. I like to go to the pool to do some dynamic stretching in the water and jogging on the spot to loosen the muscles. As you get closer to your first friendly, recovery becomes even more important. To speed this up, make sure you’re getting plenty of fluid in your system after training. The day after a friendly, concentrate on recovery. This could be with a light upper-body weights session, a pool session, an ice bath or maybe a light training session.”
“Before the season starts it’s important that everyone in the team knows what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re trying to achieve it. When the first game arrives, focus on what you want to do in the match. I set myself the target of being the best player on the pitch. As a midfielder I aim to make an assist, so I think about making the right pass for the strikers. Is he quick? Does he like the ball to his feet? Does he like it in behind? Once I’ve made the pass I follow it and get in the box.”
Jordan Henderson is wearing the new Umbro Geometra boot. Specifically designed for the visionary player in the team, the boot features a new ‘pass pad’ on its instep to aid control. For more details visit umbro.com
For more football tips see:
The pre-season survival guide
Gareth Bale: Boost your performance
Adam Lallana: Rest, recuperate and re-energise
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Maximise your training
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