Pre-season fitness needs to be both varied and enjoyable, says fitness coach Jamie Fernandes
Fitness coach Jamie Fernandes gives us an insight in what he is looking for during the rigours of pre-season.
“As a player I have always loved pre-season because it has been a chance to showcase your physical fitness to your teammates. On my twitter profile it say’s ‘fitness is my life,’ and it’s a motto that I like to live by.
“In today’s footballing age, I have noticed as a conditioning coach, the varying attitudes towards pre-season because some like it and some don’t but this is only natural.
“Pre-season needs to be worthwhile for players as most of them do it as a hobby and are giving up their time. Fitness therefore needs to be, in my opinion, both varied and enjoyable.
“It seems that Non-League footballers are beginning to take more pride in their fitness which is a great mind-set to start off with, but the challenge is to maintain this over the course of a season.
“The priority for managers at all levels, is to ensure that the starting 11 they put out every week are fit for 90+ minutes and can compete without ‘running out of gas.’
“Managers need to trust that their players can take care of their own fitness away from training nights to ensure results but in reality, with work and family commitments this can be tough.
“This is where I would like to come in.
“Over the past few years my role as a strength and conditioning coach has grown.
“Although I am only 28 I am still playing but once I ‘hang up my boots’, this is where I would like to focus my efforts in Football.
“Already this pre-season I have been approached by 4 teams. Erith 147 and Long Lane of the Kent County League, FC Elmstead, under Danny Wakeling (who has been extremely supportive) of the Kent Invicta League and Holmesdale, in the Southern Counties East Football League.
“I would like to extend this to more teams but with the ambition of moving up to the Ryman and the National Leagues.
“Many of my conditioning exercises come from my own personal experience of fitness but they also come from my time spent as a Military Cadet in the United States where I studied for my Degree in Psychology.
“The military taught me that fitness wasn’t necessarily lifting weights in a gym but could be found in negotiating obstacle courses, running with weight on my back and conducting long distance marches.
“Many of these exercises tested me mentally as well as physically and I try to implement this aspect of fitness into my sessions.
“It is all about taking players out of their comfort zones and moving them onto higher fitness levels. The higher their fitness levels the more they can do in a game. It is all about raising the standard of football in every way possible.
“In the next few weeks, up until the season starts, I hope to travel to new teams who need some help with conditioning sessions.
“I always enjoy catching up with old friends and establishing good relationships with clubs.
“People question my motivation for this and it is a simple one. Football has been good to me over the years and I feel that I have something good to offer back.”
Jamie can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @JamieBrian1