The OverSpeed360 Training System

The OverSpeed360 Training System

The OverSpeed360 Training System

by Prof. Angel Spassov, Ph.D., D.Sc. and Tony Capasso, Assistant Soccer Coach, University of Texas

Introducing Resistive and OverSpeed Elastic Band Training

This program was developed specifically with the needs of the collegiate soccer player in mind, although it can be adapted to players of younger ages and levels of development. These needs are the result of the fact that the level of competition in soccer has increased to higher and higher levels every year.

To strive to compete at these high levels, the soccer program must pay attention to several important areas. The first is to recruit top level talent, which is becoming more and more difficult for each college since the amount of talent is predetermined. Because of this limit in talent, great conditioning qualities must be developed in each of the athletes so that they can achieve maximum performance.

Thus, the second area that the coach must focus on is to look for new ways to make the training and conditioning of each athlete more efficient based on the limitation of time that each coach has to contend with. This is how we arrived at this time efficient way of developing the physical qualities of the athlete.

With and Without Ball Resistive/Assistive Elastic Band Training (WWBRAEBT) - How Does it Work for Soccer?

This form of training bridges the gap between what we do in the weight room and on the soccer field relating the demands of the sport. We want our players to apply their speed, strength and agility to winning possession, scoring goals, and winning games. We try to relate WWBRAEBT to game environments as much as possible. This is how we achieve time efficiency.

Keeping soccer and conditioning separate doesn't help either one as much as putting them together. The use of WWBRAEBT is done to increase the intensity (quality) of training per unit of time and the efficiency. Time as we have mentioned, is limited. WWBRAEBT allows the body to move faster than they would be able to do without assistance.

Down hill running is an example of this form of training. In addition it also provides the quality of overload by providing resistance. This is accomplished through the use of elastic bands secured around the athlete at the waist, at their center of gravity. This allows for the efficient training of strength and speed within the same exercise. This is known as resistance/assistance training.

Switching resistance/assistance can only be done if the body position of the athletes can be changed in the fastest possible manner. Practically this means that agility will be required and affected to the highest possible extent. This is the greatest benefit the soccer players can get from such training, because in the game of soccer today, above all, the most important physical quality is the agility. To create this environment both experts needed to create new unique equipment that allows switching directions in the fastest possible way.

With and Without the Ball Considerations

WWBRAEBT at Texas is done about 50-50, with and without the ball. This depends on the time of year and the intensity level we are trying to achieve. When we are working on developing certain physical qualities, such as strength and power, the presence of the ball is not an optimal situation. It also must be realized that the game of soccer is not always with the ball, since the ball is at the feet of the average player for a maximum of two minutes during the game.

When the ball is introduced, this is not technique training, as with running technique training, but conditioning training incorporating the ball. If we were doing purely technique training, the bands would not be involved since certain techniques can't be properly trained. But it allows technique training and conditioning in a time efficient manner. Athletes at a younger level need to have good ball skills in order gain the benefits of with ball training.

Goalkeeper Application

We take two approaches to our goal keeping training. Jen Renola our keeper coach teaches and trains technique with match and game related situations. This is separate from WWBRAEBT. With the bands, we are trying to develop certain physical qualities so that when they take their power step they can be more explosive. We work their footwork so they can be faster. We also do overspeed diving.

Everything they have learned from Jen technically, we try to take to the next level physically. We try to introduce enough tension to create a training effect without slowing the reaction to the point where technique starts to break down. This is something the coach should watch carefully. As they become stronger they are able to take on higher loads of tension which improves quick first step and speed of response to the ball.

The Economies and Motivational Aspects of WWBRAEBT

What makes this type of training so effective is that the entire team is able to use this program at the same time. While one person is working, the other is resting and they switch immediately. You can have groups of players working in tandem. You can introduce more complex arrangements with three and up to six players working together at the same time. An additional benefit is that communication and interaction of the players working together is increased, which is a great team building opportunity.

The team also has a lot of fun with this. They do things that can't possibly do on their own. There is a "built in response" to this training since if an athlete is being pulled at 105 percent of their speed, they have no choice but to respond. If they don't give it their best, they'll fall flat on their face. It allows the coach to get more work out of the athletes on days they may not feel like training hard. This helps to obtain consistency in training, something every coach and athlete tries to achieve.

This equipment is also very portable. Our team went to Europe for preseason, and we were concerned that after being there 10 days we would lose our strength. Especially since we didn't know what type of facilities we would have access to over there. We brought the bands with us, packing 13 of them into one duffel bag with some cones. In Europe we were able to do three, 45-minute training sessions and didn't lose any strength, speed or power going into the season. In fact, we believe we gained a little.

Resistive Running and Running Technique

If resistance is applied to the athlete while running, depending on the amount of resistance, the technique of running will begin to deteriorate. This is the case while performing the resistive aspect of WWBRAEBT. In studying world class sprinters, you can see variations in the technique of the sprinters from athlete to athlete. In this regard, there are many variations to the "perfect technique" as it is specific to the athlete. They are specific to the limb lengths of the body and the proposition of muscular strength within each muscle.

An example of a great sprinter with less than textbook perfect technique is Bob Hayes, a world class sprinter and a receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who still achieved gold medal results. Therefore, unification of perfect technique is impossible. But there are some commonalties to technique that are common to all great sprinters, simultaneous triple extension of the ankle, knee and hips, as an example. This is why improvement of the technique to improve speed has limited success. This is not to say technique is not important, as it should be one of the first issues addressed in any speed improvement program for the young soccer player.

In the game of soccer there is almost never an occasion where perfect running technique can be realized. The player is constantly fighting some external force. He or she is trying to reach a ball, kick a ball, fight an opponent for position, get to a ball, go after and perform a head ball, quick change of direction, do a slide tackle or get up and return to play. These examples, as well as countless other game related situations, negate the opportunity to perform perfect running technique.

Running in soccer often is done in resistive situations due to the opposition’s grabbing of the jersey, pushing and other contact related situations that try to create space and win possession of the ball. This keeps the player off balance. In addition, field conditions can contribute to this resistance such as wet, slippery surfaces.

This is why the soccer players should perform with and without the ball resistance training and why it’s so soccer-specific. It provides the player opportunities to overcome external forces not in a perfect running technique situation but in a functional running situation based on the realities of the game of soccer. It is even to the advantage of the player to be a little reckless with the running style to gain territory and space.

Avoiding the Braking Phenomenon of Assistive Training

Studies have shown that if enough assistance is placed on "towing" the athlete, the body, sensing danger, will naturally respond by telling the muscle to brake. This response negates the effect of assistive overspeed training.

To avoid this phenomenon, the coach must pay attention to the organization of the exercise. Here are the considerations:

• Athletes training in tandem must be of similar body mass and strength qualities.

• Athletes training in tandem should have similar speed abilities.

• The assistive aspect should be in the environment that the athlete can handle. Creating an extreme assistive, overspeed situation would be counter-productive. The assistance has to provide no more than 8-13% faster movement than the fastest possible without equipment in order to avoid “towing” the athlete and “breaking” the muscles.

WWBRAEBT Equipment Considerations

There are many products on the market that provide either assistive or resistive opportunities. The qualities that we look for in our program are a device that allows for the quick transfer from assistive to resistive qualities, and visa versa. The length of tubing we prefer is 15 feet when the elastic is not stretched. It should be able to be stretched at least twice in length and 3.5 times is optimal. A belt should be secured around each of the athlete’s waist when the exercise is done in tandem. The elastic should be secured by D rings that are able to swivel 360 degrees, allowing for ease of movement of the elastic when the athlete changes direction, which is important to our soccer-specific program. The belt itself needs to be comfortable. For obvious safety reasons it should be secured, as to prevent the belt from coming loose during activity.

WWBRAEBT Program Considerations

WWBRAEBT is done mainly in the off-season at the University of Texas, being performed two times a week. This allows for maximum intensity in doing the program. One day a week we do multi-directional exercises with the ball and the other day is done working on straight-ahead speed. In the summer, where in the college setting we have no control of the athlete’s exercise regimens, we discontinue this form of training. Coming back into the pre-season we start out again doing it two to three times a week. At this time we incorporate more of the ball. During the season we cut this back to once per week to try and maintain. As the season progresses, we may cut it back even more so the loading that this form of training present becomes less of a factor.

For the club and high school level, WWBRAEBT can be done as time permits. We recommend three times a week during the heaviest developmental period of training. But based on schedule, two days a week will still provide positive results. WWBRAEBT is best done prior to practice. This allows for the maximum amount of effect and work out for the athletes. In the pre-season we do it as part of warm-up. We start without the ball, progressing to using the ball, which gets us ready for practice.

It can also be done at the end of a training session, depending on the intensity of the session. If it’s a relatively easy session, then good benefits can be achieved, but if the athletes are fatigued from practice the benefits will suffer. If there is a heavy technical emphasis on a certain day then it will not be optimal to fatigue the athletes prior to the session. It’s a coaching decision of what works best based on the team’s own situation.

WWBRAEBT is appropriate for any level of play as long as the athletes can be effectively coached. Kids of eight, nine and ten are doing many jumping and running activities at this age. Because this form of training uses only body weight, no external loading is necessary. Its important however to present the proper process for the young athlete.

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