This week, SPC have returned from a third successive warm weather training camp with Worthing College Men’s Football. Here we look at what they did whilst in Salou (Spain) and what are the pros and cons of such trips.
The trip was organised by David Hall (Worthing College’s Men’s Football Academy Head Coach) to allow each student the opportunity to experience an intense 4 day training camp designed to build technical, tactical, physical and psychological attributes associated with successful sport teams.
The training camp was conducted from the fantastic facilities at Cambrils Park Resort and Complex Esportiu Futbol Salou. Here the players ate, slept and trained on 3G football pitches throughout the 4 days.
The Daily Schedule
8am – Breakfast
9.30am – 1st Coaching Session (Technical Football Specific)
11.30am – Strength & Conditioning or Movement Session
1.30pm – Lunch
3pm – 2nd Coaching Session (Tactical Football Specific)
6.30pm – Match vs Local Opposition
9pm – Dinner
Movement sessions were conducted by Stephen Braybrook, an expert in human movement whilst having a Masters in Sport and Exercise Biomechanics. Steve looked at how to develop power in movements, using sequential wave dynamics, teaching the players how to get the most out of their bodies. Check him out!
SPC instructed and coached strength & conditioning sessions that were designed to work on a number of physiological components, such as activation and potentiation, to prepare the players for each training session. With the amount of training sessions performed over a short period of time, our main role was to assist recovery (mobility exercises, active and static stretching, cool and hot water immersion) whilst working on aspects of strength training that would not hinder performance (upper body and core musculature). Such training methods are applied throughout our Youth Training programme and weekly S&C sessions at Worthing College.
The Pro’s of Warm Weather Training Camps
The first benefit is physiological – it’s much easier to warm-up the body and muscles in warmer temperatures compared to the British winters which require significant warm-up periods, cutting into training time and sometimes killing motivation.
Another physiological benefit is Vitamin D exposure. Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believed so strongly in the importance of Vitamin D levels that he installed tanning booths at their training ground to boost Vitamin D and provided key players extra rest in winter to head abroad for a sunshine break.
Research shows that up to 60 per cent of athletes in the UK are vitamin D deficient, with such deficiency being linked to increased chance of illness, poor bone health, increased injury risk, and decreased muscular function and adaptation to strength training.
The second benefit is mental. Just getting out of the dark, dreary winter of the UK and into a bright environment will change the mood. Further, the change in scenery can help break up the same routines and patterns for players and staff alike and help refocus the group during the dredges of the long season.
Let’s not forget stress. Getting away with teammates in a relaxed environment helps to alleviate stressful situations that can arise from our daily routines.
Another benefit is simply time. With longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, training can also be spread out across the day rather than truncated into one shorter period of the day. This allows for training quality and consistency.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, these trips serve to reinforce the bonds between coach, staff, and teammates. You’re in close proximity with each other for extended periods of time and able to enjoy some downtime together, get to know each other on a personal level. This is critical for team cohesion and success.
The Con’s of Warm Weather Training Camps
Along with that increased time for training and quantity, comes the very real risk of over-training.
Over-training has been linked to weakening the immune system and strongly linked to increased risk of injury, with some the risk for certain muscular injuries increasing by upwards of 5,000x (that’s not a typo).
Secondly, although everyone being in closer quarters and with each other can be great for camaraderie, it’s also a potential smorgasbord of bacteria and viruses. If one player or staff member gets sick, everyone else now has increased exposure due to that closer and constant proximity.
The third risk comes from inherent risks of travel, particularly if the team is changing time zones. This will alter the body’s internal body clock resulting in changed sleep patterns and potentially impaired sleep quality.
Sleep is the foundation of good health and poor sleep has been linked to a number of issues including injury risk and illness.
The other inherent risk with airline travel is dehydration. Flying at altitude is naturally dehydrating and you need more fluids than usual to maintain the previous level of hydration.
The last risk is simply this: for all the benefits that I mentioned above, it begs the question – how does it affect the players when they get back to the dark, dreary, frigid winter?
The team now has to re-adapt to those realities after spending time in a warm summery embrace.
Worthing College students will continue to attend our weekly strength and conditioning sessions, with a key focus on peaking for final competition over the next 2 months.
As for our SPC Youth programme, our next intake of children begins on 26th February. Want your son/daughter to develop their physiological characteristics?
NB: Elements of this article were taken from Dr. Rajpal Brar (https://www.thisisanfield.com/2019/02/the-pros-and-cons-of-warm-weather-training-camps/)