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Conditioning for field sports can be defined as an energy system adaptation to a given physical stimulus i.e. multiple sprints, strength and power movements. It is the most improperly-trained component of athletes today.

The energy systems do not work in isolation-more often than not player will rely on a mixture of anaerobic and aerobic energy.

With multiple – sprint, strength and power activities dominating, most field sports conditioning should be a mixture of the various energy pathways.

The proper use of conditioning is critical to an athlete’s success, not just because of the energy system adaptations, but also because it can alter an athlete’s muscular composition.  Everyone possesses a muscular composition – a certain number of slow-twitch muscle fibers, fast-twitch muscle fibers, and a percentage of convertible muscle fibers.  If the improper stimulus is used during conditioning, an athlete’s muscular makeup can actually be changed to become less efficient for their given sport.

An example would be a rugby coach, who has his or her athletes running or jogging many miles per week.  Rugby is more of an anaerobic endurance sport, not an aerobic endurance sport. It is a sport where intermittent sprinting, walking and jogging all occur.  While running may create a good aerobic base, it should not be done more than one or two times per week.

Soccer is the same; the average sprint done in soccer is between eight and 15 yards. The recovery phase may vary by position, since a defender may have to sprint and have a long recovery period, while a midfielder may have many sprints with a very short rest interval in between.  What’s done during the recovery is also very important.  A defender may be able to do a sprint and stand around before their next one, while a midfielder may sprint and do a light jog between sprints.

While conditioning is only one component to a sport-specific strength and conditioning program, it’s an important one.  For athletes who are serious about their sport, they should take conditioning seriously and train for their sport, not someone else’s.

To Improve your Conditioning: Identify the most important fitness components for success in your sport or event and then design sport/event specific conditioning and training programs that will enhance these fitness components and energy systems. “Aerobic training is very beneficial during active rest periods, for recovery sessions, fat burning, and for injured players who cannot perform high intensity training.”

Energy systems

1). Anaerobic system provides short term energy for high intensity activities i.e. explosive movements which are termed phosphagen.
2). Anaerobic 2, uses glycolysis, which plays a greater part and fuels most high intensity movements, it also produces lactic acid as a by product.
3). Aerobic energy can only supply the muscles during low to medium intensity movements such as walking and jogging

Aerobic fitness is still an important component for most fitness programme. A sound aerobic capacity is required to possess and provides a plat form for sport specific conditioning.


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