Invisible training is known as everything the player does when he ends his training session until the next one begins, that is, his lifestyle habits.
The Small Details Make the Difference
Football hasn’t stopped growing at all levels in recent years.
Players are becoming more competitive, they are physically better prepared and have at their disposal a larger amount of and better means to optimise their performance.
Therefore, the small details are more important, since it will be these, in a world of total specialisation such as football, which, in many cases, will differentiate normal players from the stars.
What is Invisible Training?
This invisible training encompasses nutritional habits, hours and quality of sleep, hydration, hygiene habits, etc.
Despite its name, this training is becoming less and less invisible, because, day by day, it is shown that these factors depend uniquely and exclusively on the player and the technical details of the body that we cannot control.
What are the Benefits of Invisible Training?
They are going to be, in the vast majority of cases, benefits that affect determining factors of both the higher or lower performance of a player than their peers.
The Role of Nutrition
Because adequate nutrition favours tissue repair processes, substrate replacement (Kingsley et al., 2014) and correct hormonal homeostasis, it will be crucial for the player’s body to assimilate training loads and generate adaptations that will improve performance and reduce his/her risk of injury.
Role of Rest
A role which is no less important than nutrition is the role of sleep and rest, which contribute to the health and performance of the footballer.
We should not forget that all tissue recovery and repair processes in our body are activated during sleep hours (Nédélec et al., 2015), such as increasing the secretion of different hormones essential for tissue repair such as the growth hormone (Takahashi et al., 1968).
Therefore, it is of vital importance to also educate our players about the importance of rest and of maintaining effective sleep habits.
Role of Hydration
The third factor to be taken into account in this invisible training formula is hydration.
It is well known that more than 70% of our body is made up of water, and proper hydration therefore indispensable for the proper functioning of the body.
Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to teach players to control their hydration level and acquire hydration habits that act for the benefit of their body (Kingsley et al., 2014).
Role of Stress
Another factor to take into account is stress and daily habits.
Scientific literature has extensively studied the connection between stress and increased metabolic expenditure for the same activity (Nédélec et al., 2015), increasing general activation, secreting a higher level of catecholamines and, in conclusion, causing an over-activation of muscle fibres that will cause them to become fatigued much earlier, multiplying the risk.
Of course, we are all people and we aren’t the same everyday.
Role of Hygiene
Finally, let’s talk about a factor that, most of the time, goes unnoticed when we talk about healthy habits such as hygiene and skin care.
Footballers spend several hours a day training, sweating and being exposed to extreme temperatures.
With all this, what I mean to say is that the footballer, whether he is professional or not, is (or should be) a footballer 24 hours a day.
Therefore, all factors of this invisible training should be taken care of and monitored at all times.
- Alghannam, A.F. (2013). Physiology of Soccer: The Role of Nutrition in Performance.
- Nédélec, M., Halson, S., Abaidia, A. et al. (2015) Stress, Sleep and Recovery in Elite Soccer: A Critical Review of the Literature. Sports Med 45, 1387–1400.
- Kingsley, M., Penas-Ruiz, C., Terry, C. & Russell, M. (2014) Effects of carbohydrate-hydration strategies on glucose metabolism, sprint performance and hydration during a soccer match simulation in recreational players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports 17, 239-243.
- Takahashi, Y., Kipnis, D., Daughada, W. (1968) Growth Hormone secretion during sleep. J Clin Invest. 1968;47(9):2079-2090
- Everything you need to know about Nutrition and Supplements in Football to prevent injuries at this link.
- How to approach Football-orientated Strength Training. We tell you here.