Exclusive Coach Interview Adam Owen Pre-Season Training, Periodization

Exclusive Coach Interview...

with Dr Adam Owen, we ask him about:

Pre-Season Training, Periodization, Should Conditioning be All Football Specific? + more...

Hi Coach,

As many of your already know, Dr Adam Owen is a World Leading UEFA Pro Licence, Sport Science and Fitness Coach for Wales National Team & newly appointed as Assistant 1st team Coach at Lechia Gdansk.

He is also the Author of bestselling books:

Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientific Approach - Speed & Agility | Injury Prevention | Periodization Training | Small Sided Games

I hope you find the Interview Interesting and beneficial!

Dr. Adam Owen
Dr Adam Owen
Sport Science / Fitness Coach - Wales National Team

1. For what age group should coaches start to implement conditioning training into their sessions?

Having held many positions over the years from academy level through to 1st team senior levels, there was a large emphasis placed on developing speed, agility and strength at youth level of children around the Under 9-10 age groups.

Obviously, children are not mini-adults and should not be placed under the same demands as senior players, however, there are key things that can and should be done alongside the maturation stages in order to maximise physical development.

2. Should conditioning be all football specific?

This is a question that always comes up and I suppose it depends on the coaching philosophy you have as a coach. I prefer to perform conditioning aspects with the ball as much as possible, within a tactical strategy based on how we will look to play in the next match. However, that’s not to say I don’t include specific exercises to stress certain energy systems without the ball!

3. How does a knowledge and understanding of science affect the performance aspect?

From my perspective, it’s vital to have a generic knowledge and understanding of performance aspects. The game has become and continues to be more professional, with the finances available for success becoming greater each year.

I firmly believe the days when the manager had no involvement or understanding of the physical development aspects of the players has gone - they no longer leave it all to the fitness staff. Managers and coaches must have an understanding of training load management, injury prevention and how various sessions impact the readiness and preparation of the players, due to the fact they are responsible for the match day performance.

4. How important is Periodization for performing at an optimum level consistently?

Periodization is a term that is often used and in a lot of cases misunderstood from my perspective. It is basically a term that was developed many, many years ago in the old Soviet Union with the aim of balancing a tapering or decreased training load strategy with a progressive overload (increased training load) on athletes to ensure they peaked at a given time in the future. The Football Conditioning books outline how to implement Periodization into your training to achieve optimum results for your team.

Within football, players need to peak once or twice per week as all games are important and they are all worth 3 points! From my perspective, the key is to ensure performance dips are kept to a minimum and fitness elements are developed over time, with the long-term vision of the players upheld - especially in the earlier ages groups.

5. You put a lot of emphasis on small sided games - can you explain why implementing small sided games is so pivotal for fitness training?

I have spent a lot of time researching the impact of various sided games on amateur, youth and professional players to see how they adapt, recover and potentially improve performance through the use of them in training.

The exposure of players to various sided games throughout the course of the training week can have an extremely positive response on the players from both a physical and technical point of view. Different player numbers, area sizes and possession rules significantly affect the demand placed on the players in these sessions and as a result, influence the training response of the players in various ways. All this is highlighted in the book.

6. What are the main aspects of injury prevention?

You cannot prevent all injuries, but you can reduce the risk of soft tissue or non-contact injuries. As a coach, understanding the recent science behind this topic is key, as you will start to see how training load management and the total output on the pitch are directly linked to certain types of injuries. Coaches have to take responsibility for these types of injuries as 90% of the time it's the coach who manages the on-pitch training content.

Performing strength and conditioning, core development and functional strength exercises (all included in the book) will assist in maintaining a healthy conditioning state - however, if the pitch training content is wrong or too much/not enough then generally we are adding more load to the body at the wrong stage.

7. How important is it as a coach, to adapt practices and create your own ideas?

I think it’s very important to establish your strength and weaknesses as a coach and develop your own ideas, changing exercises to suit your needs and coaching style. However, as I said before there are not many sessions being performed that other coaches have not done and as a result, it’s about how you as a coach deliver the session, engage and create that buy-in from the players. They need to understand the key principles of the session and how that fits with the strategy of the upcoming match.

8. Do any of your football conditioning principles change when training players at a lower level? If so, what are the main differences?

Each level of players you work with have what we call a specific ‘training age’ and this is different based on athletic competency or their previous exposure to exercise or sport. The principles within this book can be developed across various stages of play from youth, semi-professional, professional and elite.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that principles needed to be changed, however the expectation of technical and physical performance across levels would obviously differ.

9. Do you have to have a scientific understanding to benefit from reading your work?

The key to the development of my work is to ensure that we appeal to managers, coaches, players, physiotherapists, sport scientists and fitness staff across all levels and abilities.

The scientific language in the Football Conditioning books is certainly toned down to ensure a smoother read and the key integration of infographics to summarise the text lends itself well to the simplicity.

10. With pre-season training approaching, how will these books help coaches and players prepare for the new season?

These books will allow coaches and players to understand the key physical elements needed to be stimulated, in order to improve different fitness aspects. We provide examples of practical drills and sessions that can be used, but also underpin everything with scientific evidence and a history of success.

11. Can this be applied to coaches/players at different ages and levels?

Yes, the fact that the human body responds to training in a similar way ensures that the content of the books is applicable across various levels, ages and abilities of play.

Download the PDF Version of this Interview + 4 Practices
4 Football Conditioning Practices from UEFA Pro Coach:
Football Conditioning - Speed | Periodization | SSGs Football Conditioning - Speed | Periodization | SSGs
Football Conditioning - SSG Football Conditioning - SSG
Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientific Approach
  • 352 Pages
  • 130 Topics
  • 54 Practices
  • 24 Exercises
  • U15-Pro Level

Get your copy
eBook Version Also Available:

Customer Reviews
excellent books
"Two excellent books that I would highly recommend for all soccer coaches . Drills and the articles written are easy to understand. Regards"
Very detailed
"These two books are based on decades of solid research. They are not just books based on opinions, but facts. Exercises are included to make the reader understand more the concept of conditioning and how it can enhance a team's performance to play high level football throughout the season."
A modern coaches definite
"A fantastic addition to my library, well presented, clear and concise. A modern coaches definite.."
Very informative
"A very informative set of books that leaves no stone unturned in detailing all the modern football techniques within fitness and tactics. Highly recommended for experienced coaches and beginners alike"
One of my favourite books
"Adam is a fantastic professional, and in this book put is vision about the combination of scientific and the practice. Is one of my favourite book. Recommended for all how work in soccer."
Read all reviews
Book 1: Fitness Training | Speed & Agility | Injury Prevention:
Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientifc Approach
  • 196 Pages
  • 51 Topics
  • 24 Practices
  • 24 Exercises
  • U15-Pro Level

Get your copy

eBook Version Also Available:

Topic Examples:

  • Total Distance Covered in High-Intensity Running
  • The Different Physical Demands for Different Playing Positions
  • Strategies to Improve Running Economy
  • Repeated Sprint Ability (RSA)
  • High Intensity Interval Training
  • Injury Prevention Techniques Used in Football
  • Training Load Management: Reducing the Risk of Injury

Practices including:

  • Coordination and Agility with One-Two Combination Warm Up
  • Quick Reactions and Changes of Direction in a Speed Exercise
  • Speed Endurance and Explosive Power in an Attacking Combination with Finishing
  • Speed Endurance in a Quick Break Away Functional Practice With Finishing
Book 2: Periodization | Seasonal Training | Small Sided Games:
Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientifc Approach
  • 156 Pages
  • 79 Topics
  • 30 Practices
  • U15-Pro Level

Get your copy

eBook Version Also Available:

Topic Examples:

  • Training Periodization and Fatigue Management in Football
  • Effect of Interval Training on Physical Fitness and Fatigue
  • Intermittent (Stop-Start) Exercises
  • Training Principles / Methods
  • Repeated Sprint Ability: Recommendations for Training
  • Physiology of Small Sided Games Training in Football
  • Periodization of Small Sided Games

Practices including:

  • Continuous High Intensity 3 v 3 Duels
  • High Intensity Pressing and Quick Shooting in a 4 v 4 Attack vs Defence Practice
  • End to End Possession and Intense Pressing (3 v 7) in a Transition Game
  • Pressing to Win the Ball Back Quickly in an 8 v 4 Transition Game
  • Quick Break Attacks in a 3 Team Small Sided Game
What People say about Adam Owen Ph.D:
Walter Smith

Walter Smith OBE (Former Rangers FC Manager):

‘’Coaches, at a range of levels, will enjoy the content of this book and be able to integrate the key findings into their training. Maximising the link between the technical, tactical and physical aspect of the game has seen an increased use of technology, analysis and specific personnel to ensure performance levels are maximised, and player injury is minimised. As a result, this book encapsulates these topics and highlights the fact that Adam is one of the most innovative performance coaches, underpinning sound football specific practice with scientific knowledge.’’

Adam Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal FC and Wales):

‘‘Having known and worked with Adam for many years at International level, he is someone I enjoy working with and I have benefited in many areas of my game due to his methods and knowledge. I look forward to working with him for many years to come.’’

Steven Davis

Steven Davis (Southampton FC and Northern Ireland Captain):

‘‘Adam and I worked together for many years during a significant and successful part of my career. His knowledge in his specialised area, and the philosophy he implemented from a science and performance aspect within the club (Rangers FC) was excellent. As a result, it led to an improvement in me as a professional.’’

Prof. Del P. Wong

Prof. Del P. Wong (Football Science Researcher):

‘‘Adam’s main strength is the ability to link cutting edge science to the on-field performance to stimulate a different thought process as highlighted throughout this book. Attaining the UEFA Pro Coaching Licence and a Ph.D degree, is a rare but very impressive combination which make him very unique in our field. The information provided within this book highlights the link between the science and on-pitch coaching.’’

Meet the Coach & Author
Dr. Adam Owen

Dr. Adam Owen

Currently the Wales National Team Sport Science and Fitness Coach, Football Research Scientist Consultant at SL Benfica (Portugal), Assistant Coach and Head of Performance at Servette FC (Switzerland) and Associate Research Scientist at Claude Bernard Lyon.1 University (France). Assistant 1st team Coach at Lechia Gdansk.

Previous positions have included the Head of Fitness and Performance at Sheffield United FC (England), Head of Sport Science and Performance at Rangers FC (Scotland), Head of Fitness and Science at Sheffield Wednesday FC (England), Head of Sport Science at Celtic FC Academy (Scotland) and Technical and Fitness Coach at Wrexham FC Academy (Wales).

  • UEFA Professional Coaching Licence
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Sport and Exercise Science
Meet the Assistant Author
Alexandre Dellal

Dr. Alexandre Dellal

Dr. Alexandre Dellal is one of the most highly regarded football research scientists within the game. He is currently Head of Physical Preparation at French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice, whilst also holding a research position at FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Centre Orthop├ędique Santy in Lyon, France

He was previously at Olympique Lyonnais as Head of Physical Preparation and has also worked at International level with the Ivory Coast National team throughout their successful African Cup of Nations period. A very active researcher in the field of sport and football science, he has numerous scientific journal publications, books and on-going research projects.

  • UEFA A Coaching Licence (French Football Federation [F.F.F], Clairefontaine)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Sport Science
Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientific Approach 2 Book Set - Speed & Agility | Injury Prevention | Periodization Training | Small Sided Games
Football Conditioning: A Modern Scientific Approach Your Chance to Learn from a World Leading UEFA Pro Licence, Sport Science and Fitness Coach.

Apply Modern Coaching Methods and Football Science Principles to Develop your Players All Season Round.

130 Topics     Level U15-Pro     54 Practices     24 Exercises

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  • eBook: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
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