PRE-MATCH WARM UP
The warm up should begin approximately 30 minutes before kick-off:
The warm up should begin with 10 minutes of running to increase core and muscle temperature. This should start with easy jogging and build up to 3/4 pace running so that the heart rate is raised to 160bpm (as measured by a heart rate monitor). The players should have a light sweat on at this stage.
Once the body temperature has been raised, static stretches should be performed for all major muscle groups. These should not be painful at all.
Following static stretches, the player should actively mimic activities that he may have to carry out in a game - i.e. without a ball, he should go through the actions of side foot passing, high kicking, jumping and heading, squatting and jumping, etc.
Once warmed up and flexible, the players should introduce a football and go through functional activities. These include heading, short and long passing with both feet, running backwards, sideways, skipping, stopping/starting, sprinting, and sprinting and turning.
In addition to this, research suggests that a three minute post half-time warm up and stretching routine may reduce the occurrence of second half muscle and tendon injuries.
POST-MATCH COOL DOWN
Over the last few seasons English football teams have introduced the practice of a cool down at the end of a training session or match. This has been influenced by the increase in foreign coaches and players in this country; cool downs have been practised for many years by European teams, most notably the West German teams of the 1970's and 80's, whose disciplined approach meant that a cool down was essential, especially during tournaments in which games were only a few days apart. Track and field athletes had previously used the cool down in an effort to optimize recovery after activity. Although there is a lack of scientific research on the physiological effects of a cool down, there are several theories on the beneficial effects that justify its use following training sessions and matches.
During training sessions and matches the body's systems are maximally stressed. This leads to an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. There is also a build-up of waste products (such as creatine kinase and myoglobin) in the muscles. In addition, the body releases hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins into the circulatory system. If an athlete simply stops after exercising, the levels of circulating adrenaline and endorphins are high and this can cause a feeling of restlessness and even a sleepless night. The waste products in muscles are thought to cause tiredness and stiffness, and it is not good for anyone to have a rapid decrease in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.
For these reasons it is thought that a cool down is beneficial. It allows a gradual decrease in temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, back to resting levels. By gently working the major muscle groups, waste products are actively removed. During the gentle exercise of the cool down the body releases hormones that counter the effects of adrenaline and allow rest and sleep after exercise. Because of the increase in tissue temperature the post-exercise period is an ideal time to stretch and improve or maintain joint range of movement and flexibility.
Players may not feel like doing a cool down after a strenuous game, but they must understand that because of the possible benefits mentioned above it is worth doing. By getting into the habit from an early age, players will be more disciplined about performing a cool down.