The pre-season survival guide

Does the thought of six weeks’ training make you feel sick to the stomach? Worry not, and let six of the game’s top professionals help you get through it. Now suck it up and get to work!
The pre-season survival guide

Week 1

Block out the pain

Matt Jarvis, West Ham winger
“The key to getting through week one is to be mentally strong. It is going to hurt a lot, so the main thing is to take it one day at a time and not waste energy getting worried about it. I try to make sure that I’ve done enough in the off-season that I’m not feeling as bad as everyone else. So try to have mental strength and belief in your body. I also try to get nine or 10 hours of sleep a night.”

Week 2

Build strength

Tom Ince, Hull City wide boy
“Whenever you feel like you’ve had enough, focus on being ready for the first game; it should help you keep motivated. Tell yourself that it’s got to hurt, otherwise you’re not working hard enough. Away from training, get yourself in the gym and work on your core strength – abs, chest and legs. It will supplement your cardio work and benefit you on the pitch when riding challenges or going in for 50-50 tackles.”

Week 3

Work those legs

Charlie Austin, QPR hotshot
“I try to run as much as possible. No one likes running on a treadmill so I mix it up and get out on the road. This makes it a bit more enjoyable. I do some longer runs for stamina and endurance and some sprint drills to improve sharpness. Weights-wise, I concentrate on my legs because that’s where my power comes from. I’ll do workouts on my quads and my hamstrings.”

Week 4

Get up to speed

Ben Davies, Swansea full-back
“Just because you’ve broken through the halfway point doesn’t mean you can start taking it easy. Time to focus on quickness: concentrate on short, sharp drills that hone reactions and speed off the mark. And remember, the first yard is in your head, so start getting into the habit of knowing what you’re going to do with the ball before you get it.”

Week 5

Set targets

Salomon Kalou, Lille striker
“At this point I like to set myself targets – how many goals I want to score and create and what the team aims to achieve. I get excited and motivated by those goals. Physically I take it easy going into the season. You don’t want to get to the game while your body is not responding to any effort; you want to get to the first match when you are fresh and you feel good.”

Week 6

Start thinking tactically

Mark Noble, West Ham midfielder
“The final week is all about topping up your fitness so you smash into that first game with fire in your belly. Last season we were excellent on the opening day against Villa and had so much desire to get started – we all felt a million dollars. By now you should focus on mental preparation and tactics, not physically demanding running sessions.”

For more football tips see:
Gareth Bale: Boost your performance
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Maximise your training
James Milner: Getting the best out of training
Prepare like a professional
Thiago Silva: Get up to speed for matchday
Jack Rodwell: Get back into top gear

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