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”Halfway through the season you can say whether a preparation has been successful”

Rick Rietveld will start working as an exercise physiologist at Feyenoord next season. Rietveld, like Arne Slot, also came from AZ to the stadium club. In Voetbal International he explains exactly what the preparation of a season looks like. The challenge is to keep the players fit for a season with perfect preparation.

“We look at when the first competition match is played, from that moment we calculate back. The competition start is usually the benchmark, then players have to be top fit,” said Rietveld. “Big clubs have to deal with players who play international matches and have longer holidays. We have to take that into account. Other players are there from day one and boys who come from another club still have to be familiarized with.”

Players can keep fit during their vacation by sticking to the prescribed exercises that the club gives for one hour per day. The real preparation for the competition starts after that holiday and consists of two phases. “In the first, we build up the training load. That takes about three weeks, during which a lot of training is done, sometimes even twice a day. They have to become fitter and more resilient.”

“During practice matches, most players will participate for half or at most an hour. If the selection consists of a large group, everyone has to get their minutes. In the second phase, the focus is on match fitness and peak moments. The peak moments are often the practice matches with serious opponents. The resistance is greater in this area. Players participate more often for ninety minutes. Then they slow down for a while.”

Periodization ultimately remains a magic word: not overloading the player too much and not too little. “That’s how you lay a foundation for the rest of the season. It’s crucial, at team level and from there per individual. Players must also have moments of rest, otherwise they will get on their gums. They have to be fit, but also stay fresh “It is precisely that freshness that is the balance between training and rest. Without rest, players cannot recover. Good preparation ensures that a selection is ready for the entire season. That is why you can only say halfway through the season whether a preparation has been successful.”

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