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ICEF’s Holistic Player Preparation

At the ICEF, our holistic preparation program includes a range of off the field activities that are focused on teaching important football-related concepts, ultimately ensuring players are prepared to perform at their maximum potential during training sessions and competitions. Players have started the 2021 year off right, taking part in activities that will set the groundwork for a successful second half of the season.

Workshop: Themes for Success on the Field

January began with a football workshop where players brainstormed and came up with six themes that are important for any player to succeed on the pitch. The themes they thought of were nutrition, match preparation, fair play, hydration, sleep and leadership. Once these themes were defined, players were separated into groups to write down what they knew about each theme.

Each group presented their thoughts to their teammates, describing the best practices for each theme and how they influenced performance on the field. With guidance from coaches, the discussion laid the groundwork for what players would focus on throughout the remainder of the season, as an important part of their player preparation program.

As a result of this workshop, players gained valuable knowledge and are now better educated about the six themes. The teamwork displayed throughout the workshop was also an important factor that coaches wanted to focus on, as the process of brainstorming and coming up with ideas together increased team bonding and communication. All players promised to keep each other accountable to bring the best out of each other.

Workshop: Deep Dive into Nutrition

Knowing the importance of nutrition for an athlete is extremely important. Therefore, we held another workshop, this time dedicated on nutrition.

Understanding what types of foods have a positive or negative impact on the body leads players to make better decisions that will benefit them in their preparation and development as players. During the workshop, players learned about the different food groups and how each impacts performance. They also learned about the best times to eat these foods (before or after a game), and how often to eat foods in a specific food group. Teaching players about nutrition guides them to understanding that the food they select is linked with their performance and results on the field.

Throughout the season, we provide our players with carefully chosen, balanced meals prepared by chefs and nutritionists, to optimise their performance on and off the field. It is important for players to learn the benefits of a healthy and nutritious diet and how it correlates with injury prevention, better recovery and better performance.

Mountain Adventure: Cardio & Teamwork

In January as well, ICEF players went on one of their many trips to the mountains in the Evian region to partake in “raquetting” (snowhshoeing), hiking in the snow. Activities like this allow players to enjoy the experience of living in the amazing Evian region, while also benefiting from it simultaneously as a unique way of training off the pitch and prepare for competition.

The snowshoeing activity had two main objectives: to strengthen team bonding and train our players at high altitudes. Players were accompanied by a guide who led them from the base station to the lookout.

Hiking in these conditions increases cardio and stamina, as at these altitudes, there is a lower level of oxygen concentration which makes the body exert more energy in order to breathe. Having players participate in strenuous activities like this at high altitudes allows them to be better equipped to perform in oxygen rich conditions.

At the lookout station, the hiking guide designed a team bonding activity, where groups of players had to build a small campfire to promote collaboration. Being able to positively work together and communicate translates to teamwork on the field, which improves individual and team performance.