However, matchdays are only a tiny snippet of a professional football player’s life, a miniscule window. It takes effort and discipline to be a professional football player, not just on the football pitch but especially off it. So what life does a professional footballer lead?
The only way to truly understand is to live their life, live like them. This is difficult to replicate at home, but maybe in a training centre it could be attempted?
Fortunately, some of the biggest football clubs in the world, like PSG, Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester City are organising football camps, and the campers will be able to experience the life of a professional footballer.
Keep reading to find out more about what a football player’s life entails, and details about how these clubs are creating the experience for young players everywhere.
Professional football camp : live like a pro for 7 days
By training with the same intensity as pros
Of course, a major part of a football player’s everyday life is training sessions. Even on Christmas Day, football players are expected to train, because in leagues like the Premier League, there are more fixtures in the few weeks around Christmas and the New Year. At the camp, it will be no different, and the campers will be having daily training sessions, in both the afternoon and the morning.
There are three general areas that players train on the field: physical, technical and tactical. For the physical training, drills are set up to try and improve one or more attributes that are important when playing. For example, a sprinting game where the participants compete against each other. This increases competitivity and will help each player’s speed.
Technical training is to improve each player’s skill and technique with the ball. Gradually, the players develop their muscles and muscle memory so that what they are training becomes second nature. Technical training includes one touch passing, short passing, long passing, finishing, dribbling and much more.
Finally, there is the tactical side to training sessions. These are to improve the football IQ of the players, their capacity to play in certain situations and how to help their teal without having the ball. This can be done in a variety of different ways, but uneven teams are a common way to do this: 1v2s, 2v3s etc. Luckily, most drills train all three areas, but target one more than the others.
By training off the pitch
It is not just on the pitch that professional players improve, and to emulate this, the camps include training off the pitch too.
These can take various forms, ranging from spoken lessons about a certain topic to video analysis sessions of past matches or training sessions. Some professional players underestimate the importance of this, so any young player who takes this seriously will have be advantaged compared to some of his competitors before even on pulling on their football jersey.
During matches and tournaments
Any professional football player needs to be able to play their best football under pressure, so that they can still perform even with 75,000 fans in the stadium.
It is always positive to perform well at training but if in matches, the performances do not match the training, then there is not much point.
Therefore there will be either tournaments, matches against local clubs or the other campers. This is each camper’s best chance to impress the coaches, just like for a professional footballer.
By living with your team for the week
During these football camps, each child will spend the entire week with the other campers. They will train together, eat together and play together. Learning how to play and behave in a team is a very important lesson: being united is the best characteristic for a team.
Getting along with your team is not just important for winning games but also for enjoying yourself, which can in turn lead to winning more games too ! The camp is great practise to see what it is like to live with other young football players, and the campers are all sure to make friends!
By eating like a professional
Nutrition is a very important part of the modern football player’s life, so much so that a lot of the best football players have a professional chef to come and cook them healthy meals. Thirty years ago, football players had extremely unhealthy diets, but today, modern football requires an athleticism and physicality that requires good eating.
Although what they are eating is important too, the camps will emphasise the importance of eating regularly, eating the right amount and eating balanced meals. These three things are crucial when it comes young players to ensure that they develop properly. Mealtimes are also a time for all the players to eat together and blow off some steam after a training session. After effort comes comfort !
Developing mental strength
A massive part of football that is sometimes underemphasised is mental strength, and general attitude. Football can be very taxing, considering how intense it can be for long periods and how fatigue can exacerbate the effects of it. The best players fight for their team when they lose their ball rather than dropping their head, and this comes down to mental fortitude.
The coaches at the camps are almost always very experienced in developing young players, and consequently know how to help the young players’ mental strength too. For example, it is common to be angry on the pitch but that is not useful. Transforming the anger into motivation and effort is useful though, and that is what the coaches will try and teach.
Football , football and more football
One of the main ways that a football camp will imitate a professional football player’s life is that they will both revolve around football .
This seems obvious, but some do not understand how much football it is. For a week, the campers will be playing football for several hours a day when training or playing, but the main topic of conversation at the camp will also be football and often when the campers have spare time, they will choose to play football too!
A football camp is a great way to see if your child loves football enough to pursue it properly.