19 grudnia 2018 0 przez Radosław Bella

Last month I had opportunity to visit PFC Ludogorets for few days. I saw few 1st team training sessions, games (U19) and also Europa League game PFC Ludogorets vs AEK Larnaka FC.

I talked with many people: coaches, psychologists, club employees. After one conversation, I was particularly inspired. Ian Coll (Head of Sports Science PFC Ludogorets Razgrad) is very experience coach and also open to new ideas and thoughts.  That was a real pleasure and learn opportunity.  We have contact until today so I am very happy that I can show you interview with this very good coach!


At the begining Ian, I would like thank you that you agreed to answer few questions! Could you tell first something about yourself to viewers?

I’m currently 12 years in professional football, working in 3 countries.
My philosophy is the development and performance of the players and the team, through a specific methodology that fits the club, coaches and players current status and goals. I try to achieve this through a Methodology I’ve developed over the years, by integrating applied sports science theory and research into football. Every football player is an individual athlete with varying qualities and these must be respected and developed.
2 Years – Airdrie United Football Club, Scotland – Fitness Coach
8 Years – Celtic Football Club, Scotland – Youth Academy Sport Scientist 4.5 years & Head of Sports Science 3.5 years
1 Year – Sports Science Consultant Dubai UAE
6 Months – Ludogorets Razgrad Football Club, Bulgaria- Head of Sports Science

On the last few years the perception of physical training has changed. Could you tell as about the biggest changes that you adapt to your work?

The biggest change has been the introduction of GPS in the last 5 years and the Tactical Periodisation models that are being developed by coaches. Every club at the top level will use both in some capacity. For me it’s a tool to check the coaches training methodology links with the physical methodology it terms of a “Training Load”, which can help aid performance and development.

In modern football many coaches are very focused on training control. What ae the most important aspect’s that we need to control? What you would recommend when coaches don’t have access to professional equipment (GPS etc.)

We must remember that there is more than one way to train a football team and it is very much comes down to the club and the current manager. A team can be young and developing for the future, a contrast to this would team can be full of older players and at the end of their cycle. Both have varying priorities for training physically, and this must be discussed. Coaches must have a clear picture of their squad and the clubs priorities, once they know this they can implement a Philosophy and Methodology to develop the team. This is why I think clubs must search for the right coach that fits their club.

Vitor Frade who created the tactical periodization claims that everything you control can be controlled by a morphocykle (week plan).  How do you plan your motor accents (strenght, speed etd.) in a week? (game sat-sat)

There are varying methods for this approach, it depends on the team and coach for sure. Below is a general overview. In my presentation probably describes this in more depth.
Saturday – Match
Sunday – Recovery Session or OFF
Monday – Regeneration Session or OFF
Tuesday – Strength – Small Spaces –
Wednesday – High Intensity – Big Spaces
Thursday – Speed – Moderate Spaces
Friday – Focus – Small Spaces
Saturday – Match

I am almost sure that the concept of “speed” has also changed in the last 10 years. Probably we need to take in training process more aspects than only sprint on straight line? Do you divide speed in more details?

The term “Speed” for me is straightforward, it’s a maximal effort where a player reaches maximal speed, this is the athletic definition. But we have various different components to this which relate to football:

Game Speed
Acceleration Capacity

For Football its important to train these components with our coaching and fitness programming. It is also beneficial to train max speed at least once per week if a players don’t reach 90% of their max in games.

What is your opinion on two training sessions per day? Do you think that player will be ready (fresh) on Saturday when we will put too many sessions? Or maybe we have days, that we can (must) put two sessions per day?

2 session per day is achieveable, but it depends on the specific aims and objectives of both session. 2 sessions give an accumulated load for that day and week so you must be carefully of the planning of this.MD-4 or  MD-3 would be best if you are considering this. But it really comes down to the load of the sessions.

Physical training vs tactical training. How we can combine it? How many factors (like pitch size) we must take too account?

100% we can combine it, and we should in ever session. The tactical periodisation model can fit with a physical periodisation model through strategic planning with the Coaching Staff and Fitness staff, this will provide the players with the optimal training environment. I still believe there is a place for supplementary fitness work depending on the level of the squad and the aims of players and coaches. We can often accelerate the fitness process if a player or team are of a lower fitness level by introducing specific conditioning drills, with the ball of course but not part of the normal full coaching session.

So your job depends on game model of whole team? Because I think that we can see difference between two teams that play different (team A – mostly in attack, team B – counterattacks) in training process?

Yes or job can and does depend on the Coaches Game Model, as we must integrate into that way of thinking and process. This is why it’s very important that the fitness staff are aware and understand the game model of the coaches. As all drills that the fitness staff do can be based around the game model which aids the transfer of the process for the players.

I will ask you about Individual physical training. Is it depends on player profile? Because I was always wondering how much player can achieve by himself and how much from team training? How many Times during week he can traing without danger (injuries)

Individual training is a big part of the process for me, every player has something they can improve, where its the “Technical” – “Tactical” – “Physical” – “Mental” and the staff must look to aid that development and look for times in the week and month to plan these sessions. Again we must be careful of Training Load as certain aspects of development will induce a higher load. There is always spaces for these sessions in my experience, especially if the player as the will and drive to develop.

The last question – about kids. Few years ago many kids play football whole day! Now many kid have 3 training sessions during week. Do you think that is the problem? How we can change/or not that?

This is a huge area, kids and youth football. For me its about LTAD and applying the correct principles at the correct age. You don’t always need structured practice with kids and we must give them the freedom to discover and make mistakes with a LTAD Model. This applies to the Physical development and the Football Coaching development. A club must have a model on place for this. Yes we can over train kids if we ask them to play 3 games a week and training them hard in between this, but this isn’t the correct LTAD model in my opinion.

Thank you Ian!