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The Half-Time: A Strategic Approach For Footballers

the half time: a strategic approach for footballers
The Half-Time: A Strategic Approach For Footballers

The half-time in football is a small 15-minute break, which the footballer must make proper use of. During the half, the player can receive important information, rest, and do things that will help him return to the 2nd half stronger! Thus, a strategic half-time approach that serves the needs of the footballers during the half-time break is a MUST.

However, many coaches and players make (foolish) mistakes during the half, which can have a negative effect on the player’s performance and significantly delay their reintegration into the game. In this article, we will learn what these mistakes are and at the same time, explore different ways to achieve the goals we want to maximize your performance.

RE-HYDRATE

rehydration

The first and most important element that you should definitely include in your half-time strategy is rehydration. During the game, your body excretes a lot of useless substances through sweat. In addition to that, whenever you play in a warmer climate, your body produces more sweat to maintain a more stable body temperature.

These facts are enough for us to understand that your body loses a lot of fluids during the first 45 minutes, which of course, have to be replenished. Be cautious though. Excessive water consumption can also be detrimental to performance and health!

Usually, it is good to keep the water intake at half-time below 200ml. In addition, we would advise you to use an electrolyte supplement in your water or create your own isotonic drink. This is something that will help you hydrate your body, without having to consume large amounts of water. Many electrolyte/isotonic supplements also contain small amounts of carbohydrates, which we will discuss in the next section of the article.

There is also a controversy over rinsing the mouth with water, a caffeinated beverage, or a carbohydrate-rich beverage, however, the literature is still inconclusive. But hey, if you think it works for ya, go for it! Give it a try, it won’t harm your performance. [1] [2] [3]

REPLENISH

A footballer’s body mainly depends (from an energy supply perspective) on its glycogen stores. Glycogen is essentially the result of the digestion of carbohydrates, which are stored in the liver and skeletal muscle for immediate use.

A football match is very demanding, with very intense actions (such as sprints, jumps, changes of direction, etc.) throughout the whole 90 minutes. At half-time, our glycogen stores may not be completely depleted, however, the complete depletion is something we want to prevent. More specifically, we want to either avoid it completely (ideal scenario) or move it as close as possible towards the end of the match.

So what we want to do at half-time is find a way to make up for some of the glycogen we lost. Of course, the intake of complex carbohydrates in this case will not have the results we want. This is due to the fact that complex carbs get broken down at a much slower pace, which is not optimal in-game.

Instead, having a source of simple carbohydrates ready, which are faster to break down and absorb, is a more ideal alternative. Below you will find a list of foods and drinks that are nutritious and convenient to eat at halftime:

THE “FGM” HALF-TIME STRATEGY!

KEEPING MUSCLE TEMPERATURE HIGH

The temperature of your muscles plays an important role in your competitive readiness. A common scenario is a drop in muscle temperature during the break. This happens for various reasons.

Apart from being inactive, the cold temperatures, especially during the winter period, inside the locker room are not ideal. It is good for footballers to either ask for a warm room temperature or to prepare with the appropriate gear (isothermal clothing, blankets, etc.).

A good re-warm-up strategy should be adopted by the team’s coaching staff to re-integrate the players into the game pace.

MENTALITY

The psychology of the footballer who goes into half-time is influenced by various factors. The reasons for a good or bad mindset range from group performance to individual performance. It is important to maintain a positive attitude towards the game and avoid pessimism.

In case of a positive result and/or a good performance, it is important for the footballer to maintain his competitive spirit and avoid arrogance and excessive self-confidence. Keep yourself (and your teammates) down to earth.

On the contrary, when the result and/or the performance of the player is not good, a positive attitude towards the game is needed. Calm thinking and guidance of the player(s) by the coach or teammates is the key to bring back the spirit of competitiveness. There must be optimism and ambition to change the game. Everything can change, as long as the player and the whole team BELIEVE in it.

Finally, half-time is a very important period during which the player must calm down and relax. There’s a really taxing 2nd half waiting for you and your teammates. Calm down and prepare for it!

TACTICS

The feedback of the players regarding the performance profile of the team and that of the players individually is very important. In addition to the coach’s guidance, the player should also make an honest self-assessment of himself and identify the weaknesses and strengths of his game-day performance.

Next, he should be open to constructive criticism of the coach and listen with great attention to any advice he gives. At the same time, the footballer must identify his problems through analysis and search for solutions to these problems.

For this reason, it is also important for the player to put aside any problems that arise during the match. These can be solved at rest after the final whistle has been blown. During the game, the goal is peak performance in accordance with the team’s game model. Concentrate on your next action (either with or without the ball) and let go of the half-time problems. A conversation with the coach, your teammates but also with yourself will solve all your individual and team problems.

The process of criticism and evaluation requires calm thinking and a desire to learn. Be open to feedback and make the most of it.

THE 2ND WARM UP

The 15-minute break is a relatively long period of inactivity for the player, which if not used properly can have a negative impact on performance. These 15 minutes are usually enough to get you out of match conditions. Therefore, you or your team should have a smart and strategic approach ready, to integrate yourself back into the game as smoothly as possible.

It would be wise for the players to perform some dynamic stretches, quick changes of direction, and short-distance sprints/long stride runs to reactivate the neuromuscular system and get back into the game pace. This can be done 2 to 4 minutes before the 2nd half whistle.

In addition, the ball could be included in the 2nd warm-up of the players, with some passes and/or ball controls to regain the touch with the ball.

CONCLUSION

To conclude this article, it is wise to say that a strategic approach during the half-time period can really make a difference in the team and individual performance. Not only will the players be able to withstand the physiological and mental stress of the second half, but they will also start off the other 45 minutes with increased readiness. This readiness might be key to scoring a goal in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half, especially if the opposition doesn’t make great use of the second half.

If you liked this article, make sure to SHARE it with your teammates, friends, and coach. You can also find us on Instagram, where we post daily content to help you #levelUP your performance.

REFERENCES

[1] de Ataide e Silva, Thays et al. “Can carbohydrate mouth rinse improve performance during exercise? A systematic review.” Nutrients vol. 6,1 1-10. 19 Dec. 2013, doi:10.3390/nu6010001

[2] Doering, Thomas & Fell, James & Leveritt, Michael & Desbrow, Ben & Kitic, Cecilia. (2014). The Effect of a Caffeinated Mouth-Rinse on Endurance Cycling Time-Trial Performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism. 24. 90-7. 10.1123/ijsnem.2013-0103.

[3] Bottoms, Lindsay & Hurst, Howard & Scriven, Ashley & Lynch, Fergal & Bolton, James & Vercoe, Luke & Shore, Zac & Barry, Graham & Sinclair, Jonathan. (2014). The effect of caffeine mouth rinse on self paced cycling performance. Journal of Comparative Physiology. 10. 10.3920/CEP140015.


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