Antonio Conte has claimed it is ‘normal’ to push players as much as he is with the Tottenham squad during pre-season, and argued it will help prevent muscle injuries over the course of the season.
The brutal nature of pre-season training under Conte and his coaching staff has been well documented, with the Italian having built a reputation for pushing players’ bodies to the limit with high-intensity drills and extreme fitness work (Football.London).
The Tottenham squad have experienced it first-hand over the last few weeks, with the players reportedly being made to run 42 pitch lengths after two hours of training in 30C heat at the Seoul World Cup Stadium earlier this month (Daily Mail).
Some have questioned Conte’s methods, with Leyton Orient head coach Richie Wellens telling Sky Sports that a balance needs to be found to avoid injuries.
However, the Tottenham head coach has insisted that training muscle groups with high intensity during pre-season reduces the chances of picking up niggles during the campaign.
When asked why his sessions are so intensive, Conte told Football.London: “Maybe for you, it is intensive training, for me, it’s normal training. I used to have these types of training sessions in the past when I was a player and when I was a coach.
“Maybe it was strange for you or for the people that think that the players go out to the pitch to have fun.
“The fun is a consequence of when you work very well and during the pre-season it’s important for us to reach a peak of fitness and to start the season in the best possible way and also to avoid injury.
“To avoid injury, particularly muscular injury, you have to train your muscles with intensity during the training sessions. But I repeat for me it is very normal and it’s the same in other countries.”
Spurs Web Opinion
There is a lot of disagreement regarding training intensity and volume even at the very top level of different sports, with various athletes and coaches swearing by different methods.
Conte is evidently on one extreme end of the spectrum but one cannot argue against the Italian’s methods, given the success he has had in his career.
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