Raymond Verheijen: "Coaches are responsible
for overcrowded sickbay"
Wednesday 10 December 2008
An important reason for the months
long crisis at Feyenoord is the months long wave of
injuries in Rotterdam.
Feyenoord coach Gertjan Verbeek
even called his colleague at Ajax Marco van Basten about
it and has asked the Erasmus Medical Center carry out
a study about the increase in hamstring injuries.
But on short notice there's even
Ironically on of the best known
specialists in the area of of training buildup and periodization,
Raymond Verheijen is already on the pay list of Feyenoord.
But he only works with the youth
teams of the club.
Verheijen worked with Dutch coaches
Frank Rijkaard, Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink and Dick
Advocaat, went to five major international tournaments
with the Netherlands, South Korea and Russia and recently
presented his book 'Het periodiseren van voetballen'
(Periodization in football).
Verheijen is amazed by the amount
of injuries that several clubs are dealing with at the
"I can not and do not want
to say anything substantially about what is happening
at other clubs or at Feyenoord. To be specific about
that you need to be involved directly. Generally speaking
I can say that a wave of injuries can be prevented easily
by balanced training," he says.
In the 10 years that I have been
in this line of work I have never experienced a wave
of injuries in the teams I am involved with. Of course
there is always the odd injury in football. That is
inherent to the sport. It's normal to have one or two
injured players in a group of twenty. When there is
ten or twelve there is something wrong in the training
"It often goes wrong during
pre-season. Coaches focus on fitness to much in that
period. What is? Building in automatisms and you can
only do that when you are working with a steady group
of players every day. But because they start working
hard on fitness straight after the players' vacations
they get injured and you can not train with the intended
basic team. With good football training you gain enough
"I do not believe in many
training sessions. In football it is important that
every session has a high level of intensity. When you
train very often you develop chronic tiredness and the
quality of the training sessions falls. When you are
tired but you have to strain yourself, your coordination
is less good and you get injured quicker."
To monitor a player's tiredness
Wave is on the rise, a machine that asserts to measure
the load of physical strain a player can handle.
"In most scientific literature
that machine is burned to the ground. The margin of
error is too big. You can use it well to calculate the
average load for a group of athletes, but it does not
provide accurate information for individuals. Besides
it is a well-known secret that players know exactly
how to manipulate the machine by now. The Omega Wave
is often used by clubs to show how professional they
are, but I believe that using unreliable machinery is
shows your amateurism."
"By calling out for research
and other complicated measures clubs give the impression
that it is very difficult to solve the problem. But
in reality it is actually very simple. By adjusting
the different training impulses to each other you get
immediate results. Often when there is a wave of injuries
they point the finger at at the medical staff, totally
unjustified. There is only one person to prevent a wave
of injuries and that is the coach. He has to provide
a decent training build up, so that players don't start
an intensive exertion when they are already tired. Coaches
shouldn't consider a wave of injuries as something that
happens to them as a result of bad luck or external
factors, but as something they are responsible for themselves.
Without that change of culture nothing changes, no matter
what study you carry out ."