Raymond Verheijen, a fitness coach has blasted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as he believes the “incompetent” training methods of the Frenchman are the root cause for the club’s annual injury crisis.
The fifty-year-old has worked with many top players throughout his career, and is currently contracted with a Premier League star, with whom he works on a private basis on his fitness.
But, according to Verheijen, the damage to the players are done even before the start of the season-
He said: “The problem is with the way they train in general, but especially in pre-season.
“Over the years I’ve spoken with many Arsenal players and in certain periods of pre-seasons, they are trained as if they are in the Marines, rather than playing in the Premier League.”
Although, according to the doctor, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it helps players get back to speed quickly, but takes its toll on their bodies in the long run.
“When you [train like a marine], first of all you develop short-term fitness. If you do it gradually then you’ll build-up long-term fitness for nine-10 months.
“If you get fit really quickly then you develop shorter-term fitness that only lasts around 3-4 months.
“This is the traditional way of training, that players are hammered in pre-season, and this is obviously an issue at Arsenal but they are not alone – our friends in Manchester are the same .”
The outspoken coach has previously described Manchester United manager David Moyes as a dinosaur for his archaic training methods. The Dutchman also explains why the pre-season routine is responsible for the long injury list.
“By training so much in a short period of time you accumulate fatigue.
“When you get fatigue your nervous system becomes slower and that affects your coordination and the control over your body while you’re doing maximum explosive activities .
“Look what happened with Theo Walcott , he was out for a long period. They brought him back really well [in November]; he played 25 minutes, then 25 minutes then 45 minutes – so phase 1 of that rehab is building up match fitness – they gradually built up the game minutes and they did that really well.
“But Arsenal play two games a week, not one. This has nothing to do with match fitness but that you only have three days to recover not six days and you don’t have the recovery time.
“They played Theo five times in 16 days (90 mins) so instead of edging him in, they played him 90, 90, 90, 90, 90, so you accumulate fatigue, your nervous system becomes slower and fatigue is one of the biggest reasons for ACL injuries.
“ACL injuries often happen without the fault of an opponent, often it happens with an innocent movement you’ve made a million times in your career. If he plays five times in 16 days, the nervous system becomes slower and his muscles around his knee are slower to contract, destabilising the knee.
“If the signal arrives a fraction of a second late then you are starting the movement with an unprotected knee, so you get injured. it’s one of the main reasons why ACL injuries happen, the signal gets to the knee too slowly and the ligament ruptures or snaps.”
Verheijen who has immense respect for Wenger and his foresight believes that the Frenchman’s method have become outdated.
“When Arsene Wenger came to Britain in the mid-90s his training methods were revolutionary. The fact that his training methods were seen as revolutionary say something about him, but more about the training methods in England at the time. He was a forward-thinking coach, but the problem with revolutionary people is that they’re only revolutionary once in their life, so twenty years on they become average. And then they become prehistoric.
“Truly revolutionary coaches keep changing and they keep the edge. Others do it once and then they keep things the same, they lose their edge.Published 13 Mar 2014, 20:21 IST