9.01.2020Bayer 04

Peter Bosz explains training regime

Everybody at Leverkusen is talking about 'FFT', short for football fitness training. It's well known for being the most strenuous session of the week. Now Peter Bosz explains exactly how FFT works and why he's a fan of this training method…

"If the players are lying on their backs at the end of the training session then I know: It was a good session. If there's talk and laughter afterwards then the FFT wasn't right," says Bosz with a grin. The FFT session at the training camp in La Manga appears to have been a good one as the Werkself players fell down at the final whistle and had to get their breath back. The focus with FFT is on fitness rather than the style of play: "At the end of the day, it's only about how much each individual player has run and, above all, sprinted," explained Bosz.

He split his players up into two teams on half a pitch and then went through several drills with a minute between each one. At the moment, the Werkself do 4×13 minutes. "We keep increasing the time. At the start of the season we began with 3×12 minutes but then increased it to 3×13, 4×12 minutes etc," said the Dutchman. The intensity is particularly high with FFT as it simulates the workload over a 90-minute game but without the breaks.

At first sight, 4×13 minutes may not sound much but it's about so-called net minutes as Bosz explained: "A normal game lasts approximately between 52 and 58 net minutes," with the ball not in play for the rest of the time. "So 4×13 minutes is actually very demanding."

The values for individual players during an FFT session are assessed during training. Peter Bosz likes to stand around the centre circle during the drills. "I like being there most because you have a different perspective and are better able to judge the distances between the players. That's why I’m the referee as well. But I'm the sort the doesn't like to blow the whistle a lot as the game has to keep going."

The head coach is informed in the centre circle if a player has not clocked up enough kilometres. His assistant coach Terry Peters stands on the touchline alongside Dr Malte Krüger, the Bayer 04 sports scientist, with an iPad and observes the live stats for individual players. "It can happen from time to time that Terry comes up to me and says a player isn't doing enough. Then I can pick him out and get him going," said Bosz.

The running performance drops with each drill over the course of a normal FFT session: "When you start, everything is just right and the players run and the values are always high. In the normal course of events the distance covered in the second, third and at the beginning of the fourth round drops further. But, towards the end, the players give their all and the curve goes up slightly."

Bosz adopted the FFT training method from a Dutch football fitness expert Raymond Verheijen who was his mentor when he was starting out. The 48-year-old is considered to be one of the leading coaches in the area of football fitness worldwide and he has worked at three World Cups and three European Championships with Holland, South Korea and Russia and he has also worked with top teams like Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City. "I was lucky I got to know Raymond when I was coach at Heracles Almelo," explained Bosz. "I called him up and said: I definitely want to learn this training method!"

He wasn't really interested in the physical terminology that was taught at the sports university. "Verheijen just talked to me about football." And that led to Peter Bosz "just playing football" each week – without big breaks of course.

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