LONDON, AP – Jamie Vardy’s unconventional route to the English Premier League’s record book began with heartbreaking rejection from his hometown club at 16 and back-breaking work in a carbon-fibre factory. It later took in a conviction for assault, a police curfew that prevented him from completing games for his local team, and a 30-pounds-a-week ($45-a week) contract. And it involved working his way right up English football’s pyramid, first playing on muddy pitches against plumbers and electricians, then uncompromising lower-league defences, and then the bright lights and the big boys of the Premier League. One thing was a constant for Vardy on that up-and-down journey: An ability to score goals – and plenty of them. The hard work has paid off and tomorrow could see his crowning glory, as he goes in search of a scoring record for the ages. The 28-year-old striker, whose direct and hard-working playing style is straight out of the Sunday leagues, has scored in 10 straight Premier League games for Leicester, and another goal against Manchester United this weekend would see him break the record for scoring in consecutive games in the division. The record has been held by former Man United star Ruud van Nistelrooy since 2003. “There’s a lot of hard work gone into it,” Vardy says, “and long may it continue.” Vardy’s blossoming at the highest stage is a shock to most, although some say they saw it coming. Andy Pilley is the chairman of Fleetwood Town, an unheralded club in northern England that took a 150,000-pound ($225,000) punt on Vardy in 2011 when others were holding off despite his prolific form in non-league football. Fleetwood were also a non-league team then, and Vardy scored 32 goals in 34 games the following season to help them break into the Football League. Leicester soon came calling. “I remember saying, ‘We will watch when you play for England and when you play in the Premier League,'” Pilley told The Associated Press. “And, sure enough, that’s come true.” Vardy is currently top of the Premier League’s scoring charts with 13 goals — four more than his nearest rival — after 13 games and is playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney in England’s national team. He isn’t too dissimilar to a younger version of Rooney in the way he harasses defenders and grafts for his team, with a scrapper’s mentality. But he is quicker than Rooney ever was, and loves playing on the shoulder of defenders and seeing space ahead of him. This season, everything’s gone right — playing in a Leicester team that has bulldozed its way to the top of the league, Vardy has scored a goal every 74 minutes, all from inside the penalty area. He had only one goal at this stage last season. “It’s been a meteoric rise,” England assistant coach Gary Neville says. “The reports coming through (last season) were that he was raw, a little erratic in front of goal, but lightning quick and a handful. “He’s come into this season and he’s a completely different player. He was unpolished last season. Look at him now.” Vardy has been wearing a cast to protect two broken bones in his wrist, and scored a record-tying goal against Newcastle on Saturday while playing through injury. In truth, he’s taken knocks throughout his career. He joined the youth system of his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday in 2002 but was released at 16, after being told he was too small. He quit football for eight months and worked in a carbon-fibre factory, a job he had to leave because of the stress on his back.
Fitness cannot be stored for future use. It will disappear if training stops. It takes only three to four weeks for the body to get out of condition. For example, strength training makes the muscles thicken. This is called hypertrophy. If the training stops, the muscle shrinks, leading to atrophy. Therefore, to maintain any improvements, exercise or training has to be repeated regularly. Training is a process based on principles which try to improve physical fitness and motor skills. It involves a balance between work, rest and recovery. Without proper rest, over training and burnout can occur. This, in time, causes performance and motivation to decrease. We all have some natural ability in sport. However, ability alone is not enough. Therefore, for steady progress and to avoid injury, the basic principles should be followed in planning an effective training programme. These five principles are designed to guide the achievement of fitness in a safe way. – Specificity – train for our own particular sport. – Progression – increase training gradually. – Overload – work harder than normal. – Reversibility – we lose fitness if we stop training. – Variation – make training interesting. The body needs time to recover and adapt to training. Therefore, the stress placed on the body must be gradual or progressive. If the stress is built up too quickly, the risk of injury is great; also, if the challenge is too difficult, it could lead to demotivation. The body training threshold informs us when training is at the optimal level. Progressive loading, with the right amount of rest period for recovery, should result in performance improvement. Training must be varied to avoid tedium (boredom). This is done by using a variety of different training methods to keep the enthusiasm and motivation. For example, follow a long workout with a short one, a high intensive session with a relaxed one, or a high-speed session with a slow one. Varying training methods also helps to avoid injuries. Principles of training Principle of specificity Principle of progression Principle of overload The body will adapt to extra stress, therefore allowing the systems to work harder than normal will increase fitness. This is done by basing the training on the FITT principle, which is increasing Frequency, Intensity and Time for the Type of activity or exercise. For example, running more times per week, completing the run in a shorter time or increasing the distance, will aid in improving aerobic fitness. Each method will overload the aerobic system, which will gradually adapt to cope with the overload, hereby improving fitness. Principle of reversibility Principle of variation This is choosing the right training for the sport or precise exercise for specific muscle groups. The type of training or exercise must be right for the type of improvement we need. Training should focus on the physiological and the psychological factors special to the activity for which the person is being trained. For example, sprinters must include a lot of speed work in their training to develop their fast-twitch muscle fibres.