Taekwondo, here is the secret of the Azzurri: the new training program

Until July 28th they will face an innovative and specific training course, constantly followed by experts in physical preparation and nutrition. The dt Claudio Nolano: “We are putting them to the test, their ability to adapt will increase”. And the results are already found

Chiara Soldi


Getting back into operation after the long stop due to the coronavirus emergency was not easy, but the taekwondo blues tried to be ready by continuing to train, albeit at home and with the limited means available, even during the lockdown. On 7 May the return to the “Giulio Onesti” Olympic Preparation Center of Acqua Acetosa with detached training sessions, in safety and without contact. After two months, the Technical Director Claudio Nolano has drawn up an innovative program that will end on July 28: demanding sessions and at particular times, exhausting workloads, constant tests and controlled nutrition. “We are experimenting with a completely new approach – explained Nolano -. We are aware of putting young people under stress, but the goal is to stimulate their ability to adapt to extreme situations, leading them to clear improvements both from a physical and a physical point of view. psychological which will be seen especially when we return to normal routine “. And what better time than this, with no competition in sight, to test a methodology that is already attracting interest abroad: “Many have contacted me to find out what we were up to. They saw Instagram stories of the Azzurri who were training at 11 o’clock. even at dawn and this intrigued “, added the director. Like any self-respecting secret to success, it is not yet possible to know this program in detail, but together with its creator we have tried to better understand what it is.

How was the return to the Olympic Preparation Center?

“The recovery took place more than two months ago. On 7 May we returned to Acqua Cetosa and we were the only ones, the first federation to return which in some ways was a source of pride for the optimal organization and the security situations put in place. in place in a short time, on the other hand a bit bleak: I had summoned only a few athletes, what was strictly necessary to avoid crowds and too many people in the rooms and common areas such as the canteen. true resumption of both competitive activity, of course, and at the level of contact during training, so the boys were also scarce from the point of view of stimuli in facing the workouts that then took place in a completely different way than we were used to. it was by no means easy. ”

What kind of work has been set up to date?

“We still train without contact. We are avoiding since there is no need to do so for now and above all because our attention has shifted to a particular training topic: for two weeks we have entered a period of conditioning which will last until July 28, when we will carry out relative tests to measure the work done. We have tripled the workload compared to what an athlete normally does in view of the Olympics: 10 boys were chosen, they were put in conditions of total stress, transforming this period of difficulty into an opportunity to focus on everything that we normally fail to develop “.

Does the period without competitions help you in this?

“Absolutely. The physical jobs we are carrying out during the year are almost impossible to do because the continuous succession of competitions leads us to stay focused on the essential, therefore on the fight”.

Are the children constantly followed in this change?

“I made use of the collaboration of our nutritionist, Antonio Sbardella, who at the end of the work cycle will carry out the weight operation as if it were the one before a competition to evaluate the athletes’ transformation. In the meantime, he is constantly monitoring them both from from the point of view of weight control, mass, cardiac activity, etc., but also from the point of view of performance: he comes right on the pitch and evaluates the situation of the boys. All the boys have been told to fall into their own category of weight: in a situation of normality, from February to today they would have had to face at least three competitions, so maintenance would have been fundamental anyway. And the nutritional precautions in this are useful “.

Did the kids understand the path and the goal?

“We specifically held a meeting with both the staff and the athletes to whom we explained all this type of speech and the objectives related to it. Each one gave his contribution: the athletic trainer, Francesco Zambrella, for example, before putting himself to the test. work met with the Coni Institute of Doctors and Sports Science through Dr. Antonio Gianfelici, who together with the Federal Doctor Giuseppe Flotti evaluated the diagnostic investigations, metabolic tests and everything related to him. results, individual problems and how to solve it. This also from the nutritional point of view in relation to the speech made previously. In this way, the athletes are felt involved and stimulated, they have given a real sense to the efforts they have and are still facing, almost as if it were a scientific experiment “.

And on the other hand, at the level of actual physical work, how did you approach it?

“As technical director, together with my second coach Giovanni Lo Pinto, we have given our contribution in a particular way. I started by talking and discussing with the boys: I suggested that he watch” Officer and Gentleman “, the film by Taylor Hackford starring Richard Gere, so as to understand in a romantic way giving everything to reach one’s goal. Once they realized that the excessive workload to be faced, they wondered whether or not they were able to support it, but not as proof towards them. me as much as possible to test themselves. The fear of getting involved, often equates to the fear of being judged, I have relieved them of the fear of failing. I had to create a program so far never faced with workouts at 11 pm that ended at 1 at night and the next that left at 5 am This was to put them under pressure. I myself tried this new routine on my skin by training with the rag azzi, especially in the most particular works. The risk of being attacked for this type of work, perhaps considered wrong by many, is to be taken into account, but tests show that athletes have transformed their body in the space of a month: consumption and supplements are leading them to lose fat mass and gain muscle mass, it will also be interesting to evaluate the growth of their ability to adapt when they return to a normal routine. We are doing another particular job on the recovery day: a 10-minute mini-run every hour from morning until midnight. Thanks to this, for example, they understood what it means to rest from a physical point of view, but not from a mental one, just as happens during the competitions between one match and another. I am proud of the guys, they are very motivated, and in addition to their positive response we are bonding even more: I do not impose work by saying “you have to do more”, the correct formula is “you can do more”. I believe in them a lot and they choose not to give up. “

And in the end the fruits will be seen, even in the race

“This is the goal. But to better understand what it is you will soon also have a video testimony: the troupe of Luca Noris, the federal videomaker, followed us for 4 days documenting this ‘experiment’ which among other things intrigued many, even from abroad “.

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Taekwondo, here is the secret of the Azzurri: the new training program