David Beckham and energy systems – Unit 4


As a footballer, David Beckham uses all three energy systems e.g. aerobic system for jogging and running ATP and ATP-PC when quick sprints are needed of jump and tackle, and the anaerobic system for fast running, passing, tackling and dodging in succession, footballers rely quite frequently on the anaerobic system.


For effective conditioning, training must occur at the same intensity and duration as you play in competition in order to develop the proper energy system predominantly used by that player in that position.


ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the immediate energy source for all muscle contractions. It comes from the breakdown of the food we eat. It comes from the breakdown of the food we eat. It is supplied by the interaction of three types of energy systems.


The first system is the ATP-PC system, it is used for high intensity, short duration activities such as running to receive a ball, dribbling dodging and passing, or receiving a cross and shooting. Energy is supplied immediately, and the amount of force generated from the muscle contraction is high, but the energy readily available is limited and ATP is usually depleted within about six seconds.


The second system is the lactic acid system. The amount of force generated by this system is less than the first system. ATP is produced from the breakdown of glycogen in the absence of oxygen and a metabolic by-product called lactic acid is produced. The highest amount of accumulation of lactic acid produced is activities that last from one to three minutes. Too much lactic acid builds up when this energy system is depleted. This causes pain, which results in loss of co ordination and force production like if a player has had a few runs with movements intertwined in quick succession.


The third system is the oxygen system. This system is more specific to slow twitch fibres used during activities requiring endurance over a long duration at a low intensity. After about three minutes of low intensity exercise, ATP is almost completely supplied from the constant intake of the aerobic system. As you can see, which system the ATP comes from depends on the intensity of the exercise.


During a football play, the muscle fibres almost strictly utilise ATP stored in the muscle. The ATP-PC energy system is replenished by oxygen, second after a play is over, by supplying ATP by the breakdown of carbohydrates (blood, glucose, muscle, and liver glycogen), fat, and to a small degree protein. Fat is converted to ATP from oxygen during the 50-60 seconds after a play or run, at nearly the same as the rest rate (50-70%). The other 30-50% is replaced by converting carbohydrates into ATP, also from the oxygen system. During a football game only the ATP-PC system during the play and the oxygen system during recovery between plays are called upon to a great degree; the lactic acid is used if the player does not get breaks of low intensity work between their move.


David Beckham’s so said “party piece” is his infamous free kick. This contains a run up, drawback of the leg and a kick with recovery and then a possible follow through. This is an ATP-PC fuelled move as it is rarely longer than 6 seconds.