Pre-season training in soccer

Pre-season Training
Pre-season Training

The timing of this period is of immense importance, because within a certain time, the coach has to prepare his team as well as possible for the championship. The importance and difficulty of this preparation is obvious, if we think that the coach has often been hired to the team and must “evaluate” the past, and, based on it, prepare the team according to his own philosophy.

During pre-season, the training has the following main goals:

Improving the physical condition of the players.

Improving individual technique.

  • Improving collective game.
  • Improving collective tactics.
  • Conducting training matches.
  • Special training for the first championship match.

Pre-season period begins at least 6 weeks before the first match of the championship. Its duration may be even longer, but it is good that it does not exceed 8 weeks, for three main reasons:

  • long period leads to saturation of the players before the start of the championship;
  • it often confuses the activity from the transition period to that of the preparatory period, especially in the field of physical training, and as a result, influences the normal course of training of the players in the specialized work which is, in fact, the basic purpose of the training;
  • there is a danger that players will reach the “top” sport before the first round of the championship.

As far as the number of training sessions is concerned, it must be at least 5 per week. If the team has the ability to do 2 training sessions a day, it requires a scheduling and grouping of their content, so that one day training is not the opposite. For example: morning training – physical training, and afternoon – technical training and tactics / or: morning training – individually and collective training – in the afternoon. In all cases, the volume and intensity of the training should be continuously controlled.

Without questioning it is important to conduct a number of training matches for team homogeneity, but, excess overtaking should be avoided.

Training is an irreplaceable process in terms of technical and tactical training. Training matches aimed at applying the ones learned in the training. Also, performing training sessions without a goal or goals to apply does not make sense and can create false or even negative impressions on the performance (especially psychological) of the players as individuals and on the team as a group.

In the following table I present a weekly chart for the 8-week preparatory period. In the given percentage, time is not considered for explanation, learning, warming, restoration and individual training:

8-week preparatory period chart

Topics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Basic technique


20% 20% 15% 15% 10% 10%


Individual actions


20% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%


Improving individual actions

20% 20% 25% 15% 10%


Collective tactics

10% 25% 30% 35% 45%


Special situations

15% 15%


Physical training


60% 40% 30% 20% 15% 10%


Basic Technique – it consists of basic technical procedures executed in isolation or in structures.

Individual actions – represent the offensive and defensive individual actions of soccer players.

Collective tactics – includes collaborative action between 2 or more players in attack and defense, and 11vs11 bilateral play, guided or free.

Special situations – refer to specific offensive and defensive tactics.

Physical training – includes, in particular, strength and conditioning training exercises.

The coach, depending on the available time, resources and team level, can schedule the activity in the sight of obtaining the best result. For example, if he has 12 weeks before the start of the competition, he can schedule a pre-competitive training that will start with a basic training phase, continue with a “power” training phase and end with a specialization phase.

Objectives of physical training during pre-season period:

Depending on the length of pre-season period, the coach can start with a basic training period and finish with a specific training. The main purpose of this period is to strengthen the preparation of the athlete for the entire competitive year, namely:

  • developing reaction speed;
  • developing the execution speed;
  • developing acceleration speed;
  • development of specific resistance (+ resistance in speed mode);
  • development of explosive force (especially of lower limbs);
  • developing and maintaining suppleness;
  • improving coordination skills.

Exercises used to improve and strengthen the special physical condition are exercises from athletics, gymnastics, complementary sports (basketball, swimming, rugby, handball) and soccer-specific exercises.

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