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Preseason in youth soccer

This post really is just a rant about how coaches tend to take the preseason of soccer to there advantage in the wrong way.

At our facility, we train athlete of all ages. Our main focus is on soccer players but we have had athletes from many different sports come through the doors.

Since our background is soccer and performance training, we have worked with a number of high school athletes in the area.

Many have started with us since we moved into the facility last year, but the majority have started with us over the summer.

We had a program this summer that consisted of 4 days per week for 8 weeks. The train schedule was 2 days of strength training and 2 days of ball work and conditioning.

On top of all that work, many of the players also participated in a summer league so the amount of work they where going through per week was high, and scheduling the training to only 4 times a week with a few days off a loud the players to recovery and be ready for the next weeks training.

My point here is that if the athletes do the work during the summer, either on there own or participate in a strength and conditioning program then compounding it with my running and other exercises routines will not make them any better off, it actually will put them into an overtraining status and may put them into a situation where they will get hurt and burnt out.

Soccer coaches need to be educated on how to program their teams preseason and not to aimlessly add conditioning and fitness every session.

Why this type of programming is not going to help their team with success is because many athletes these days are playing all summer to a certain extent.

This means that many of them have a base of conditioning so doing long runs or long sprints is only going to put them at risk for muscle injury or overuse injury.

The focus during preseason

The closer they get to the season the focus needs to be on conditioning related to the sport. For instance sprints and repeated sprints.

A soccer player sprints about 6 secs each time and does not sprint again for about 90 secs. Each sprint is between 10-40 m.

This alone tells you that most of the time they are either standing around or just walking.

Majority of the preseason should again focus on learning how to play with each other, since many new players are on the team, and should also try to incorporate the conditioning into game situations.

If you have high-intensity sessions then they players are already getting “game ready” during those sessions.

They should not need extra fitness at the end of the session or just a random day of fitness.

On top of that, every session should not be intense, there should be a day of high intensity and then days of low intensity in order for the body to acclimate and recovery.

If every session is high then your players are more then likely going to increase there a risk of injury.

Preseason should not be a time to punish players.

If there are players that are not ready, my suggestion would be to seek out for them a strength coach that can help them get ready at that point or help them get ready following the season so they are prepared for the next season.

Putting it all together

I am not trying to bash soccer coaches or other sports coaches. I just want to make a point that if a majority of your players are ready do not make them do more fitness because you have a small majority not ready.

If a kid does not prepare for the season it is not the other player’s fault. Each athlete has there desire to get better. I would suggest to them what they should do over the off-season to get ready. You as a coach are only successful if your personal are prepared physically, mentally and emotionally.

Killing them two weeks before the preseason is not going to help it will. It will only push them away from wanting to play for you.

If some do decide to work with a strength coach then they are more than likely prepared, and you should communicate with that coach so you guys are on the same page as far as what you want for those players to be successful with your plan.

This is only a snippet of the topic and I could say more but I just want to help out the coaches so they are all successful and win championships with there best players.

I do not like seeing really good players on the sideline hurt, there are only two conclusions, I can make from that, they either did the work in the summer and then was overtrained in the preseason, or did very minimal amount and was not ready.

If you do not understand something seek out a professional to help. There is no problem doing that.

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