Thoughts on How to Organize Soccer Practices

All of our training programs that we create for our athletes has a specific order and for good reason.  The order looks similar to this…

  • Foam roll
  • Static Stretch (if necessary)
  • Dynamic warm-up
  • Speed/Power/Multi-Directional movement work
  • Strength training
  • Conditioning

Following an order similar to this is important because certain qualities should be stressed before others.  For instance, we know we should have a quality warm-up before we train (I think most agree on this).  We do our speed and power first because it taxes the central nervous system the most and requires all out effort each rep.  The same goes for the strength portion of our training.  We want to prioritize the main lift of the day first, not last. These are not absolutes, but generally, a pretty good rule of thumb to organize training.

If we look at practices in sports, we could probably (and let me know if I am wrong here) implement the above order in a similar fashion. Looking back as a past coach in track and football, I wish I would have known to implement (if it’s not practial please let me know) this order to provide our athletes with a better, at least more organized approach.  In soccer, I think we can apply this as well.

Foam rolling: Coaches or parents that are willing to buy the 10$ rollers would do their son or daughter a great service by improving their soft-tissue quality daily or before practices.

Static Stretching can be done immediately following the foam roll by holding a stretch for 30s/side.  I would opt for…(these are just some ideas)

1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor with Heel close to butt (look up Rectus Femoris mobilization)

1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor with back foot on the ground (make sure toes are pulled up to shins)

Lying Knee to Knee Stretch

Prone Glute Stetch

Dynamic Warm-Up: after the stretching circuit, follow a organized dynamic warm-up (good movement prep).  Here is something quick…
-Reverse Lunges, lateral lunges, inverted reaches, spiderman lunges w/ rotation, glute bridges, high knee hugs, walking quad stretches, ankle mobilizations.  Using full range of motion at a controlled pace will prepare the body for the various movements that are needed in soccer.  Start with slow mobilizations and increase speed with movements such as shuffles, cariocas, back pedals, high knee “A” skips, backward runs afterwards.  Progression should be from slow–to–fast.

Speed/Power/ Agility:  These could be in the form of ladder drills that put more of an emphasis on decelerating and accelerating movements. It could also be setting up a few small hurdles and focusing on landing mechanics (single leg, double leg).
What else?

  • Drills with or without the ball that last 10-15 seconds with longer recoveries would mimic the type of speed work that a facility like ours does with it’s athletes.
  • We would want to organize these short bouts of explosiveness early on because this is when athletes are most “fresh.”
  • One thing I am slowly understanding is that everything is energy system training.  Looking at certain drills, we can see what systems are being developed.  Small sided games (3v3, 4×4,) that involve players working really hard for short durations can be used as speed/power work.
  • Drills  or games where the duration lasts a bit longer and is more continuous (or without complete rest) could be seen as more aerobic (we want explosive soccer players but ones than can recover quickly to repeat the same explosiveness)

These are ideas that could help programming practices in an organized way.  Remember that activities that require high neural demand should be introduced first because they require much coordination, effort, and stress the body the most.  I didn’t want to forget that the tactics or technical aspect (coaches coaching) will be the majority of the practice.  I wanted to show similarities to how we program for our athletes at our facility and how it can be done at practices to ensure that our athletes are prepared for the practice and the explosive/continuous (alactic/aerobic) nature of the game.  Now, I just need to learn actual drills!





Categories: Conditioning, Core Training, Injury Prevention

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

1 reply


  1. Designing The Strength Portion of the Program for Soccer « Matt Siniscalchi Strength & Conditioning

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