Soccer: How should I load my players and when?

Join Catapult’s Ross Goodall as he talks through how teams approach weekly periodisation in association football, Soccer.


So the question I’ll be answering today is; “How

much shall I load my players and when?”

The periodized week should be planned around how coaches

are wanting to structure their training weeks, when players

are in and when they’re off recovering.

It’s the role of a sports scientist to

balance exposing players to enough training load to

increase their fitness while at the same time

being careful not to overload players.

The values I’m about to talk through are

shown as an approximate percentage of match loads.

The first model is the Traditional Model.

This is a model in a typical one game

week schedule and gives players two days off.

This model prioritizes freshness in the

lead up to the match day.

However, this may not provide enough recovery time.

Research suggests players should have at least

48 hours post-match date for recovery.

Athletes will also only have

one conditioning day per week.

Model number two is the European Model.

This is a model which has been

adopted by Rafa Benitez in the past.

Players are back in on match day plus one (MD+1) for

active recovery and squad players will receive top up sessions.

Match day plus two (MD+2) will then be a rest day.

This model generally prioritizes recovery.

There are long lead times into games

with one day dedicated to conditioning.

Model number three is the Tactical Model.

The Tactical Model has been used by Jose

Mourinho and his staff in a very immersive

approach to where there are no days off.

This affords the coaches two days of conditioning,

one dedicated to small spaces with lots of

Accels and Decels and one with larger

spaces with more high speed running.

Lastly, we have the Adapted Tactical Model which

has been used by Pochettino in the past.

This is similar to the Tactical approach,

but swaps the extensive and intensive days

around and instead incorporates a friendly game.

This is used to simulate two day game weeks, but

once again there’s little to no time off with family.

Thanks for listening, I hope you found that useful.

Continue to check in with the Unleash

platform for more content like this.