8 Weeks Soccer Pre-Season Plan [Part 3]

Previous parts:

  1. 8 Weeks Soccer Pre-Season Plan [Part 1]
  2. 8 Weeks Soccer Pre-Season Plan [Part 2]

Physical preparation sub-components

For each physical sub-component it could be written a whole book, thus I will try to keep it short and direct the readers toward more info with links. I also suggest checking my Physical Preparation for Soccer manual since it covers some of this in greater detail. Physical preparation sub-components are listed in the table below (this is the table from the part two of this series)

Sub-component Goal Exercise/Methods Used
Speed work Improvement in the acceleration, speed and agility GPE, SPE
Explosive strength Improvement in the explosive strength and reactive-strength GPE, SPE
Strength Improvement in the relative strength and functional hypertrophy GPE (upper body & core), SPE (lower body)
Improvement in vLT and vVO2max GPE, SPE, SDE
Glycolytic capacity/power Improvement in RSA (repeat sprint ability) and special endurance GPE, SPE, SDE


Speed work

In the Physical Preparation for Soccer I’ve spent a lot of pages writing about speed development, especially the difference between speed and agility. Thus you can refer to that one for more examples. My final paper “Training and testing agility in sports” written in 2007 was dealing with agility and speed too and the transfer between them. In Planning and programming of training in sport games you can find more info about three types of movement patterns (off-the ball movements).

I guess that the discussion regarding agility and usage of closed drills goes into the form~substance dichotomy. Sometimes we need to isolate a certain “substance”, but we need to have the bigger picture in mind. From ecological standpoint (constraints-led approach to motor learning) one cannot split perception~movement, thus the best practice for agility is the soccer itself and other forms of small sided games and specific live drills (simplification, rather than part practice). Anyway, we sometimes need to isolate the “substance” (simplification) to create overload and improve learning. This might be called organic or holistic approach. It is both. This is why the site is called Complementary Training. Anyway, for this reason I have made two type of speed (agility) work – technique and power.

Component Specificity Examples
Speed Power Work GPE Linear Sprints from various positions (0-30m acceleration, 30-60m max speed); Hills; Sled work; Ins & Outs…
Lateral Cross-overs with sled; cross-overs; mirror drills; sprints from jumping…
SPE Tag games; live soccer drills; merging technique with speed (conjugated exercises)
Speed Technical Work GPE Linear Wall drills; Butt-kicks; A-Skip; B-Skip; Skips; Build-ups; Small hurdles, sled pushes (‘specific strength’)…
Lateral Coordination ladder drills; shuffling; cross-over; deceleration techniques; lateral skips; COD polygons; quick-feet (repositioning); sled pushes (‘specific strength’)…

For more info regarding speed work I suggest checking all Charlie Francis materials, especially GPP Essentials. Kelly Baggett’s No Bull Speed Development Manual is also worth checking.

Explosive strength

Similar to speed, a lot of explosive strength is covered in Physical Preparation for Soccer. In the table below is the classification I use:

Component Specificity Examples
Low intensity (‘aerobic’) plyometrics GPE Linear MB against wall (upper body & core); jumping rope; line drills; coordination ladder; low box drills; zig-zag hops, jumps and bounds; pogos…
Deceleration SPE Linear Jump and stick variations both double leg and single leg
Lateral Bound and stick; lateral jump and stick; side lunge and stick
Explosive strength SPE Linear MB throws; vertical jump; broad jump; triple jump; step-up jump; squat jump; lunge jump; scissors;
Lateral Side-to-side jump; zig-zag bounds; side-lunges; lateral step-up jumps
Reactive strength SPE Linear Depth jumps; hurdle jumps; bounding; power skipping; LL-RR bounds; Rim jumps; pre-run jumps..
Lateral Side-to-side hurdle jumps, cone jumps

For more info I suggest checking Kelly Baggett’s Vertical Jump Bible along with 7 Modern Day Myths About Plyometrics. Actually, read everything he wrote.

Strength Work

I highly suggest checking my Planning The Strength Training articles along with Lyle McDonald’s Categories of Weight Training for more info regarding this very subject. Another article worth looking at is also Lyle’s Beginning Weight Training since most of the soccer players are beginners in this area.

Kelly’s The Myth of Non-Functional Hypertrophy and The Myth of Relative Strength are also great reads.

The exercises could be classified to the following groups:

Category Exercises
Upper body push horizontal Bench press; Push-ups; DB bench press; dips
Upper body pull horizontal Cable row; T-bar row; DB row; supine row; YTWL
Upper body push vertical Press; Push Press; DB Press; DB Flys
Upper body pull vertical Chin-ups; pulls-ups; lat-pull down; pull-over
Knee dominant Squat; Front Squat; Split squat; lunge; lateral lunge; step-up
Hip dominant Deadlift; RDL; Hip thrust; R. Hyper; Hyper; GHR; Nordic curl
Ankle Standing and seated calf
Core Roll-out; leg lifts; curls; side bridge; full-contact twist; pallof press; chops; MB throws; high-rep curls

High repetition exercises could be considered GPE and low repetition exercises for lower body could be considered SPE. Prehab work (activations, thera band, etc) is GPE.
Programming of strength training involves a lot of “it depends” answers. Check the mentioned links along with How To Implement and Manage Set and Rep Schemes and please note that a lot of info out there is written with the strength athlete in mind.
Keep this simple. There is a huge trend in last decade that gives strength training too much of an emphasis. Yes, it is important, but the physical preparation is not only strength training.

Aerobic Capacity/Power

If you haven’t already, you should go and read Lyle’s Methods of Endurance Training. Make sure to check out my blog rant on endurance for team sports and for more soccer-specific stuff I suggest reading KNVB Conditioning aspect in developing a style of play along with Little’s Optimizing the Use of Soccer Drills for Physiological Development.
I am reposting the Energy System Continuum picture for the sake of reference:

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8 Weeks Soccer Pre-Season Plan [Part 4]

It is time to put all of the info into an 8-week template. By template I mean general plan and weekly plans, but without exact loading and drills used. Organization of the training sessions, days and weeks will be highly dependent on your context (facilities, number of athletes, assistants, weather, etc), thus I will only provide models so to…


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