Periodization for Soccer 

Periodization is a process of planned variations in a training program. Changing volume, duration, intensity, and recovery to prevent overtraining and injury, and maximize performance. 

The underlying idea is simple; Periodization is nothing more than basic coaching strategy applied to the training process. It is a plan. 

To help players optimize their development; 

  • Evaluate teams training and game schedules 
  • Tournament Planning 
  • Make a Training plan for the entire year 
  • Educate Coaches in your organizations 
  • Educate Parents 
  • Self educate 

Periodization – an Annual Plan consists of Preparation Period, Competition Period and Transition Period. 

The Preparation Period 

This is the key period for getting the players and the team as a whole in the right physical condition.  

It should last between 4 and 10 weeks depending on the level of the players and the level of competition. Evidence suggests that the first positive effects of training become apparent after 6-10 weeks. 

A preparation period lasting 6 to 8 weeks seems to be the norm nowadays in professional soccer. This includes training and games. 

1st phase: General preparation based around physical work. Frequency, duration and volume of training is basic. 

2nd phase: Pre-competition phase, specific to physical development with the inclusion of technical, tactical and mental aspects. The quantity of training is reduced; the quality therefore comes from the intensity of the work. 

The Competition Period 

This usually lasts around 8 months, from late March through late November (depending on region and level of competition). 

This is the period when general and specific fitness are transformed into match fitness: when players reach optimum performance capacity and seek to maintain this for as long as possible. 

 In today’s game, given the heavy burden placed on players in terms of the number of matches played (many players are involved in school soccer and play at least two matches per week), it is necessary to program recovery and regeneration. 

Example: During this time, the main emphasis is on technical aspects. Together with the physical and competition-related objectives fixed, this emphasis on technical elements remains a priority in the cycle.  

The micro cycle should not be merely a repetition of the previous cycle. There obviously also has to be a change with the workload in training depending on player and team performances. 

The Transition Period 

This is the period when the level of performance drops off and where the player has to be able to recover physically and mentally from the exertions of playing competitively.  

The period lasts between 8 to 12 weeks through winter and the same through summer (depending on the competition and the level at which the players are playing). 

After a short break (depending on the player), players should look to engage in a phase of transition where they start to prepare themselves to train again. 

This could be: Individual programs, concentrating on endurance, suppleness and muscle strengthening.  

3 to 4 sessions each week, lasting 45 to 60 minutes at 60–70% of the intensity required during the training phase.  


Below is a table detailing how higher-level players such as college, semi-pro and professional players may train.