It is often said that if you fail to plan, then you’ve automatically planned to fail. Training is important and necessary for the success of any sport. One of the benefits of training is that it helps players get in the right shape and form.
Soccer, and all several kinds of it, supports the idea of training. In this article, we’ll address the question “how long do soccer players train?” We’ll take a closer look at the drill types and duration of training used by soccer coaches on their players.
How Long Do Soccer Players Train?
Do you have any idea about the level of preparation professional soccer players have to go through to prepare for a game?
Professional soccer players are known to train for as much as 30 hours weekly. This, of course, is greatly determined by the time of the year and/or the time of the season of the tournament.
Soccer tournament seasons are generally divided into 3 major seasons:
- Regular Season
The intensity of training and drills is more during the Pre-season and Regular season. During these times, the training activities would usually include:
- Small-sided games
- Technical training
- Strength training
- Rest and sleep recovery
So what happens during the off-season? Unlike in the past when soccer players were known and reported to get out of shape by eating unhealthy, professional soccer players are known to employ personal trainers to help them stay fit and in shape.
Ideally, the intensity of the training session during the off-season, pale in comparison with what is required in other seasons. This in no way makes it less important.
If you’ve ever been involved in any form of exercise or body training, you’ll be familiar with warm-up exercises. Often overlooked by many but professional soccer trainers understand it is the foundation of any good training session.
Two good examples of warm-up exercises are low-intensity jogging and jumps. Since these exercises help to elevate the heart rate, it is estimated players spend about 2.5 hours weekly performing these types of exercises.
Running is an integral part of soccer. No matter the position a player plays on the field, there would always be some sort of running.
You can try making a case for the goalkeeper but you’d inadvertently agree there are occasions where he would need to run out or back from the comfort of the goal area.
According to a report by Runnersworld, soccer players are estimated to run, on average, 7 miles on the field of play. Now that’s a whole lot of running! What can you expect from a sport with a large field, with a reasonable distance between players, and a fast-moving ball?
Professional soccer players spend an estimated 1.5 hours in endurance running training sessions weekly. Depending on the individual player, this could be more.
This training session focuses on strengthening the hamstring. Players are required to perform this exercise as part of the warm-up session. This should take about 1.5 hours weekly, divided into small minutes daily.
The whole idea of training sessions is to initiate movement. This can come in any form like running, walking, sprinting, or just indulging in the small gameplays.
It is commonplace, during most soccer training sessions, to see players spend about 15-20 minutes playing small-sided games like “keep ball”. What exactly is “keep ball”?
As the name suggests, the idea is for players to retain possession of the ball, for as long as humanly possible.
In a keep ball game, players form a circle around 2-3 players. Players on the circle try to pass the ball around to each other, without allowing the ball to come in contact with the players in the middle.
Similarly, those in the middle, try to intercept the ball from getting to another player on the outer circle.
Although players are not expected to run longer distances, the fast-paced nature of the game keeps them on the move and alert.
This is not as intense or fast-paced as some of the other activities. This training focuses on improving specific skills and abilities. Good examples of this training are shooting drills, defending tackles, general ball control, weak foot training, etc.
Shooting drills are important because they help to serve one goal – muscle memory. In no way would it help a player improve their shot power or technique. Continuous practice teaches muscle endurance and builds mind-foot connection.
Technical training usually takes about 2 hours weekly. This is where free-kick takers, penalty, and corner kick takers practice their art. It usually doesn’t involve all players of the team at the same time.
The name speaks for itself. The purpose is to develop the player’s strength specifically or maximally. It is a combination of several exercise activities. It is one of the determining factors for the difference in the quality of professional soccer players.
Although it may vary slightly, general strength training often begins with a 10-minute warm-up session, a 4-minute sprint, an accompanying 3-minute jog in-between the sprint or immediately after, then a 15-minute break.
Half squats are used to resume from the break. The session can be repeated with breaks in-between.
Rest and Sleep Recovery
Professional soccer players are required to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every day to help towards recovery. After training sessions, players are often encouraged to take naps for about 2 hours.
It’s easy to get carried away with both low & high-intensity drills and overlook the importance of rest and recovery. In recent times, sports fitness experts and enthusiasts have realized that if the proper balance between training and rest recovery is not attained, it affects the overall performance of the player and also makes such a player susceptible to injury.
A good example is the 32 en-suite rooms available for players and staff at the Etihad Stadium – Home ground of Manchester City Football Club.
Training times of some types of soccer
Do you know that soccer isn’t just limited to the normal 22 players on a pitch, otherwise known as 11v11? Invariably, each of them requires a different training time. Other soccer game types include the 5v5, 7v7, 9v9, young team, kid team, etc. Let’s take a summarized look at some of them.
11v11 Soccer Training
We started with a detailed explanation of this type of soccer. This is the professional soccer tournament squad play. It is the most popular type of soccer.
We talked about the calendar year seasons in the life of a professional soccer player – Pre-Season, Regular Season, and Off-Season. What does each of these seasons entail? Let’s take a closer look:
- Pre-Season Training
Training sessions are tough, intensified, and with an accompanying recovery session. To put things in better perspective, players are expected to train as much as 3 times daily – divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The body has to get used to the workload awaiting it when the new season commences.
A typical day would begin with warm-up exercises (this should takes between 15-20 minutes), then proceed to specialized training sessions, and round up with a gym session just before lunch. Afternoon sessions could begin with team training and may be followed up by extra training.
- Regular-Season Training
A soccer player’s day is divided into numerous parts. Players will often train 5 to 6 days a week – this will include game days. On travel days, training sessions are reduced.
Recovery from the previous week’s game is the emphasis of the training sessions earlier in the week. The intensity of training increases during the week, with sessions concentrating on strength, speed, and skill development. This usually take between 4-6 hours in total for each day’s training. As game day approaches, intense training becomes less intense and more tactical. Just like in the pre-season sessions, regular seasons (days without a scheduled match) also have morning and afternoon training sessions.
- Off-Season Training
This is the time for rest. They are expected to spend time with family and friends. Training sessions could last for about 1-2 hours.
As a professional soccer player, fitness is paramount. It has become common practice for these players to hire personal trainers and nutritionists, who’ll always be on call, even when on vacation.
5v5 Or Futsal Soccer Training
Unless you’re a fan of all things soccer, this may be your first time knowing about 5v5 or Futsal, as it’s generally called.
Futsal is an indoor soccer game played by two teams. Each team consists of five players and the game is played on a much smaller playing surface or “court”. An interesting feature of this type of soccer is that it allows for an unlimited number of substitutes. It is played on a hard court.
The training procedures for this kind of soccer differ from the 11v11 kind because it only involves 5 players from each team. In other words, the playing area/surface is smaller in comparison to standard 11v11 soccer.
Training sessions are expected to be mild and less rigorous. The coach determines what an ideal training session will be for the team. Generally, here’s how a training session looks like (slight variations may occur):
- Coaches typically phone every player on their roster and invite them to practice. They make copies for distribution to the team after deciding on preferred times and dates.
- It begins with a 5-minute warm-up session. The idea is to have the players stretch their muscles.
- This is followed by 15-minute individual skill development. This part of the training session requires specific instructions to individual players.
- After skill development, another 15 minutes is set out for skill practice.
- A 20-minute practice match can be organized by dividing the team into opposing groups.
- This is followed up by a 5-minute rest and cool-down session.
- There are different types of games that can be introduced into each training session to make it more fun. These include Asteroids, Black Hole, Finding Nemo #2, No Man’s Land, Tag, etc.
- There are one or two 50-minute practice sessions per week during the season. The coaches likewise set out an hour, but only intended for a 50-minute practice session. The additional ten minutes can be used to set up the practice space, speak with players and parents, and so on.
- After printing copies of the game schedule for the players, the coaches instruct their team to come 15-20 minutes before the game’s scheduled start time.
7v7 Soccer Training
Children from ages 9 – 10 play this kind of soccer which only involves 7 players from each team. The field for this game will be quite larger than the 5v5. The training sessions, on the other hand, don’t differ substantially from the 5v5. The standard of training for this kind of soccer is the following.
- The training-to-game ratio must be 2-3 training activities for every game played
- A 5-minute warm-up is necessary to get the players active.
- The next 15 minutes will be spent showing players the skills you want them to develop.
- This could be followed by a short drink break or the coach could have them practice the skills they just developed.
- Practice playtime of 20 minutes keeps the entire training session fun.
- Just like in the 5v5, there are also different games to incorporate into the training session. These games include Soccer Quidditch, The Number’s Game, Sharks and Minnows, Circle Keep Away, etc.
- The training session ends with a 5-minute rest and recovery for the exhausted players.
- Players should engage in no more than 20 games per calendar year and no more than one game every day
- In every game, each player shall play at least 50% of the time.
- During the season, players should have at least two rest days each week, as well as planned breaks from organized soccer throughout the year.
How Many Hours A Day Do Soccer Players Train?
Now we have progressed from how long do soccer players train to how many hours a day they need to train? Professional soccer players have specific hours they train per day. The hours are not just random but scientifically analyzed to boost overall performance.
Professional soccer players train 4–6 hours per day. They do this 5 days a week on average. If you want to be a professional football player, you should practice for around the same number of hours each week. This may seem herculean for a start but with determination and lots of focus, it is achievable.
Unlike professional soccer players that have undivided attention for training, if you combine work or academics, you’ll either have to double down on your hours or train less than what’s required.
How Many Days A Week Should A Soccer Player Train?
Although a player may train for a few hours per day, the reality is that to continually perform at the greatest level; they must be attentive both on and off the field. This will include both field training and off-the-field recovery.
To be the best at soccer, on a professional level, the number of hours spent on the pitch is as important as the one spent out of it. The road to success begins from one’s waking hour to how the day is spent, and eventually how the day ends.
So, how frequently do soccer players work out weekly? If we take into account that training sessions last for about 4-6 hours daily for 5 days in a week, this sums up to about 20-30 hours of training, weekly.
It’s quite understandable why players earn a lot of money from soccer. Soccer isn’t a sport for the weak; rather, it’s a sport for the fit. If you choose to begin your journey to become a professional soccer player, at the least, you have a better understanding of what your daily routine will look like. We both know it’ll be worth it in the end; start today!
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!