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?
- Training times of some types of soccer
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.
The total training time for professional soccer players can vary based on factors such as the phase of the season, individual player needs, and team schedules.
Here’s a rough estimate of the daily and weekly training time for professional soccer players:
- Pre-Training Warm-Up: 15 to 20 minutes
- Training Session: Approximately 3 to 3.5 hours
- Post-Training Stretching and Cool-Down: 10 to 15 minutes
- Total Daily Training Time: Approximately 3 hours and 25 minutes to 3 hours and 50 minutes
Match Days (if applicable):
- Pre-Match Warm-Up: 30 to 45 minutes
- Match Duration: 90 minutes (can vary)
- Post-Match Cool-Down: 5 to 10 minutes
- Total Match Day Time: Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes (excluding travel time)
Weekly Training (Assuming 5 Training Days and 1 Match):
- Daily Training (5 days): 5 x (3 hours and 25 minutes to 3 hours and 50 minutes) = Approximately 17 hours and 5 minutes to 19 hours and 10 minutes
- Match Day: 2 hours and 25 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes
- Total Weekly Training Time: Approximately 19 hours and 30 minutes to 21 hours and 55 minutes
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 3 to 5 hours weekly performing these types of exercises (45 minutes to an hour per day).
- Pre-Training Warm-Up: Before regular training sessions, players typically engage in a warm-up routine that lasts around 15 to 20 minutes. This includes dynamic stretching exercises, light jogging, agility drills, and mobility exercises. The goal is to gradually increase heart rate, blood flow to muscles, and joint mobility.
- Pre-Match Warm-Up: Prior to a match, players have a more extended warm-up session, lasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes. This includes both individual and team warm-up activities. It often involves more intense running, passing drills, and tactical discussions to mentally prepare for the game.
- Injury Prevention Drills: Some players may incorporate specific injury prevention exercises into their warm-up routines, focusing on strengthening muscles and joints prone to injury.
- Cool-Down: After training or matches, players also spend a few minutes on cool-down activities, which may include light jogging and static stretching to help reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury.
The exact duration and content of warm-ups can vary based on individual preferences and the guidance of the coaching staff.
The goal is to ensure that players are physically and mentally prepared to perform at their best while minimizing the risk of injury.
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.
However, the frequency and duration can vary based on individual needs, injury history, and training philosophy. It’s essential for players to strike a balance between maintaining flexibility and preventing injury while not overstretching, which could lead to decreased muscle strength
- Daily Warm-Up: Players typically engage in a dynamic stretching routine as part of their daily warm-up before training sessions or matches. This can take around 10 to 15 minutes and includes exercises like leg swings, high knees, and hip circles to prepare the muscles for activity.
- Post-Training Stretching: After training sessions or matches, players engage in static stretching to help with muscle recovery and flexibility. This may involve holding stretches for various muscle groups for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Regular Flexibility Sessions: Some players incorporate dedicated flexibility sessions into their weekly routine. These sessions can range from 30 minutes to an hour and focus on deep stretching and mobility exercises.
- Injury Prevention: Players who have specific injury concerns may spend additional time on targeted stretching exercises recommended by physiotherapists or sports medicine professionals.
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?
- Endurance Runs: During the off-season and early pre-season, players may engage in longer-distance runs to build cardiovascular endurance. These runs can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour or more, several times a week.
- Interval Training: To improve speed and agility, players often incorporate interval training into their routines. This involves short bursts of high-intensity sprints followed by recovery periods. Interval sessions can last around 20 to 30 minutes, typically done 2-3 times a week.
- Match Conditioning: Closer to the competitive season, players may focus on match-specific conditioning, which includes high-intensity running drills that mimic the demands of a soccer game. These sessions may last 45 minutes to 1 hour, a few times a week.
- Game Days: On match days, players engage in warm-up running and sprints, lasting approximately 15 to 30 minutes before the game.
Adding all these components together, a professional soccer player may spend around 3 to 5 hours per week on running and conditioning.
However, this can vary based on the specific phase of the season, training schedule, and individual player requirements. It’s essential to strike a balance between building endurance, speed, and agility to meet the demands of the sport effectively.
4. Small-sided games
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. 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.
- Weekly Sessions: Professional soccer players often participate in small-sided games several times a week as part of their training routine. These sessions can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour each.
- Variety of Games: Small-sided games can take various forms, including 3v3, 4v4, 5v5, or even 7v7, depending on the goals of the training session. Each format offers different challenges and opportunities for skill development.
- Incorporating Objectives: Coaches often use small-sided games to work on specific tactical objectives or skills. For example, they might focus on quick passing, positional play, or defensive strategies during these sessions.
- Recovery and Fun: Small-sided games can also serve as a form of active recovery and an opportunity for players to enjoy the game in a less structured setting. Some sessions may be more relaxed and focused on maintaining fitness and enjoyment.
In total, professional soccer players may spend 2 to 3 hours per week on small-sided games, but this can vary depending on the team’s training philosophy and schedule.
These games are valuable for simulating real match scenarios and helping players refine their skills in a dynamic environment.
5. Technical training
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.
- Daily Drills: Players typically spend about 30 minutes to an hour each day on technical drills. This can include passing exercises, dribbling drills, and ball control exercises.
- Team Practice: During team training sessions, which usually occur several times a week, players work on their technical skills within the context of team play. This can involve practicing set pieces, positional play, and other team-specific drills.
- Individual Practice: Many professional players also engage in individual technical practice on their own time. This can vary widely, but some players spend an additional 1-2 hours a few times a week on specific technical areas they want to improve.
Technical training usually takes about 7 to 10 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.
6. Strength training
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.
Professional soccer players typically engage in strength training sessions several times a week to maintain their physical condition and improve their performance.
On average, they may spend around 3 to 4 hours per week on strength training. This can be distributed across multiple sessions lasting about 60 to 90 minutes each.
It’s essential to note that the specific training regimen can vary based on individual player needs, team schedules, and other factors.
Players often work closely with their coaches and fitness experts to design a strength training program tailored to their goals and requirements.
7. 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.
1. 11 v 11 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.
2. 5 v 5 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 day 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.
3. 7 v 7 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.
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!