Periodization has finally made its way from Olympic training theory to soccer and should be a consideration at all coaching levels.

Periodization is derived from ‘Period’ which is a division of time into smaller, easy-to-manage segments.  In our case ”Training Periods’. Specifically, periodization is the division of a yearly training plan into training phases which apply to the principles of training.  Work load and intensity of training programs in split into successive small units ranging from one week to a full year. Each segment of training targets a specific type of training (i.e. skill, speed, strength, stamina and suppleness (the five S’s).  In football these fitness attributes need to be blended with both technical and tactical training.  A well designed training program takes into account both the physiological and psychological needs of players.

To achieve maximum performance and effective training it is the coaches responsibility to properly periodize and plan the training for the year.  The development of skills and psychological attributes should follow a logical sequence.

Our goal is to have our players peak at the optimal times (i.e. Competition).  Deficient preparation will result in less than optimal performance.  Planning a successful training plan isa two way process between the coaching staff and players to develop a realistic and attainable schedule with a balance between training and recovery.  Inexperienced players and youth players are dependent on their coaches to develop these plans.


Plans should be designed using a sequential approach.  A well organized plan will result in the desired psychological and physiological adaptation to the player.  The duration of phases depends heavily on the time the players needs to increase training level and also the timing of competition where peak performance is desired. Single season sports have an annual plan called a monocycle; since there is only one competitive phase, there is only one peak or competitive phase (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Relationship of Volume, Intensity and Technique in Training Plan

In modern soccer coaching staff of almost all levels should be engaged in developing training programs and schedules that involve consideration of periodization.  This will help then gain the most out of players.  Training programs that incorporate this methodology including periodized plans. Soccer drills should be selected that take into consideration these elements.  For more detailed information on Football Periodization.