4.5 hours. You may be wondering what that time amount stands for. That key time duration is a statistic that many players do not realize the value of. 4.5 hours is the average amount of time players spend training each week with the soccer ball. That's two practices and a match (not counting possible tournaments). Do you think that is enough to become a well developed and confident soccer player? My professional opinion is "No, not at all". Let's compare a couple other development benchmarks for a second. Children on average spend approx. 40 hours a week at school (8 hours a day x 5 days) in order to learn the valuable lessons to better their future. Similarly, they spend approx. 49 hours per week sleeping (7 hours a day x 7 days). We can see that if it is important for their current and future development, more time will be spent. So is 4.5 hours a week enough time spent if a player wants to seriously develop their soccer skill and confidence? There is a popular study/idea out there called the "10,000 Hour Rule". It was made popular by a psych writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers". Basically, he found in his study of professional athletes, musicians and other talent based occupations that they tended to have accumulated over 10,000 hours of training in their lifetime. His theory was that in order to become proficient in your sport, you had spend "10,000 hours of deliberate practice" and by that time you theoretically would be at a professional level. While his theory has its truths and mistruths (athletic ability, genetic disposition and nature of your training focus are all important variables), it still stands the more you practice, the more improvement you can expect! The major reason additional training hours are crucial is because the sport of soccer is a fairly complicated game to master; even with it's apparent "simple nature". Think about all the different aspects of soccer that players have to be able to do at a moment's notice:
Sprint at speed
Change direction correctly
Receive a pass at different speeds and trajectory
Make a pass to teammates that is accurate and the proper pace
Adjust their touch and control according to pressure from their opponent.
Bring a ball under control and be able to adjust to finish a shot past the goalkeeper
Constantly making game time decisions and more.....
Players are usually asked to make and execute those decisions in under 1/10 of sec! In order to develop the muscle memory, reflexes and cognitive retention demanded by the sport, players must train more than the required 4.5 hours usually set each week. While age and current development level are important factors, players should look for training AT LEAST 1 HOUR PER DAY. With practice and games figured in (and a day to recover), a good example of an athlete's training schedule would look like this:
Monday - Technical ball work (1 hour)
Tuesday - Team practice/ Match (1.5 hours)
Wednesday - Recovery - Light Technical ball work/ fitness (1 hour)
Thursday - Team practice/Match (1.5 hours)
Friday - Technical ball work (1 hour)
Saturday - Team practice/Match (1.5 hours)
Sunday - Recovery - No Training; Stretching and mental recovery
By adding just one hour of training per day, your weekly training amount just nearly doubled from 4.5 hours to 7.5 hours. That is the minimum I suggest to my players that are serious about improving. Normal team training, while incredibly important, is not enough training time for a player to become proficient at their sport. It takes extra effort, dedication and personal resolve to become a more confident and developed soccer player!
If you have any questions about training ideas, techniques or soccer in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. by Joe Pennell, QTSD© Director of Marketing/ Senior Coach