Just How Often Should My Player Be Training?

by Joe Pennell - QTSD© Director of Player Development


Back in 2015, we wrote our very first “The QTSD© Training Ground©” article. The topic dealt with just how much should players train each week and what was required for success on the soccer field.


In that article, we discussed a theoretical training “equation” to address the problem of many players only averaging 4.5 hours a week training. In that post, we professionally recommended aiming closer to 10-12 hours a week training; physically, technically, tactically, and recovery wise. But after a recent conversation with a colleague of ours, we realized there is a bigger component to this. That realization was that no matter how much we recommend a player train, they first need to decide which goal(s) they are trying to focus on in soccer.

WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?

Isn't there just a simple formula to success? Unfortunately, nothing is that easy. The level of training required directly reflects a player's goals and the amount of drive/effort/sacrifice they are willing to put towards it. We’ll give you a couple scenarios below:

  • CONTENT WITH CURRENT TEAM/PLAYING SITUATION - A player that has made a team they aimed for may be content with their current development level BUT still need to keep their skills sharp (as other players may be vying for their playing time).

  • DIDN’T MAKE A TEAM - A player that did not make a club or high school team may set a goal to make the team next year. That means they have one full year to reach their goal.

  • WANT TO PLAY COLLEGE - Depending on their age, this means players have to plan their training and motivation over a longer period of time; maybe six to eight years long. They will be competing against players from all over the nation to be recruited. WANT TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL - This requires a different mindset. One that could be a journey lasting upwards of twenty years. This mindset requires the realization of two things; soccer is their passion and it will become a job. A professional maturity is required here.

Why did we list those? Because each requires a different mindset and training approach than the other. A player that wants to make their HS team next year has a shorter time period to improve BUT the level of improvement required is not as intense as a player aiming to play professionally.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY PLAYER?

First and foremost, a player needs to decide what their current (and potential future) goals are. If they are content with their current playing situation, they most likely will just need to train on a regular basis to be able to compete with peers and stay sharp during season. But if they did not make a team OR are aiming for a higher level, they will need to adopt a mindset that is stronger/more disciplined than the players they trying to beat out.

A GREAT EXAMPLE OF MINDSET

A friend of ours told us his story; one that is a great example of differences in mindsets. When he was very young, he decided that he wanted to play professionally. Whether motivated by his Croatian coaches, local soccer community, OR just loved the game, he knew where he wanted soccer to take him. That meant playing club soccer for the coaches that would fully develop his potential, training with the best technical coaches, spending hours on the field each week training, and developing a mindset of a professional player. A mindset he thought was normal until he recognized other players with much lower expectations. One season, some of his teammates would show up to club/HS practice with alcohol in their water bottles. To him, this didn’t make any sense. Why would you even think about alcohol or drugs if your dream was to play professionally? But quickly he realized his teammates didn’t share the same mindset; they were there just to mess around and didn’t have larger goals in mind.


** Spoiler - Our friend did go onto play collegiately, professionally, and eventually coach collegiately. His consistent mindset, drive, and determination helped reach his goals.**


SO HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY PLAYER TRAIN?