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Creating a High Intensity Pre-Season Session!

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Designing a pre-season training session is definitely a balancing act for a coach. On one hand most coaches want to improve the fitness levels of their players, making up for a long lay-off and preparing them for the rigors of competition as soon as possible. On the other hand however, we are becoming increasingly aware as a coaching community that 'too much, too soon' can be detrimental to fitness levels and can increase the risk of injuries throughout the squad. So how do you get the balance right? In my opinion, prior planning and identifying your key objectives are the key.

These new tactical videos are part of the launch of our new eBook: 'Twenty Attacking Tactical Training Session Plans' which you can get your copy here.

This week's video is designed around how I would construct a pre-season training session for a group of 18 players, aiming for 60 minutes work. The reason why I've chosen that time frame is that it gives coaches enough time to incorporate warm-ups, cool downs, and even some positional unit work around a healthy time frame so that you are not keeping players out on the grass for too long. The objectives of the session are below and would be the foundation of what I would want to build sessions around throughout the season. We talk a lot about 'philosophies' as coaches as it refers to a playing system, but I don't think we address training philosophies enough. Having exercises that flow quickly, allow players to compete, and expose them to similar challenges to the game, will only help you transition your team from training to the game. That is why session design is so important.

At the end of the video (below), you can see how I have broken down the times and recovery for each exercise. Committing to this type of plan is not always easy as a coach, particularly when you are just as excited as the players to get back on the grass, but becomes crucial when you want to get that balance right between intensity and limiting exposure to injuries.

You can watch the full session with the breakdown of each exercise on the video below. If you enjoy it, please subscribe to our YouTube page so you do not miss the next one.

This video was part of the launch of our new MSC eBook: Twenty Attacking Training Sessions, designed to help coaches connect the dots between philosophy, tactical flexibility and session design. The book contains twenty full session plans that are broken down into three phases: build-up, midfield progression, and goal-scoring. Each session will contain three exercises so there are 60 exercises overall! With his experience in the professional game as a coach and an analyst, Gary Curneen has designed these sessions to help bring out intensity, tactical understanding and game-like situations, that are enjoyable for both players and staff. Click here to get your copy.

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