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Pre-Season Training Games

Updated: Jun 5

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. Therefore, finding high-intensity games that are relevant to the style of play that the staff are looking for, can be extremely beneficial for fitness and enjoyment levels.

Having a game-based approach to the initial stages of pre-season training can provide the following advantages:

  • Creates a natural intensity that arises from competition

  • Reduction of stoppages for coaching points

  • Enjoyable for players after a long layoff

  • Great way to incorporate technical and tactical aspects, alongside the physical component

Below is a YouTube breakdown detailing three exercises. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page.

Please find the information and dimensions for all the exercises below, including a bonus exercise also:

7v7 High Pressing Game

  • Players are split into 7v7 teams

  • Game played in a 25x45 yard area , split into 3 zones

  • Players are not limited to movement and can go anywhere in the area

  • One condition of the game: If a team regains the ball in the opponent's initial zone and score, the goal is worth 3 points

  • This is to incentivize high pressing throughout

  • All restarts begin with the goalkeeper of the possession team

5-Second Restart Game

  • Game played in a 25x45 yard area

  • Players are split into 7v7 teams

  • Players are not limited to movement and can go anywhere in the area

  • One condition of the game: If a ball goes out for a throw-in, the possession team have five seconds to restart the game or possession turns over

  • This is to increase speed of play and create attacking opportunities from fast restarts

Quick Transition Game

  • 20 players are split into two 5v5 games with players on each team numbered 1-5 on both pitches

  • Games played in two 15x30 yard pitches, right beside each other

  • Both games start at the same time

  • Coach randomly calls one or two numbers and players on both teams must switch with teammates on the other pitch who have the same number

  • When changes occur, games continue without any stoppage

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