Strength and Conditioning Program Design


It is important for any coach to have a defined plan which shapes the season for your team and for yourself. This is important for two reasons, firstly, it helps you to keep track of where you are at in the season so that you can modify the training as you go to continue to achieve results. Secondly in doing this you will be able to look back at your plan after the season is completed and see where you had deficiencies compared with performance and you will be able to modify the program to rectify these issues.

I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of athletes in my careers ranging from amateurs all the way through to world class professionals. The need for planning does not change. It is important to think about the athlete and think what they really need at that time of their preparation. I see it too many times that coaches will try to get too tricky and be very specific with their training methods when the athletes don't have a grasp of the basics. Young athletes need repetitive actions to develop coordination, strength, skill and automaticity to their craft. Professional athletes are no different it is just that we would expect them to be successful in their actions and reach that level of automaticity within a much shorter period of time, thus requiring a more frequent change of stimulus.

I have attached an example of the pre-season training plan that I used during the 2010-11 A-League season with now defunct Gold Coast United FC. I am not claiming that this program is the be all and end all of training for a professional soccer club, however I am willing to hang my hat on it so far as I can justify every element of the program from a physical preparation point of view and that it fitted in with what the coaching, playing and ownership group wanted at the time.

Weekly Session Breakdown

Pre-season conditioning

The first is a weekly breakdown of each training session which includes the type of training, the duration and intensity and some broad details about what will be done during each session. The second is an example of the traditional conditioning circuit that I put together which was formulated from GPS data that I was able to obtain on our playing group throughout the 2009/10 season. I call this traditional conditioning because it mimics the boring old running around the oval and up and back sprints that you probably did from the time you were 11 & 12 years old with club sport. However I have split the program up into low, moderate, and  high bands based on position and the requirements that we found from the GPS data. So as you can see in the document, instead of doing 10x40m sprints from a standing start, I had our high band or forwards making a curved run prior to doing their 40m sprint. That way I know that they are going to get a physical benefit from doing traditional anaerobic conditioning through repeat sprints, but also improve their game specific movements by adding in a specific movement that we found was required of them during a game.

I hope that this quick guide is helpful in stimulating ideas for your own training sessions and hope that you start to have your organised plans written down for each session.

If you have any further questions I am on Twitter under the name @a_cois  and would like to hear from you.

Adrian Cois
BAppSci (Ex Sci)