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Football Tactics

Top tips for planning a football training session

Whether you are a keen amateur or an elite-level superstar, training is an essential part of maximising your talents as a footballer.

Professional clubs undoubtedly have a significant advantage over those at grassroots level as they are able to work with their players daily.

Amateur coaches often have to be more creative as they only have a few hours per week available to them to work with their players.

With that in mind, we have produced some tips amateur coaches can follow to plan a football training session effectively.


Before you get into the nuts and bolts of formulating a training plan, it is imperative to invest in the correct equipment so everything runs smoothly.

Core items should include good-quality football goals for training, marker cones, training bibs, footballs and water bottles.

Don’t forget to invest in a whistle, as this can come in extremely handy when you’re trying to catch the attention of a group of unruly players!

Pre-season training

This is quite a broad category to consider but is one which requires a great deal of thought. In simple terms, you need two plans – one for pre-season and another for during the season.

Many amateur players return for pre-season out of shape, so you must formulate a plan which allows them to build up their core fitness in a structured manner.

This should incorporate a range of cardiovascular and strength exercises plus some ball work, each of which will help players hit the ground running when the season starts.

In-season training

Once the season gets underway, amateur coaches should focus on keeping fitness levels ticking over rather than running players into the ground.

Training drills built around working with the ball keep players engaged and are a stealthy way to ensure they are maintaining their fitness.

Overworking players can be a recipe for disaster, especially when playing surfaces are heavy, so make sure you take a more subtle approach during the season.


Professional clubs have the luxury of staging sessions purely devoted to tactics, allowing coaches to drill down into every element of a team’s play.

Clubs at grassroots level have a limited amount of time to work on this side of things, but it is imperative to ensure an element of training sessions is devoted to this.

Establishing and maintaining a basic system and shape will help everyone in your squad understand their roles and make your team tougher to play against.

Off-field training

Although amateur coaches have a limited timeframe to work with players, it is still feasible to influence them away from training sessions.

Don’t be afraid to point players in the direction of information about sports psychology techniques, which can positively impact their overall mindset.

Nutrition is another consideration. While you cannot control every aspect of an amateur player’s diet, you can make recommendations that help them live a healthier lifestyle.

Rest & recovery

Rest and recovery is another element which can be tricky to manage at amateur level, but there are ways you can help players get to grips with this.

Warming up and warming down should top and tail each training session, and the same ethos must also be applied when playing any competitive games.

Encourage players to take rest and recovery seriously at home, particularly after matches. This should include getting the requisite amount of sleep each night.

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