How to design a training session?

To begin this post about how to design our tasks, sessions, etc. We will start by establishing certain basic aspects for a correct interpretation.

The first thing we are going to define is the meaning of session or task, as the basic unit or the smallest unit of training, which is normally done in one day, although there are times when it can be done in one day, two or even 3 training sessions, above all, this usually happens in a more professional environment. These tasks can in turn be subdivided into parts or phases with a specific objective.

Outline of a football training session

  • The next sections we will define have to do with the different cycles that occur over days, months or even seasons. There are three types of cycles: microcycle, mesocycle and macrocycle.
  1. Microcycle: these are structural training units of 3 to 7 days, i.e. structures of one week of practice. Normally we talk about the preparation between one match and another, which usually has a time span of one week, although in the professional field we can find up to two matches. During this period it is common to carry out 2 to 7 sessions depending on the level of the team.
  2. Mesocycles: these are average training structures that last from 3 to 6 weeks. The duration depends on the objectives that are sought and the moment within the preparation, they are normally 4 weeks, although there are exceptions such as pre-seasons which are usually carried out in 6-week mesocycles.
  3. Macrocycle: this is a longer training period with a time span of 3 to 12 months. Depending on the level or objectives of our team, this period can be divided into 2 or 3 macrocycles.
  • Finally, we will explain the meaning of period, as the conventional training organisation of a season, with three periods: pre-season, competition and recovery or rest.

Structure of a training session

  • The structure of a training is divided into three phases:
  1. The warm-up: with a time period of 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Main part: with a duration of 60 to 90 minutes. These will be divided into parts, which can be 4 to 6 parts, with a duration of 10 to 20 minutes each.
  3. Calm down: as a recovery of the pulse and tension of a training session, with a duration of 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the intensity with which the training session was concluded.

After presenting each of the phases, we will present a small outline of how and what types of tasks we can introduce throughout each part of our session.

The first thing we start our session with is the warm-up, which will begin with a more general mobility of our whole body and we will gradually introduce more specific work depending on the task we are going to carry out later, whether it is a strength task, technical or tactical work, or a mixture of both.

  • Types of heating:

2.Specific, in order to subsequently perform a task:
-Technical work
-Technical-Tactical Work
-Tactical work

  • After our warm-up we will move on to our main part of the session, which may be differentiated by:

Physical Preparation:

-Endurance: Aerobic, Anaerobic.
-Continuous method: Continuous running, Fartlek, etc.
-Discontinuous or fractioned method: Series, Intervall, etc.

  • Strength:

-Strength Endurance
-Explosive Strength
-Maximum strength

  • Coordination:

-Running Technique: Amplitude, Frequency, Turns, etc.


-Preventive Exercises.

  • Work on technique:

-Individual technique: 1 ball 1 player: Skill, driving and dribbling.
-Collective technique: Driving, control, passing, combined actions, etc.
-According to game system.

  • Technical-tactical tasks:

-Rondos: fields up to 40m. x 40m., from 4 to 12 players.
-Possessions: fields of more than 40m. x 40m., from 12 to 20 players.
-Duels: 1×1, 2×1, 2×2, 3×2, 3×3, 4×3, …..
-Combined actions: simple or according to the system of play.

  • Tactics: referring to game situations that will occur in matches.
  • Defence: high pressure, medium withdrawal, intensive withdrawal.
  • Attack: initiation, creation and completion.
  • Counter-attack.
  • Transitions: defensive or offensive.
  • Matches applied: played in small, intermediate or full field
  • .Small fields: with a maximum surface of 40m. x 40m., with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 players.
  • Medium fields: with a size up to 60m. x 60m., with a participation of 12 to 20 players.
  • ¾ Field or area to area: with a participation of 12 to 20 players.
  • Full field: with an intervention of 12 to 22 players, although it is advisable to use a number close to 20 or 22 players, due to the large space we have.
  • Strategy: corners, front fouls, side fouls, throw-ins, penalties, in short, any set-piece action.

Finally, once the main part of our session has finished, we will have to calm our players down for a correct recovery.
This cool down will be done with a gentle continuous run and some stretching, focusing on the areas that have had the most work and leaving some time free for each athlete to stretch their most fatigued areas.

  • Return to Calm:
  1. Gentle continuous running.
  2. Stretching.

How to perform the exercises?

In order to carry out the exercises we will have to look at the real transfer it has to the competition and if they really serve to understand the game of football.
We must also carry out exercises to identify game situations, see what happens and give answers that make our players understand the game.

This will mean that we have to encourage correct decision making in the tasks, making our athletes see which is the most appropriate way to act in each situation, that is to say, the correct decision making that makes the player understand the game.

Another type of exercise that we should encourage are the exercises in which the players have to learn to play without the ball, applying a lot of speed to the game, executing them with intensity and precision, this will make the players improve their mental speed.

In addition to all of the above, there are a number of requirements that must be taken into account when applying our exercises:

  1. To be in accordance with our model of play.
  2. Based on the physical and technical conditions of our players.
  3. Looking for situations that occur frequently in matches or that we want to occur.
  4. Exercises in which we always present an opponent, which allows us to give realism to the game; the uncertainty of not knowing how they will act.
  5. In which you look for situations that are constantly repeated so that they can make the right decision and can be transferred to the competition (you have to repeat the situations a lot).
  6. In which you make the player understand why it is done and what for.
  7. In which the player recognises this situation in the match and knows what to do to solve the problem (making the right decision).
  8. Finally, apply situations that are repeated regularly, with rules of provocation.
  • Training tasks have to be performed depending on:
  1. Type of exercise.
  2. Day of the week and the type of intensity you want to give it.
  3. Number of players.
  4. Size of the spaces.
  5. Number of contacts to be made with the ball.
  6. Result of the score, favourable or unfavourable, or any external aspect that may affect our player.
  7. Rules we set and their variants.





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