How to periodise your footballers training in-season?

USP - How to periodise your footballers training in-season

How to periodise your footballers training in-season?

One of the most challenging issues for both the head coach and strength and conditioning coach is how to plan and periodise training during the actual competition season. Because it’s impossible for teams to peak year round.

How much work can athletes tolerate before they get injured, overtrain or match day competition performance suffers?

How little training can athletes perform to enhance their performance during the season?

To answer these questions we can look at the factors affecting in-season periodization. Such as the quality of the opposition, days between matches and travel.

For example the training leading up to hard opposition, few days recovery, away game with travel would be significantly different from playing easy opposition, with long recovery at the home ground.

Match Difficulty is a prediction of the difficulty of each match.

This is developed by the following variables:

Level of opposition


Training Days between matches


Match Location

On a sliding scale of importance

Level of opposition

  • Rank the opposition teams at start of year
  • Strongest to Weakest
  • Physical to least physical
  • Re-rank every week
  • Include your own team

Level of Opposition 12 AFL Teams

Top 412-9
Middle 38-6
Bottom 35-3

Match Difficulty

Training Days between matches

Matches Played on Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon

4-9 Days between matches

Training days between matches

4 days8
5 days6
6 days4
7 days2
8 days1

Match difficulty



Away with Travel

Away with air travel

Match Location NEAFL

Away with travel3

Total match difficulty-NEAFL

Team 1114116
Team 23429
Team 3126321
Team 4102113

Predicted match Difficulty vs. Actual Match Difficulty

Predicted vs Actual Match Difficulty

Plan training load using RPE data. Take RPE data 30 mins after sesh finished.


Planned Training Load


Planned Training Load


Planned vs Actual Training Load

Planned vs Actual Training Loads

Match difficulty vs Training Load

Match difficulty vs Training Load

Planned vs Actual Training Load

Planned vs Actual Training Load

Overview of the system

System Overview

All the best,

Joey Hayes

Kelly, V. G. & Coutts, A. J. Planning and Monitoring Training Loads During the Competition Phase in team Sports. Strength and Conditioning Journal, August 2007, Vol 29, No 4, Pg 32-37.