AFL Periodization How to plan and structure training to optimize for football performance

Maximizing Football Performance: Key Training Themes for the In-Season Period


Football teams face the challenge of optimizing performance during the demanding in-season period. Understanding and implementing effective themes are crucial for success in the field. This blog post explores five essential training themes, including “Football Training Planning,” to enhance football performance during the in-season period, focusing on tactical assessment, physical data analysis, recovery monitoring, training variation, and workload management. Football Training Planning.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Training themes
  • The energy of the group
  • The balance between work and time away from the club
  • Importance of offsite sessions

Tactical Assessment and Feedback

During the in-season period, games offer valuable feedback for coaches to assess the team’s tactics. Analyzing match footage and performance data helps identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Coaches can use this information to develop targeted training sessions addressing tactical deficiencies, and refining players’ decision-making, positioning, and team cohesion.

Utilizing Physical Data Points

Incorporating physical data analysis provides valuable insights into player performance and workload management. GPS tracking systems measure players’ distances covered, accelerations, decelerations, and high-intensity sprints during matches. Coaches can use this data to identify players at risk of fatigue or injury and make informed decisions on player rotation and recovery strategies, optimizing training programs.

Recovery Monitoring

Managing player energy levels is crucial during the in-season period, especially with back-to-back games or short turnarounds. Monitoring recovery trends ensures players are rested and ready to perform at their best. Methods like player questionnaires, wearable technology, and subjective feedback assess individual recovery rates. This helps coaches decide training intensity, rest periods, and resource allocation, maximizing player performance and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.

Training Variation

To maintain enthusiasm and avoid monotony, incorporating off-site sessions and different training stimuli is beneficial. Training in alternative locations and introducing new drills and exercises provide a refreshing change of scenery and boost team spirit. Non-football activities like swimming, yoga, or team-building exercises enhance physical and mental well-being while fostering camaraderie. Training variation keeps players engaged, motivated, and mentally fresh throughout the in-season period.

Workload Management and Squad Development

Balancing workload and timing is crucial for long-term success. Players should have opportunities to develop versatility and adaptability by rotating positions during training sessions and competitive matches. This develops squad depth and readiness for unexpected circumstances like injuries or suspensions. It also fosters a healthy competitive spirit within the team, motivating players to vie for starting positions and contribute to the team’s overall success.


Optimizing football performance during the in-season period requires a comprehensive approach involving tactical assessment, physical data analysis, recovery monitoring, training variation, and workload management. Coaches and high-performance staff must adapt training strategies to meet the unique demands of the season while keeping players motivated and engaged. Implementing these training themes effectively enhances on-field performance, maintains player well-being, and increases the likelihood of achieving team goals.

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