Training Load Management

How do we best prepare players for the demands of the game?

ISSPF Article

The speed of the game is quicker and the time that the ball is in play is almost fifteen minutes greater than in the 1990’s. Speed, agility, acceleration, strength and endurance are all physical attributes that must be developed by all players across any level (at the appropriate phase) during their long-term development.

Currently coaches face the challenge of improving physical football performance as a whole without encroaching on the technical and tactical training time periods (Iaia et al., 2015). Aerobic endurance capacity is an important consideration with high maximal values correlated to work rate during match play with reported benefits to aid between bout recoveries during high intensity playing periods, while also offering a protective effect from subsequent injury risk (Gabbett, 2016).

Training load management is one of the hottest debated topics in the game at this moment of time, and coaches or managers who rotate their squad for fitness vs. freshness benefits are in no doubt this is the way to succeed. Taking individual players fitness, injury history, age & physiology into consideration is key when managing the game & training loads.


Soccer player diet

Why is this course important?

  • Highlights the reasons we should monitor and assess training load in soccer
  • Highlights the practical application of modern training load monitoring & assessment tools
  • Provides an understanding of the need to monitor players training load & minimize training ‘spikes’
  • Helps you to understand the balance between soccer related fitness, freshness & fatigue
  • Assists in preparing players for the physical, technical & tactical demands in a safe, progressive manner
  • May help us to reduce the risk for non-contact muscle injuries, through a better understanding of planning & preparation


Who is this course for?

  • Individuals tasked with the responsibility for the training & coaching aspects of athletes or team sports
  • Individuals with an interest in developing their knowledge in the training & development of individual athletes or team sports


Indeed, the best way to prevent injuries within team sport players is to ensure that the players has developed the specific capacities required of them to participate within the training and match play environment and ensure the appropriate application of training (Gabbett, 2016). The ultimate goal in the physical preparation of the elite athlete is to prescribe the correct training load (TL) in order maximise outcome.

nutrition for footballers

A less than adequate TL will not result in the required level of physiological development, whereas excessive TL may predispose the athlete to a greater risk of injury and illness (Gabbett, 2007). Therefore, the aim of the current section is to provide the applied soccer coach & performance staff with methods to apply within their own coaching practice that have been shown to be linked to reduction of injury risk within team sports.  

Studies from soccer & indeed other sports have shown that when an athlete or players training and playing load for a given week (acute load – below diagram) spikes above what they have been doing on average over the past 4 weeks (chronic load – below), they are more likely to be injured. This spike in the acute:chronic workload ratio may be from an unusual week or an ebbing of the athlete’s training load over a period of time as in recuperation from injury. Findings from the study referenced below demonstrate a strong predictive relationship between acute:chronic workload ratio and injury likelihood. Assessment of the training load management process as a result is an interesting approach for coaches and performance staff to monitor.

nutrition for footballers

As a result, monitoring training load seems to be essential in order to:

  • Improve interpretation of physical tests used to verify the effectiveness of training programmes
  • Design periodization strategies
  • Identify athletes who are poor responders (to training)
  • To control the compliance of the training completed to that planned by the coach
  • To modify the training process before the assessment of its outcome, thus optimizing soccer performance

The key factor in soccer training theory is to implement this process of adaptation to improve fitness and eventually improve performance. There is also good evidence for load management to prevent illness and over-training in athletes! This is why as a coach of any level having an understanding leads to better decisions and better coaching efficiency!

When training is planned and completed by players at the appropriate intensity and volume it provides the intended increases in fitness levels. Research has shown that players with the appropriate fitness levels have the required resilience to both training and game demands and therefore these players are at reduced injury risk.

The demand for training load management experts & coaching specialists in football is growing year upon year. Thousands of students are leaving university with a sport science degree, however many of them asking the key question – What now? How do I get a job in football? What’s the next step? Which area of sport science do I want to specialise in?



The demand for training load management experts, performance & coaching specialists in football & team sports is growing year upon year. Thousands of students & coaches are leaving university with a sport science degree, however many of them asking the key question – What now? How do I get a job in football? What’s the next step? Which area of sport science or football science do I want to specialise in?

This is certainly an interesting question as progressing from completing a sport science degree to then working in professional football & trying to understanding all the key components, and soft skills that come with jobs in football or careers within sport.

The bespoke courses developed by ISSPF Elite Faculty members are a way of further exposing sport science students, individuals working within the game, coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, sport therapists & other football science enthusiasts with a thirst to develop further in this area 

The link below will take you to the hugely popular & expertly designed ISSPF endorsed & accredited Training Load Management online sport science course, where you will be exposed to football science & specific soccer coaching led research, practical examples and training load monitoring methods used by leading practitioners within varying levels team sport development.




Average Workload: 20 hours total (pre-lecture reading + online content + questions + assignment)
Delivery Method: Online-based at a time of your convenience
Language Delivered: English



Training Load Management course:

Module 1: Soccer player testing & monitoring: Real evidence
Lecturer: Prof. Darren Paul (England) Aspire Academy, Qatar

Module 2: Injury reduction strategies in professional soccer
Lecturer: Dr. Patrick Orme (England) Championship

Module 3: Considerations & Applications of Training Load Monitoring in Elite Soccer Players
Lecturer: Dr. Vasilis Kalapthorakos (Greece) Panathinaikos

Module 4: Soccer specific monitoring: Weekly microcycle, planning and performance
Lecturer: Dr. Dawid Golinski (Poland) Ekstraklasa

Module 5: External load monitoring in professional soccer: Understanding GPS tracking
Lecturer: Dr. Xinji Xi (China) Chinese Super League

Module 6: Testing and monitoring in soccer: training & games
Lecturer: Dr Berni Guerro (Spain) La Liga
Topic: Performance Analysis

Module 7: Soccer specific monitoring: Subjective effort assessment
Lecturer: Dr. Dawid Golinski (Poland) Ekstraklasa

Module 8: Training Load Management: The appliance of science
Lecturer: Dr. Adam Owen (Wales)

    nutrition for footballers

    FAQs & key words:


    • How do you calculate training load?
    • What does training load mean?
    • What is load management?
    • Athlete monitoring
    • Managing the training load of athletes
    • Exercise load numbers
    • How to increase training load
    • Training load devices (GPS, heart rate monitors, RPE scale)
    • What is training load?
    • Training load / Garmin exercise load
    • Training load Statsport
    • Training load Catapult
    • Injury in sport
    • Injury prevention in soccer
    • What is a good training load?
    • Principles of training load
    • Training load strava