Periodization for a High School Soccer Program in the Midwest
With the varsity high school soccer season crammed into a 12-week period having a strategic document prepared for the season will give your program a chance to succeed.
Time is a “premium” at the High School level of play. Rules and regulations must be adhered to. Preseason and allowable camps are well defined, and the Head coach is well advised to put a fully planned training process in place prior to the beginning of the season. The well-being of a high school athlete needs to be paramount in the coaching staff’s training model. There are going to be great divides between Middle School, Freshmen, and Senior players over the 5-year span which will provide an environment of challenging proportions and growth-spurt differences amongst the Student-Athletes.
With such a short season the task of improving the squad’s technical, conditioning, and decision-making attributes falls directly on the Head Coaches shoulders. Considering the shortness of the total season the Head Coach should be looking to accelerate the squad’s tactical understanding of the formations and individual roles and responsibilities which are the key factors for success. Decision-making, faster reaction times, players moving into positionings quicker, player motion with and without the ball; makes for better decisions in tactical situations.
When you start working on the High School calendar the game schedule is when the first periodization information is to be entered. This is the template you’ll need, and you will start adding the following topics to the calendar; REST DAYS – PASSIVE RECOVERY – ACTIVE RECOVERY – MEDIUM LEARNING of GAME CONDITIONS – HIGH-INTENSITY ENDURANCE – SPEED of PLAY – PRE-GAME STRATEGIC SESSIONS like FREE KICKS & CORNER KICKS – CONDITIONED PROGRESSIONS and FATIGUE LEVELS. These topics simplify the Periodization of your individual sessions giving you structure and purpose throughout your seasonal campaign. With this type of insight, your training content will cover all the principles of play with appropriate exposure that will capture and excite your squad of players’ enhancing their endurance, intensity, recovery, and their competitive edge.
Break down your style of play; how do you want to build up from the back? What are the positional needs and specific play characteristics? In team defending, how to be compact, how to close-down players and force them either wide or to other teammates. Movement of the ball from back to front what patterns are you wanting to create with different services short and long passes, ball circulation, changing and switching play, overlaps, and players up.
This type of preparation brings all your players along the learning curve of what the game demands and helps them understand how they can all find success in the game. Do your Periodization on the front end, and then enjoy the season of growth from all involved in your program.
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