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The problem I am trying to resolve is either dropping off my training too early in the week and feeling a bit stiff on the day we play or I over train and can't maintain speed/power/endurance because my legs are still sore or tired.

I play on the same day every week so I'm interested in finding out what sort of a weekly routine do football teams have as they are also on a weekly cycle and I assume there has been plenty of research done into:

  • How many days after a game should a player commence full training?
  • How many days before a game should a player rest or pull back from training?
  • Do they rest mid-week and train the day before the game?
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To clarify, I believe you are asking about European football (e.g. soccer), rather than what North Americans call football? –  JohnP Sep 19 '12 at 14:47
    
How often does the team practise in the week before the games? –  FredrikD Oct 12 '12 at 9:55
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It would REALLY help if you gave an idea of what your current training regimen looks like. –  YYY Oct 25 '12 at 15:59
    
@JohnP Or what Austalians call football - which can still vary depending on which side of the Barassi line you fall on. –  Lego Stormtroopr Jan 4 at 23:15
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4 Answers

I'm assuming that by "train" you mean "work out hard". If you work out hard and then don't do anything for a few days, the next time you do anything you will be stiff.

My recommendation is to warm up and work the kinks out one or two days before you play - that will get rid of the stiff feeling. It can also be useful to do a few sprints; not enough to get you tired but just to get your legs good as warm.

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I used to work with a university hockey team so although it`s not the same sport, the principles are similar.

Here`s what a typical week would look like.

  • Monday: gym workout (intense) and hockey practice
  • Tuesday: hockey practice
  • Wednesday: gym workout (intense) and hockey practice
  • Thursday: gym workout (more sport specific than lifting weight) and hockey practice
  • Friday: practice and game planning
  • Saturday: light practice (or light cardio) in the morning than game at night
  • Sunday: rest

The details of the workout would depend on the annual periodisation plan (stregth, power, endurance, etc), but it pretty much followed the same weekly pattern.

Also, to help reduce the soreness and tiredness feeling in their legs, the ice tub was their best friend after an intense practice or a game.

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  1. The complete recovery for the muscles after a game is 48 Hrs. I would suggest that a player can commence full training after a days break. i.e. Player should start full training on Tuesday, if he had a match on Sunday. However Monday can't be sedentary, the player at least needs to go for a light workout, that would facilitate the muscle recovery.
  2. I would advice a day before the match the player needs to have light activity and should reduce the training session, otherwise on the day of the match player will have stiffness.
  3. I think the last question is already answered, mid-week session should be the most intense one.
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In our football club we train on a routine of training on Thursdays and playing the match on Saturday in the league. This is because the gap we have from Thursday to Saturday to rest up and prepare ourselves both physically and mentally for the game, which also works in the other way as to rest from Saturday to Thursday as it gives you a good amount of recovery time both ways. We do normally do small workouts at home to make sure that our ability for the game is great but only for an hour or a bit more to ensure you don't over do it, for instance a 15 minute jog and 45 minute practice at accuracy, passing etc... this works for both football or soccer but if you mean soccer as in helmets etc... then i recommend more strength training included and breaks in between training. You should warm up and warm down to ensure you don't pick up any injuries and take it easy to recover for the game. I would personally recommend practice Friday, and if you feel like you need to do more then practice early before the game, for instance getting there early.Make sure you keep warm before the game and hopefully this should help your performance.

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