The Weekly Training Schedule II: Off-Season Field Hockey

In the article The Weekly Training Schedule: General Recommendations for Training Elements, an outline was presented as to how to manage training stressors over the course of a week.  This article provided some very general guidelines on how to include various types of exercise into one’s training plan.  This post will focus on providing an example for a week of off-season training for the sport of field hockey.  Demands in this sport need to take into consideration the different positions played (attack, midfield, defense, and goalie).  The schedule and training modes presented at the end of this article will be based on an individual who plays the attack position.

Konarski (2010) performed an in-depth analysis into the match play of athletes on the Polish National Team.  This study examined factors related to players’ heart rates, energy expenditure, speeds, and distances traveled.  The results of this analysis revealed that field hockey requires high levels of speed and speed endurance, along with proper development of the aerobic system (Konaraksi, 2010; Sharkey 1986; Konarski et al,. 2006).  Players playing the attack position achieved the highest velocities, along with traveling farther than the other positions (Konarski, 2010).  This information supports an emphasis on high-quality speed development for these athletes, along with properly dosed aerobic work to complement to low-intensity aspects of the sport.

For the weekly training plan ,an athlete in the off-season will be looking to spend time on the elements discussed along with strength development.  As stated previously, the example to be used below will be for an athlete who plays the attack position.  While similar applications can be made for the midfielders and defenders, one would want to consider slight modifications to running volumes and intensities with these athletes.  The weekly template, along with training modes are as follows:

Day One

Dynamic Warm-Up (20 minutes of heart rate elevation, bodyweight movements, power/speed drills)

Speed Work (High quality with complete rest periods)

*Sprints 10-40 m distance range.  200-400 m total work

Lower Body Weights

*(Rehabilitation-based movements prior to main lifts.  For female field hockey athletes this would include work for the hip muscles (particularly the hip extensors and abductors) and ankles.

Day Two

Upper Body Weights

*(Rehabilitation-based movements prior to main lifts.  This would include exercises that reinforce good upper body posture)

Low-intensity power speed drills

Tempo Runs- Run at 75% for a total volume of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 with repetitions in the 50-100 m range.

Day Three

Off or Active Rest

*Option to do agility drills with extensive tempo intensity (<75%)

Day Four

Dynamic Warm-Up (As described previously)

Speed Work (Reduced volumes from Day One)

Lower Body Weights

Day Five

Upper Body Rehabilitation Strength Exercises

Upper body Weights

Tempo Runs- Same as described on Day Two with reduced volumes

Days Six/Seven

*At least one day totally off.

The template offers an option for four days of training involving strength, which can be modified to a three-day program (which has been used successfully by the author with some athletes).   There are various means by which the strength portion can be applied and the reader is encouraged to view a past article on this topic. One mistake that currently presents itself in regards to running is the emphasis on long-distance running from both a training and testing perspective.  Many coaches place an emphasis on testing 1, 1.5, and 2 mile runs in an effort to evaluate the endurance of their athletes.  While aerobic training certainly plays a role in the development of a field hockey athlete, the application of these testing measures is faulty.  The reader is encouraged to read the references cited below to support this premise.   It is again emphasized that the schedule presented above is a general outline for a week of training for a field hockey athlete playing the attack position.  A future post will reflect specifics as it relates to guidelines for each of the individual modes of training.  For now, the reader at least has some concept as to how to structure weekly training for this particular athlete.  Please feel free to post questions in the comments section on the facebook page.

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1.  Konarski, J. J.  (2010).  Characteristics of chosen parameters of external and internal loads in Eastern European high level field hockey players.  Journal of Human Sport & Exercise, 5 (1), 43-58.

2.  Konarski, J. J., Matuszynski, M., & Strzelczyk, R.  (2006).  Different team defense tactics and heart rate during a field hockey match.  Studies in Physical Culture and Tourism, 3, 145-148.

3.  Sharkey, B.  (1986).  Coaches guide to sport physiology.  Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics.




The Weekly Training Schedule: General Recommendations for Training Elements

Athletes of all levels of preparation will be using various means of training to address the physical requirements of their sport.  While characteristics of the means will vary based on sport demands, most forms of training will be included in an athlete’s training.  Components of the physical preparation process include:

1.  Skill Development

2.  Injury Prevention

3.  Strength Development

4.  Power Development

5.  Energy System Development

6.  Speed Development

7.  Multi-directional abilities (depending on the sport)

Depending on the time of year (or the length of time until competitions) athletes will be looking to address all or some of these areas in their training.  It is of vital importance that the individual in charge of the physical preparation of athletes strategically manage training in an effort to both develop the athlete, while at the same time not risking injury or overtraining.  Many sport coaches make the mistake of implementing a training schedule based on the concept of “working hard” by implementing high stress elements on a daily basis, with maybe one day “off” or “light” during the week.  It is important to recognize the impact of the training elements on the central nervous system (CNS) to determine how the athlete will recover from said training element.

As discussed in previous posts, the works of Charlie Francis (2012 & 2008) discuss the High/Low system of training, which manages stresses of the CNS over the week.  New trends in fitness have lead to athletes haphazardly implementing low-quality, high-intensity training on a daily basis in an effort to get athletes “in-shape” or “mentally prepare” themselves for the rigors of sport participation.  This mismanagement of training tends to go much more harm then good, even if short-term benefits appear to be occurring.  The High/Low System separates elements into high or low categories based upon stress to the CNS.  While there are elements that are deemed Medium intensity, Francis includes them in high intensity training since you cannot recover from this type of training in 24 hours.

Examples of High and low components are as follows (Francis 2012 & Francis 2008):


Sprints above 95%

High intensity Jumps

Strength Training (Efforts above 80%)

Explosive MB Throws (Note: some individuals will place these in a “medium” category, but as stated earlier, medium stresses will get considered high for recover purposes)


Tempo Conditioning (Extensive <75%)

Assistance Strength Training Exercises/Abdominal

Low intensity MB Throws

Sport skills can fall into the same categories based upon the intensity in which they are performed.  When looking at a week of training, one should determine where different elements may fit in order to optimize training outputs and recovery.   When a training approach is to utilize all training variables at different volumes over the week, one needs to make sure that the organization of different modes of training are performed in an appropriate order.  While volumes of each of the components will change, here is a basic template for placing them over the course of a training week for an athlete in the offseason  (note: this does not include warm-up activities that would precede training sessions):

Day 1




Strength Work

Day 2


Extensive Tempo Conditioning

Abdominal Training

Day 3

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute)

Day 4

Repeat Day One

Day 5

Repeat Day Two

Days 6 & 7

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute).  It would be suggested to take at least one day totally off for passive recovery (i.e. massage, passive stretching, etc.)

It is important to manage training stressors over the course of a week, and to make sure that you are utilizing methods that match the demands of the sport.  One must make sure that outputs are optimal on high CNS stress elements to make sure that adaptations to the training will yield the desired results.  While the schedule above may be reflected of many different training options, one needs to also consider the time of the year for the athlete (i.e. off-season, in-season, etc) when designing weekly training schedules.


Francis, C (2012).  The Charlie Francis Training System.  (Kindle edition).

Francis, C.  (2008).  The Structure of Training for Speed.  (Kindle edition).

Rolling Plank

It is very important when doing this exercise that you brace your abdomen appropriately to start the movement.  The key with this movement is to keep your ribs locked onto your pelvis the entire time; don’t allow your hips/pelvis to initiate the movement or shift (on one of the reps I actually have a slight shift going into the front plank).

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