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.




Development of the Alactic System Part III- Alactic Capacity

In a previous post, the development of alactic power was discussed.  In most athletic contests, athletes need to not only be explosive and powerful, but they also need to sustain that power over the course on an entire contest.   In order to develop this quality, appropriate programming to develop capacity of the alactic system will enable an athlete to compete with speed and power repeatedly for the duration of a contest; Verkhoshansky & Verkhoshansky (2011) defines power and capacity in this manner:

Capacity- the total quantity of producing energy

Power- the quantity of energy produced in the time unit

Improving the capacity (or conditioning) of the alactic system requires that short duration efforts greater than 95% intensity (<8 seconds) are repeated in multiple bouts.  An important component of this type of training is to keep an individual below their anaerobic threshold; the athlete should not begin to utilize the lactic system due to the intensity zone utilized being too slow for speed development (Francis, 2008).  Keeping the athlete below anaerobic threshold with efforts greater than 95% with appropriate rest intervals means the speed and power of the effort will be maintained for the duration of the session.

This type of conditioning can be performed with both jumps and sprints.  The key is to have a high intensity effort as described previously, with a rest interval of 10-60 seconds (Morris & Williams, 2013; Verkhoshansky & Verkhoshansky, 2011).  Many times coaches implement more lactic-based conditioning in an effort to help with maintaining an athlete’s speed for a contest.  The inherent problem with this is that the speed of the effort in this type of training begins to drop as efforts are repeated; an athlete actually ends up training to maintain a slower speed.  Sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, some combat disciplines, and lacrosse are sports that primarily utilize both the aerobic and alactic systems to fuel their efforts, and should not be incorporating large volumes of lactic-based conditioning into their off-season or in-season protocols.  In a future post some examples of alactic capacity training will be outlined.

References & Recommended Readings

Verkhoshansky, Y., Verkhoshansky, N.  2011.  Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.  Verkhoshansky SSTM.  Rome, Italy.

Francis, C.  2008.  The Structure of Training for Speed.

Morris, B, Williams, R.  2013.  American Football Physical Preparation:  How to Optimally Prepare for Your Best Season Ever.  Ebook available at

Article featured in Elitefts Make-A-Wish Foundation Holiday E-Book

Dave Tate and Elitefts have put together a great training resource for a great cause.  Elitefts has just put out the 2011 Make-A-Wish E-Book “Programs that Work,” with all of the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Greater Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.

The e-book contains over 30 programs.   Included in the e-book is an article by me, titled “Lower Body Agility/Power/Strength Training for a Field Hockey Goalie.” A while back I posted a blog article giving one piece of this program; the e-book contains an entire training block I used to train this athlete.

The e-book features many outstanding professionals in the strength & conditioning field and covers a range of training topics for various sports (basketball, MMA, powerlifting, figure competitions, and more).  The donation for the book is $10 (additional donations can be added to the $10).  For $10 you will get a great deal of information and support a GREAT cause.

Click on this link<a href=”″></a> to take you to the site where you can order the e-book.

I have read these e-books in the past and have always enjoyed them.  They have even put the past e-books out if you would like to grab one of them as well.

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