BACKGROUND: The pre-season’s training goal is to prepare the athletes for the competitive season which involves training and competition loads. A daily training session may include periods of physical preparation (Phase 1), technical preparation (Phase 2), tactical application (Phase 3), and competition simulation (Phase 4). Organizing training sessions into specific phases allows analysis of daily training objectives. Sport coaches and performance coaches can ensure all training goals are addressed during the training week prior to matchday. PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to analyze the training load differences in phases of practice between two time periods during a competitive season. METHODS: 20 male professional soccer players were monitored using GPS equipment during 44 training sessions over two periods, pre-season (n=22) and in-season (n=22). Training load was calculated as a team average and did not include goalkeepers. Performance metrics of interest include duration (D), total distance (TD), high-metabolic load distance (HMLD), number of accelerations (#A), number of decelerations (#D), number of sprints (#S) and total loading (TL). An independent t-test analysis was used to compare training load metrics during phases 1-4 during two time periods; confidence intervals were set at 95%. RESULTS: Phase 3, was significantly different between time periods in TD (t(41) = 2.036), HMLD (t(41) = 2.086), #A (t(41) = 2.073), #D (t(41) = 2.819), and TL (t(41) = 2.067). Phase 1 was also significantly different between time periods in #D (t(26.135) = 2.800). Phase 3 training loads were higher in pre-season compared to in-season, TD (1082.47m > 768.83m), HMLD (186.31m > 124.76m), #A (15.02 > 9.82), #D (12.93 > 6.94), and TL (18.45 > 13.00). Phase 1 #D were higher in pre-season (5.09 > 1.96). CONCLUSION: Significant differences compared between time periods were found, predominantly in the tactical application phase. Training sessions appear to result in lower levels of training load during in-season, this may be due to the nature of in-season competition (or matches) compared to pre-season friendlies. The differences in training load may be a result of increased amounts of coaching between staff and players.

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