Tempo for young soccer players

I know there is alot info on tempo on the soccer threads, but what would be the ideal tempo for 15 and 16 year olds? 5000m a week 6000m ? I know for older soccer players 12000m a week is the goal but what 15 or 16 year olds? What would the rest intervals be?

Much depends on what your starting point has been? If you have been playing soccer at a high level for a while ( define how long?) then the adaptation to the work might not take long but you need to start somewhere but likely slowly especially if you are still in competition mode. While your questions are important you need to undestand their are a multitude of variables when integrating any type of work.
Ideally I would ask if you are currently doing tempo and if so how much and how often? Plan for a small amount now and design a proper progression come the end of your season depending on where you live.
I know one member on the site in particular and I let him know you have posted as he has been working with soccer players in your age range and had great success. Perhaps he will be able to get into some specifics with you.
Rest intervals will alter with fitness. Some ways to think of tempo with regards to rest. Initially you want to get the tempo done and keep the breaks challanging and consistent with the rule of thumb that you must finish the way you end. Historically I always make a distance ( 10 x 100 rest between sets was always 25 meters walk basically running goal post to goal post on most fields for football ( yes canadian football fields are different distances than US football) and then walk out roughly 12 meters / return and run back. / as fitness improves over time so does the speed of the tempo maybe and sometimes but it need not depending on what is getting done on the other days? / speed? / intense soccer skill? / what matters is the tempo does not take too much out of you for the primary focus of your training /
Just a start to some info so let us see what you come back to us with.

For athletes that age just starting out from scratch I would have used 10x 100 with 35 sec rest. The rest time was a fast walk across the field. Over a few weeks increasing up to 20 x 100 following Ange’s recommendations being the first and last rep are of same quality. Increasing demand without increasing volume you could add push ups and sit ups in between instead of just walking. Also adding 200 s over time and eventually leading up to a big circuit would be a good goal over the course of a year.

The weekly specifics of how much in season depends. My players communicate with me weekly to determine their tempo.

I’ve modified the big circuit for various athletes in which the volume is graduated over the course of an accumulation type block and eventually levels off.

Similar to what others here have stated, it’s key that the onset of this work corresponds to the athletes current preparation.

The other thing to consider is what the misinformed sport coach is likely to require of the athletes (ergo middle distance running for “conditioning”) For this reason, I’ve modified big circuits for high school level footballers (soccer) to include lengths of 100 and 200 at the onset and progress towards 200, 300, and 400 in order that we stay close to what’s smart yet cover some ground relative to what they’re likely to be subjected to without me resorting to programming middle distance running. In this way, I’ve started one athlete at 1500yds per session and finalized him at 5000 over a 10 week period. This is all prior to the school season.

Thank you everyone. James, you work upto 5000 over 10 weeks. Is that 5000 a session and over how many days? Two sessions a week or three?

Thanks ESTI,

When you are doing 10 x 1000 with 35 sec. rest do you rest between sets.
For example: 100+100+100 rest 2-3minutes
100 +100+100+100 rest 2-3minutes
100+100+100 cool down

The pinnacle is 5000/session x 3 sessions/week. Keep in mind that the athlete I wrote this for is not doing any speed work on the adjacent days because he is so incredibly weak that I ruled it to be counterproductive (one of the few exceptions).

So all he does is power speed, body weight calisthenics, and modified overload exercises on the adjacent days.

5000m of tempo has to be boring, I spoke with a Coach on the forum and this was the number one issue he had with CF 400m program (the athletes got very bored with all the repetitive high volume tempo running). I wonder would the athlete have more success with varied tempo - ex:

10x120 mb ball tempo
Rest 3min
6-5-4-3-2-1 tempo
Rest 3mins
10x120 bw calisthenics
Rest 3min
9x100 cut 50’s

I think Sony has some new expercise program for those atheltes and coaches? LOL
Seriously? Bored?
I think mixing it up can be fun once in a while but I would not move too far away too often from rudimentary work such as big circuit, 10x 100m/ push up / sit ups and other variations inclusive of straight running.
And if someone is not doing hard core speed 3x or 2x tempo might be a joke once they get fit.

Along the lines of the subjecting of longer runs for ‘conditioning’ and the monotony of the tempo runs:

I prescribe various general strength exercises inter-set, coupled with abdominal and calisthenics followed by a leisure walk.

Example from today (American Football Lineman):
Ext. Tempo: 8x50yd (~40yd walk inter-rep); Upon completion -> Walk width of field + Abdominal Circuit, 6 exercises, 15-30 reps + Walk Length of field, then repeat
Int. Tempo: 6x100yd (50 + 50) (finished in under 22 sec., 35 sec. rest inter-rep)

Note: We have also done small joint exercises with bands or dumbbells inter-set serving as a means of prehab.

Caveat being that he is subjected to a conditioning test that requires him to complete 20 “gassers”, all under 22 sec. with 35 sec. rest for the first 10, and 45 sec. rest for the last 10; thus the reasoning for the inclusion of the Intensive tempo.

When we began in May, his general fitness was very low, and we began with 500yd of tempo (all extensive, only in the last few weeks have we began to include the intensive tempo in order to begin to prepare him to pass his conditioning test), 120 reps of abdominal work, and 120 reps of medicine ball work.

The peak of the volumes were at 1500yd (this will continue to rise with the other work static), 240 reps of abdominal work, and 240 reps of medicine ball work per day; he also performs 3 days of CNS HI work that I do not program so my job is to more facilitate recovery, while concurrently develop his general fitness.

So, as James eluded too, the onset of the volumes must be pertinent to the individual at the given time, the above is a good example of an athlete with a low level of fitness who through proper programming and management of the load, made progressive gains in fitness with minimal time and energy expenditure.

That is one possiblity if the athlete is really not fit. We do all fo them straight through in a row. We work up to 40 x 100 with 35 rest over time.

Big circuit is worked up to a double big circuit.

The other series I have used is a 1+2+2+1++ progression that leads to 1+2+3++ and eventually upward to 15-18x 300 under 60 seconds with 60 seconds rest.

The higher limits are for college level players who have gone through a few years of tempo work.

Ages 15-16 ~ 1000-2000/ session 2-3x a week

Ages 16–17 2000-3000 / session 2-3x a week

Ages 17+ 3000-4000/ session 3 x a week

Having seen the fitness requirements of dozens of colleges, there are typically aerobic tests (beep, cooper, 1 mile, 2 mile etc) and repeat sprint recovery tests (shuttle runs, intermittent beep, Danish test (Bangsbo test), Man. U test.).

I feel if an athlete at the college level can meet times and recoveries of a double big circuit (which takes close to 40-50 minutes to complete), they have achieved match fitness, which to me is most important for the athlete. However, coaches tend to feel athletes are fit if they can run 2 miles under certain times and place emphasis on these tests.


What times are required to complete the 100 in? I understand this is 75% or less, so are these times individualized or is there a generic time in which you want your athletes to finish the 100 in?