Book Review: Soccer Fitness & Training Log

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Soccer Fitness & Training Log is a comprehensive training guide written by Darren Pitfield, a professional soccer coach with ten years of coaching experience and an academic background in physical education, sports science, and the physiology of maximum exercise intensity. The book is a 29-page guide that can be utilized by players for self-coaching or by coaches/parents for youth player development. I have used this book as an adult recreational player to improve my soccer fitness and skills over the past year.

There are multiple advantages to this book, each of which serves to benefit the player under its guidance. One tremendously helpful feature is the book's chart of a twelve-month training schedule, illustrating how training intensity can wax and wane as a function of the fall and spring soccer seasons. This "bird's-eye view" of the training year also offers suggestions as to which aspects of player development can be focused upon week by week.

"Soccer players are made, not born." - Darren Pitfield

The training workouts are grouped into six color-coded categories: anaerobic endurance, aerobic endurance, power, functional strength, agility and quickness, and touch and control. Overall, there are seventy-two unique training activities contained in this book, each of which focuses upon one of these domains of player development. This means that, for example, if a training week will focus upon anaerobic endurance, there are three example structures given for an anaerobic endurance training week and each of those consists of 3-4 unique anaerobic endurance workouts. Overall, the year-long training log, multi-dimensional scope, and specific training session descriptions are major benefits of this book.

There are a few disadvantages to Soccer & Fitness Log as well. One is that its organization could be more clearly explained toward the beginning. Although the user eventually mines a wealth of content and training guidance from it, initially this can be difficult to navigate and apprehend for players unfamiliar with the book. For example, a simple explanation at the beginning that this is a training program focusing upon one domain of player development per week would be helpful (since not all training programs are structured this way). The book also contains many typos, which can be distracting. Some of the training session directions are vague or confusing for players who may be unfamiliar with the specific training activity, leaving them to make a best guess as to how to complete that given workout.

Despite some of these minor drawbacks, I would say that the advantages of this book greatly outweigh its idiosyncrasies. It can be used by players at a variety of skill levels and age ranges to facilitate multi-dimensional player development, all of whom stand to benefit from its use. 

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Dr. Parke is a therapist who provides therapy to high-achieving teens and college students in-person and online in California. Cities served include Fullerton, Brea, and Yorba Linda; zip codes served include 92835, 92823, and 92886. © 2023 Jackie Parke, Psy.D. All rights reserved.