Throughout July, thousands of players and staff are returning to their clubs following an extended summer break;

Pre-season has always been a critical period for clubs and players. Traditionally, it was seen as a time to regain fitness, drop a few pounds, integrate new signings and play a few friendly matches to get back into the rhythm of competitive football. However, in recent years, pre-season has undergone a dramatic transformation, reflecting the changing landscape of the sport.

Here, we look at how pre-season in football has evolved and why it
has become a high-stakes, meticulously planned period for teams across the globe.


Globalisation and Commercial Opportunity

Across Europe's top leagues, clubs now embark on international tours, visiting countries in Asia, North America, and the Middle East. These tours are not just about preparing for the season ahead; they are massive commercial ventures. Clubs play in front of packed stadiums, engage with local fans, and promote their brand globally. This global reach boosts the clubs' revenue through ticket sales and merchandise and helps them build a worldwide fanbase.


Data-Driven Training

Data and technology heavily influence the modern pre-season. Gone are the days players ran laps around the pitch to build their fitness. Today, clubs employ sports scientists and performance analysts who use data to tailor training programs to each player's needs. Wearable technology such as GPS Player Trackers record metrics such as distance covered, speeds reached and training intensity, allowing coaches to optimise training loads and minimise the risk of injuries. This data-driven approach ensures that players are in peak physical condition for the start of the season.

To learn more about GPS for your team, click here.


Tactical Preparation

Pre-season isn't just about physical conditioning. Managers and coaches use this time to implement new strategies, formations, and styles of play. Pre-season matches against carefully selected opposition provide a testing ground for these styles of play, ensuring that players are aware of their responsibility when league fixtures begin.


Integration of New Signings

With the transfer market becoming increasingly dynamic, integrating new signings quickly and effectively is crucial. Pre-season provides the perfect opportunity for new players to adapt to the team's style of play, build chemistry with their teammates, and settle into their new environment. This integration process is often facilitated away from the grass, through team-building activities and external events, helping to create cohesion in the squad.

The evolution of pre-season football reflects the broader changes in the sport itself. What was once a relatively straightforward period has become a meticulously planned part of the football calendar. Gone are the endless laps for players who have perhaps overindulged during their off-season.


About the Author

Ben is a performance coach who has worked in professional sport for 15 years. He has a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and has experience working across all levels of football from non-league with FC Halifax Town, EFL with Bradford City and more recently in the Premier League with both Manchester City and Liverpool.

Ben currently works with Huddersfield Town alongside working privately with professional footballers, providing them with regular performance support and coaching. He has recently joined PitcheroGPS as performance director to help provide football teams with expert support when using PitcheroGPS Player Trackers.