Pre-Season Guidelines

Pre-season is designed to prepare the body for the season ahead. Particularly if you haven’t done any sport related activity in six months and if you expect to start the season without blowing a gasket. Without a proper pre-season you will perform poorly and have a greater risk of injury.  It won’t matter how well you warm up on that first game, it will not prepare you well enough for the game ahead.

So what should be included in a good pre-season program?  If you look at the key performance indicators of any sports testing protocol you will see five main aspects:

  1. Endurance
  2. Agility
  3. Speed
  4. Flexibility
  5. Power

This is a general guide that will go into further detail of each of these aspects and can prepare you for the season ahead. Specific pre-season programs for your sport would be the ideal preparation for your season.

  1. Endurance
    • How long you can go for
      • This can include building up your running distances appropriately for your chosen sport.
      • Start off with a 10min run and gradually building up to 30mins, 45mins, then to an hour. This should happen over the course of several weeks.
      • These distances and time may vary for different sports – for example in a 90min soccer match, you would be running approximately 6-10km during a game.
      • The idea is to make sure you are not increasing your distances too quickly. You can add swimming, cycling or rowing to help with your endurance and prevent overloading your body.
      • Example Endurance Exercises
  1. Agility
    • How well you can change direction, step, pivot and twist
      • There are several sporting tests you can use as exercises to help increase your agility. These tests include the AFL agility test, figure 8 agility test, change of direction test and more.
      • You can complete these tests and look at improving your times as the weeks go on.
      • The idea is to start with gentle turns, then as you improve increase the sharpness of the turns and speed.
      • Here is a link to a few agility tests. Look through each one and speak to your physiotherapist or coach to determine which one is appropriate for you.



  1. Speed
    • How fast you are
      • When increasing speed, start off by pacing yourself for an 800m run, gradually increasing the pace over a couple of weeks. This is a general guide only and can vary for individuals:
        • Week 1 – 800m x 4
        • Week 2 – 600m x 4
        • Week 3 – 400m x 8
        • Week 4 – 200m x 6
        • Week 5 – 200m x 8
        • Week 6 – 100m x 6
      • Complete these sessions three times a week, spread over the week. Ideally having a day break in between each session to prevent injury.
      • Make sure you are slowly progressing your times, it may take several sessions at the same pace for your body to adjust to the increase in load.
  1. Flexibility
    • How mobile you are, and how well your muscles can adapt to being stretched
      • A good stretching program should incorporate all your major muscle groups, including your shoulders, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves.
      • Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds, 2 sets on both sides, 2 times a day. Try to aim for 3 out of the 7 days if possible, and post exercising.
      • This is a link to some of our stretches
  1. Power
    • How strong you are with certain movements such as jumping, kicking, and hitting.
      • The idea with increasing strength and power is to first start off with a general strengthening program. This can include body weight exercises targeting your lower and upper body (squats, lunges, push-ups, dips).
      • Try to include these exercises into your weekly routine at least 2-3 days a week. Aiming for approximately 8-12reps and 2 sets each session.
      • After a general strengthening program has been completed, you can start adding plyometric activities such as hopping, skipping, jumping etc.
      • These require more explosive power from your muscle. This resembles the type of activity your muscles will be doing during sport.
      • Example Power Exercises

This is a general guide that will prepare you for the season ahead. If you have any questions regarding pre-season or sports specific programs, call us on 02 9481 9856 to either speak to or book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.