I once had an interesting conversation with an assistant men’s soccer coach. He and the guys on that team watched the first of our matches during a tournament before they left for their own match. Naturally, that was our weakest performance of the tournament. :-/

Recovering between matches

The question the soccer coach asked me had to do with how players handle playing multiple matches in a day. As he noted, soccer players in the US don’t play more than one match a day after about the age of 12. He was curious what was the biggest challenge for players when playing two matches. Is it the physical? Is it the mental?

I’m curious to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.

For my own part, I think it’s probably more mental than physical. Yes, there is definitely a physical element, especially for players who jump a lot. There’s a ton of mental energy exerted in especially a competitive match. Even as a coach I find myself wanting a nap after an intense match!

To be fair, though, volleyball players are used to multiple matches per day. That’s the deal for Juniors volleyball, after all. College players usually come from clubs that play in 2-3 day tournaments, and pool play rounds feature generally three matches a day. Obviously, those matches aren’t at the same level as a college match, and they are usually only best-of-3 rather than best-of-5. But the players are used to having to “get up” for a match multiple times a day. They are both mentally and physically conditioned for it.

Having said that, there is definitely a general push toward only playing one match per day. This is especially true at the upper levels of the college game.

6 Steps to Better Practices - Free Guide

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter today and get this free guide to making your practices the best, along with loads more coaching tips and information.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    2 replies to "Playing multiple matches a day question"

    • Alexis Lebedew

      The number of matches per day is less important than the change in total load. If someone is used to 10 matches a day, then that is fine. If they go from 1 match a week, to 10 in a weekend, that is bad.

      • John Forman

        Agreed. And of course if you go from zero training to playing a weekend beach tournament it’s very bad. 😀

Please share your own ideas and opinions.