Periods of Competitive Break in Soccer: Implications on Individual and Collective Performance

André P. Marques1, Bruno Travassos1, 2, 3, Luís Branquinho4, Ricardo Ferraz1, 2, *
1 Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
2 Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal
3 Portugal Football School, Portuguese Football Federation, Oeiras, Portugal
4 Higher Institute of Educational Sciences of the Douro, Penafiel, Portugal

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© 2022 Marques et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Sports Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Convento de Santo António 6201-001, Covilhã, Portugal; Tel: +351 275 329 153; Fax: 00 351 275 329 183; E-mail:


Competitive breaks in soccer have been revealed to be detrimental to the individual and collective performance of soccer players and teams. Several studies have been carried out, and the evidence suggests the need to apply specific training programs to avoid a decline in soccer players’ performance. However, the elaboration of these specific programs, in many cases, is essentially focused on physical performance, neglecting the technical and behavioral domain.

In this small review, the competitive breaks and their main effects for detraining were critically analyzed. Concurrently, we analyzed the effects of the use of specific training programs to avoid changes in the performance of soccer players and teams.

It is essential to create guidelines for coaches to apply for specific training programs properly during competitive breaks so that soccer players can maintain their individual and collective performance, considering the physiological, technical, and behavioral domains. Applying of these programs will also contribute to enhancing soccer players’ physical condition, increasing their tolerance to the imposed training loads, and, consequently, reducing the appearance of injuries.

Keywords: Detraining, Season, Off-season, Transition period, Training program, Training load, Technical, Physiological, Physical.