Swedish soccer coaches’ experiences and application of physical training in male elite soccer: A qualitative content analysis study


Jonas Larsson1,2,3, M Charlotte Olsson2, Ann Bremander2,4,6
& Ingrid Larsson
4,5,6
1 Swedish Armed Forces, Eksjö, Sweden; 2 Rydberg Laboratory of Applied Sciences, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden; 3 Department of Translational medicine, Lund University, Sweden; 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Section of Rheumatology, Lund University, Sweden; 5 School of Health and Welfare, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden; 6 Spenshult Research and Development Centre, Halmstad, Sweden


In elite soccer, training becomes more systematic and soccer clubs try to optimise their physiological training programs. Previous research has investigated many aspects of soccer, but research into the coaches’ own experiences and continuous improvement of physical training is lacking. The aim of this study was to describe the coaches’ experiences and their application of physical training in male elite soccer. The design of the study was explorative and based on a qualitative content analysis with an abductive approach based on a custom version of the four-step quality model—the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle. Fifteen elite soccer coaches in Sweden were interviewed. The result showed that physical training in male elite soccer is an ongoing, continuously improving process that contains four different categories: 1) planning, containing gained experiences, teamwork, and lack of resources; 2) executing with different training methods, weekly rotation, and individual training; 3) evaluating containing monitor training load and physiological testing, and 4) improving with search for knowledge and long-term development. The coaches try to absorb new knowledge and continuously improve their training methods, although lack of resources sometimes does not allow them to introduce new training methods.us.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 12, 2021


JONAS LARSSON has a Degree of Master in Sport Science, Halmstad University. Larsson is currently a doctoral student in physiology at Lund University, Faculty of Medicine, and has an academic background in exercise biomedicine – health and performance. In his current research, he is focusing on cardiovascular demands on soldiers performing their tasks in simulated combat. Larsson is affiliated to the Swedish Armed Forces and Halmstad University.

M. CHARLOTTE OLSSON is an Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology at the Department of Environmental and Biosciences at Halmstad University. Her research is focused on exercise as medicine in chronic diseases, and physical training for athlete performance optimization.

ANN BREMANDER is a Physiotherapist and Professor in rheumatology rehabilitation. Her research focus include rehabilitation interventions where physical activity and lifestyle are of special interest. She has published epidemiological studies, methodological studies  as well as qualitative studies.

INGRID LARSSON is a Registered Nurse, PhD, and Associate Professor in nursing. Her research focuses on different perspectives of health and lifestyle. She has performed qualitative studies as well as intervention studies including children, adolescents, and adults, with chronic physical and mental health conditions.


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