Intentional Training Model

The Dan Abraham's Soccer Academy helps players, coaches and parents work together on the mental side of the game. It's packed with fun, animated video sessions that bring the psychology of soccer to life.

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Things have to change.

Soccer players must take charge of their training. They must own it. They must walk onto the pitch with a plan in mind – one they’ve made themselves, one that is self-driven, and one that they can keenly reflect upon at the end of the training session.

Too many soccer players train passively. They let their coaches take charge of their development. They train for training sakes. They think just because they’ve turned up they’re going to get better.

Nothing could be further from the truth. To improve in soccer you have to practice on purpose. You have to train with intention.

This neatly introduces my Intentional Training Model. It’s a model for players to learn how to learn and how to develop skill.

Intentional training consists of four main components – interesting, intense, internalised and integrated.


In short, players need to make training interesting for themselves – it must absorb their focus. To do this they have to set stretch goals for themselves. Training must also be intense – not just physically intense must mentally too. Training must be internalised – as in players must self-reflect as they practice their game. And finally, training must integrated with feedback from their coaches.

Intentional training is interesting, intense, internalised and integrated.

The model is underpinned by four theories of learning, thinking and being – self-determination, system one/two thinking, flow and deliberate practice.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to talk more about this model for players – I’m going to bring it alive for you. I’ll also discuss the theories that underpin the model.

Of course to really learn about the model in the coming months I’ll be adding videos to my Soccer Academy (www.danabrahams.comsocceracademy) that brings it alive.

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Dan Abrahams

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist who works alongside some of the leading players, teams, coaches and organisations in the world. He is known for his passion and ability to de-mystify sport psychology, as well as his talent for creating easy to understand and simple to use techniques and performance philosophies. A former professional golfer and PGA golf coach Dan has a First Class Honours degree in psychology and Masters degree in sport psychology. Academically he is visiting lecturer at several universities and he holds registration with the HCPC (meaning he is legally safe to practice as a psychologist). Dan works in all sport but specialises in football/soccer and golf. He is Lead Psychologist for England Golf and he works with players from leading amateur through to Tour players. In football/soccer psychology he is regarded as a leader in the field. He has some of the leading turnaround case studies in Premier League history and he has written two international bestselling books. One of these books, Soccer Tough, has been heralded one of the most important books in football. He currently works with players, teams and organisations across 'Planet Football.' Dan also works in the Corporate Sector delivering his sport psychology techniques and philosophies to individuals and groups.