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NCAA Training Regulations for Soccer and Field Hockey Athletes

If you want to know what your training schedule will look like as a student-athlete, you need to understand that the NCAA has crafted specific bylaws aimed at ensuring these student-athletes manage to excel in both their athletic and academic pursuits. What are these? Read on to find out!

Written by

Christoph Willemsen

Balancing the rigorous demands of collegiate sports while maintaining academic excellence is a challenge every NCAA soccer and field hockey athlete faces. The NCAA has crafted specific bylaws aimed at ensuring these student-athletes manage to excel in both their athletic and academic pursuits. 

This blog post will explore the nuanced training hour limitations, mandated days off, and the prioritization of class time across different seasons, accompanied by sample training schedules.

NCAA Training Regulations Overview

Understanding Training Hour Limits

  • In-Season: A cap of 20 hours per week on countable athletically related activities ensures student-athletes have ample time for academics and rest.

  • Off-Season (First 8 Weeks): The off-season is initially limited to 8 hours per week of countable activities, focusing primarily on strength and conditioning.

  • Off-Season (After 8 Weeks): Training ramps up to 20 hours per week, allowing for intensive skill development and team dynamics enhancement.

Days Off and Academic Balance

  • Mandatory Day Off: Regardless of the season, athletes are guaranteed at least one full day off per week, supporting academic focus and personal well-being.
  • No Class Time Missed: Integral to these regulations is the assurance that athletic training does not interfere with class attendance, emphasizing the athlete's role as a student first.

For further details on NCAA regulations, please refer to the NCAA Bylaws at NCAA Bylaw Database.

Training Schedule Examples

1. In-Season Schedule (20 Hours per Week)

2. Off-Season Schedule (First 8 Weeks, 8 Hours per Week)

3. Off-Season Schedule (After 8 Weeks, 20 Hours per Week)

What does this look like in reality?

So now you know what you can expect in terms of training intensity in the season and in the off-season. But what does it really look like? Watch the two videos below to get a better idea of what you can expect when you take the step to the USA to play college sports.

Day in the life of a field hockey player at the University of Louisville

Day in the life of a soccer player at Cincinnati Men’s Soccer


The NCAA's meticulous structuring of training schedules reflects a commitment to fostering an environment where student-athletes can flourish both in their sport and academic endeavors. By adhering to these regulations, soccer and field hockey athletes can optimize their performance, maintain their health, and achieve academic success. 

The transition from an 8-hour training limit in the early off-season to 20 hours allows for a balanced approach to developing athletic skills while ensuring the athletes' well-being and academic commitments remain a priority.

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