Your first paragraph ...
There wasn't much of a difference in terms of equipment between the clubs I played for but there most definitely was a difference from the amateur level to the professional level in terms of equipment.
A list of soccer training equipment we would have at our disposal and use in sessions on the regular would be:
-Just your every day soccer cones, larger and smaller for different foot drills or agility workouts.
-Several sets of them during practice or if you wanted to put some extra work you could use them at any time to increase your speed.
-About 12 inches high these cones are used in various warm ups, agility and speed drills.
-No explanation needed. Just a pair of any old runners will do the trick common now it's soccer don't tell me running is not your thing.
Watch (with timer)
-For getting accurate times when working alone on your fitness. Properly executing workouts both work and rest periods timed accurately.
-Good old pair of boots. Leather baby.
-Used for strength workouts and flexibility training. Long bands of rubber with different tensions and lengths for different workouts.
-Used in rehabilitation and other balance workouts. Just a rubber disk to help with your balance.
-5-10lb medicine balls for strength and conditioning sessions. Also used for certain rehabilitation exercises.
-Large ball to about your knees is standard size. Used for abdominal training and other core exercises.
-Just a straight pole you can stick in the ground for agility and speed workouts to weave through and juke around.
Portable Player Wall
-Used to practice free kicks on this portable wall emulates a wall in a free kick situation in a game. Great for working on set plays.
Heart Rate Monitors
-Wear them around your chest and are great for the conditioning coach to see your work rate and level of cardiovascular fitness.
Soccer Balls (oh really? Never would have guessed)
Do I Need to Spend A Lot of Money to Get the Equipment I Need?
Nope. I never had the fanciest equipment until I started playing professionally and even then I didn't absolutely need to have them. That doesn't mean wearing a potato sack and tissue boxes on your feet to train in but the basics will do the trick, that's right, old school.
What Type of Soccer Training Equipment Should I Use?
Thought you'd never ask. At the pro level their are all the fancy heart monitors and stabilizers and other things I can't pronounce but these are the basics I believe every player shouldn't be without.
Sticking to the Basics:
-1 pair of running shoes -1 pair of soccer cleats -1 short, shirt, socks -10 regular cones -1 Ball (preferably more) -Headphones and Music
That's it! But wait I want to buy all the fancy gear so I can look like Ronaldo but play like an old broom.
Ya sure more balls would be nice, few pairs of cleats would be great too, and maybe a couple training tops and jackets but these are the bare essentials. Put the tireless hours in of work so when you sign pro and get all the fancy things you feel like you've earned it.
3. Speed Ladder