Off-season breaks look different for every athlete. Some athletes might vacation with their families. Others might spend time enjoying other activities at home.
Regardless of what you plan to do during your break, here are a few tips to help you stay ready during your off-season.
Rest Is Important
It is always important for an athlete to first accomplish rest and recovery from a long season. Our bodies and minds handle different kinds of stress throughout the season. It is important to allow enough time for your body and mind to rest before.
This should be any soccer player’s number one goal when the season ends. One to two weeks of full rest is a good baseline to set for yourself. Some players need a little more time to recover than others and that is okay. As soon as you feel relaxed and refreshed, take that as a sign to start your preparations for the next season.
Try Alternative Sports
The off-season provides athletes a chance to try new sports or different variations of soccer. Playing different sports can help you improve your overall athleticism.
Take defending in basketball for instance. Athletes can learn how and when to engage the offensive player. How to better adjust and manipulate your body using quick changes of direction. They can learn how to deny the offense a chance to create scoring opportunities. Sound familiar? Exactly like a defender’s responsibility in soccer.
Another great example of a sport that teaches necessary skills in soccer is baseball. Baseball is heavily tactical and is all about seeing the play before it happens. Soccer players can learn mental tactics like improved vision or anticipation and reactive abilities.
Play a Variation of Soccer
Remember, it is okay if you want to play soccer in the off-season and there are benefits to this approach. The best way of doing so is by playing different variations of soccer that will help with technical and tactical understandings of the game. Look for things like futsal or beach soccer leagues.
Maybe you and some friends pick up soccer tennis on a tennis court. Or even just people juggling the ball for fun. Jump in and have fun knowing that you are also working on skills that will help you once your season starts up again.
If you are not interested in playing any other sports, the off-season is a great time to go enjoy the outdoors. Try finding a group of friends to go on a hike or bike ride with. Get out and enjoy the beach if you live by the coast or go swim in a lake if you live inland.
Outdoor recreational activities allow athletes to continue to keep their fitness levels high while allowing time to explore and enjoy things they may have never tried. Going to the beach or lake? Take a frisbee, bring a spikeball set, or volleyball. Something that will keep your body moving while also getting the benefits of being outside in the sun and barefoot on the ground.
These are important for an athlete’s physical and mental health. Some athletes benefit more from not playing their sport in the off-season. They take the time to enjoy being around friends and family and doing activities that they either cannot do or do not have access to in the middle of the long youth soccer season.
Return to Basic Training
Soccer players need to remember that they need to work on their cardio in the off-season. After your rest period, find an activity that is cardio-based to help keep you ready. There is nothing worse than returning to team training and having to run a mile out of shape. The coach will not be happy.
Work in jogging a few times a week during the off-season. You can pick up trail running if you live somewhere with nice weather. Or use an indoor treadmill. Other cardio activities include rowing, cycling, or maybe dance classes.
The off-season is also a great time to address some of your weaker skills. Maybe you noticed you are struggling with your speed. Sign up for a few lessons with a speed coach to work on the fundamentals and help you come back stronger.
If you notice any problems with your joints or muscles during the off-season, it is a good time to speak to a doctor. You may need to take more time and rest. Or maybe you are using the mechanics of your body incorrectly. Someone like a physical therapist can help get you back on track.
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