Focus on building in the off-season
RECONDITIONING: Consistent, low-impact training during the seasonal break is highly effective
It’s almost always based on personal will.
When the calendar turns to September and the province’s soccer players return for a new season, most coaches know who’s been exercising their will through the summer.
They know, almost at first sight, who’s been using the off-season to build on their skills, and who has not.
“You can always tell when a player’s doing the work away from us,” said Markus Reinkens, manager of soccer science and player development at B.C. Soccer.
“In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to instil with a player because it’s really all about their own personal will.”
B.C. Soccer recommends at least two weeks away from the pitch to focus on conditioning — tending to injuries, seeing a physiotherapist, and engaging in low impact activities like walking or swimming.
“While there’s lots of off-season programming ... an extensive portion of that should be on the regeneration of that player and the lightening of the load during that time,” Reinkens said.
On average, the low impact period lasts for about two weeks from the time the season closes. However, each off-season program should be customized to fit each player.
In a compilation of off-season training routines — following the mandatory recovery period — Reinkens suggests the following:
Fit your training: The best offseason training routine is one that is tailored to you. If possible, seek a trainer or a gym with trainers at hand that can offer consolations and can help you build a summer routine. Starting the off-season with a guide that is fit to your body will aid in making the most of your training. Moreover, it will prevent training that can be counter-productive to your soccer development.
Endurance: Building on the cardiovascular system, aerobic exercise is one of the best forms of endurance development that compliments soccer-related fitness. Endurance training stems from activities like running, swimming, or biking.
Agility and Speed: One of the most important skills in soccer is also one of the simplest tasks for a player to exercise on their own, whether it’s placing a ladder in the backyard and testing how many times you can climb it, or doing short sprints, with integrated soccer footwork, across 40 yards.