I truly believe that the off season soccer training is a must for every soccer player that wants to achieve better individual results each year.
It is that period of the year where you must sit down and analyze your previous season in order to be better prepared for the next.
What did you do last season? How was your performance? Where you happy with it?
Don’t you ever wonder why the top soccer players are performing better in each consecutive year? There is a simple answer for that. It is all about their yearly training schedule and the off season training can not be excluded from that.
There are three main aspects during off season and they include resting, mental training and specific skills set training.
Withing this post I will be talking about all of that in more depth, so you can understand the importance of the off season and how this will guide you to achieve better results each year.
It Starts With Your Resting
You are finishing the season with your club and the first thing you want to do is relax and fill up your batteries. That is totally correct and that is exactly what you should be doing for at least ten days.
Think of it like someone who is working all year around, waiting for that vacation (the one booked some months ago) in order to relax from everything and get away from that everyday schedule.
It is really important to get your mind and body away from soccer for some days. Resting mentally and physically has proven to create positive results in the long run (and avoid injuries as well).
This is the time of the year where you can spend more time with your family and friends, visit places you want to see or travel to another country.
Resting is as important as exercising.
Continue With Your Mind
Now, here comes the mental part. After you rest, you will have to get your mind back on track and on to soccer specifically. This is called, training your mind. Logical right?
Here is something that you can do alone without the need of a sports mental coach:
- Go back to the past season and think how you performed.
- Sit down and watch your soccer games again and analyze your individual performance (watch as many as you can-even the ones you think you did really well).
- Spot your mistakes or weaknesses and write them down on a list. You should be the judge for yourself.
- When you create your list, then you will know on which points to work on, starting from the off season and continuing all year around.
- Create a clear idea in your mind of what you want to achieve next season.
- Start reading a book or an autobiography of a well known athlete or coach (it doesn’t need to be soccer related). You will be positively and amazingly surprised from the new information you learn. Some ideas for you could be: Undisputed Truth-Mike Tyson’s book, The Mamba Mentality-Kobe Bryant’s book, My Autobiography-Sir Alex Ferguson’s book, King of the World-Mohamed Ali’s book.
By putting your weaknesses or mistakes down on paper, you are helping yourself to understand where to focus more and eventually this will lead to an improvement.
Everything above are things you can do alone and it will help you open your mind into becoming a better soccer player and a more open minded person as well.
Training on Specific Skills Set
Moving on to the fun part! After you do your homework (it might sound funny but believe me it is not) as explained in the mental training above, you will actually have a clear idea on what aspects of the game or individual skills you need to improve.
Every single soccer player has some positives and some negatives in his game. Some players are better when dribbling or shooting but lack when defending. Others are better when marking but lack when attacking.
Despite the several positions of the game, all soccer players must have a basic package of skills in order to succeed. After that basic package, each player has their own character
istics that are needed for each position. By trying thought to improve anything that has to do with the game of soccer, it will give you extra points on the pitch!
Now, depending on what you want to improve, see below some advises that can fit to your soccer profile and choose accordingly (have in mind that you can choose all of them if you like and can find the time to do it):
For players who want to improve their individual skills: Find a pitch (might be your back yard) and start working on those individual lacking skills set by yourself. This might include your technique with the ball, your running with the ball, passing with your “weak” foot, heading, shooting from distance, crossing the ball and etc.
For players who want to improve their tactical or individual part of the game: Find a good off season personal soccer coach and book as many sessions as possible
(make sure you plan ahead as most of them are fully booked during off season). You can ask them to train you specifically on certain parts of the game where you need improvement. This might be your handling with the ball (if you are a goalkeeper), your movement when shooting on goal (if you are a striker or a winger), your defending during opponent counter attacks (if you are defender) your concentration or response during the game (this goes for all players) and etc.
For players who want to improve their speed or reflexes: Find a good fitness coach (or even better a track and field coach) and book some sessions. Most people say that it is not easy for those two qualities to develop a lot (that is true), but if you manage to improve those skills by even 5% or 10% more, then you will be at a way better position than you were before. And that is the whole point.
For players who want to improve their body or core strength: Book some gym workouts with a strength personal coach. They would create a specific workout program for you but also advice you on how exactly you need to distribute your workouts in order to become stronger on the areas of the body you are in actual need.
I am sure that after you read everything above, some of you must be thinking… ” So if I book this then I will pay this.. And if I book that then I will pay that.. That would definitely require a good amount of money to pay from my pocket. And I will also be quite busy during my off season”…
I’ll tell you what.. Yes it will require time and money.. But the truth is: Investing in yourself (time and money) would be the best decision of your life. You cannot expected to see results or perform better if you don’t invest in YOU.
Think of a company that wants to attract new clients in order to make more profit. What do they do? Just sit and wait for new clients to come by? No! They pay huge amounts of money to marketing and advertising companies in order to have new clients in the long run. That is exactly what you should be doing with yourselves!
When there is a will, there is a way! Keep that very well in your mind!
Always remember that no one is perfect. All soccer players have weaknesses in some parts of their game and it is their duty to work on becoming better. We see a lot of soccer players who are born with the skills and are having a great career but are still working on their off season soccer training.
The off season time gives you the opportunity to do things you cannot do during the active season. Just to revise, resting, mental training and specific skills set training are a must during your off season.
If you check Leonel Messi’s Instagram during off season, you will see pictures or videos of him training in his sandy back yard. He is either playing foot volley or header volley most of the times. If you check Cristiano Ronaldo’s one, you will see him train with the ball or working his butt off to keep his body into great shape.
If the best soccer players in the world do it, then why shouldn’t you do it as well?
“When you are good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you are great at something, they’ll tell you” (Walter Payton-American football athlete). Walter Payton was absolutely right on that.
This is why your off season is a critical component in order to become great and not just be good at something. Extra work gives you extra improvement and creates more opportunities for your career and future!
P.S. Feel free to share this post and leave a comment below with any questions, ideas or even your own experiences. I would be happy to hear from you.