The off-season for soccer players is a time to rest and recharge, but you don’t want to lose any conditioning during the break. You need a good balance between rest and training to be ready when the next season of soccer comes around.
Use the Off-Season to Get Relative Rest
Playing a single sport year-round can lead to ligament fatigue, postural asymmetries, muscle imbalances, injuries from overuse and a worsening of bad habits. That’s why getting some relative rest during the off-season is so important for soccer players.
Relative rest means changing up your training routine so you can rest the muscles you use the most during the soccer season. One form of relative rest is cross-training, because it allows your muscles to move in different ways.
Use the time between seasons to participate in an injury prevention program. A specialized exercise regimen can help you prevent a devastating ACL injury. You should look for balance, jump-landing mechanics, flexibility exercises, agility and strength training in an injury prevention program. Since so many ACL injuries are preventable, devoting time during the off-season is well worth it and could help you avoid a season- or career-ending injury.
Address Muscle Imbalances
In any sport, you put unequal pressure on different muscles in your body and wind up with muscle imbalances. The off-season is the time to correct those imbalances by exercising other muscle groups. For soccer players, take a break from building strength in your legs and focus on core, back, upper body and arms. Only toward the end of the off-season should you transition back to soccer-specific training.
Get Enough Cardio
It is so important to keep up your cardiovascular conditioning during the off-season so you don’t have to get back in shape when the season starts. To keep your conditioning up without risking overuse injuries, do two to three cardio sessions per week. Some good cardio exercises are:
- Jogging outside or on a treadmill
- Riding a bike, outside, stationary or in a cycling class
- Using an elliptical or rowing machine
- Taking a cardio class like Cardio Kick Butt or Zumba
Take a Mental Rest
Playing the same sport all the time can lead to burn out, or loss of interest in that sport. Taking the off-season to find new ways to exercise and condition can help your mental soccer game as well as your physical game.
Taking a break from the game gives you the opportunity to relax after the stress of competition and rigorous schedule of practices and games. Mix in some yoga and meditation several times a week for an extra edge. When you rest from soccer and come back to it the next season, you can return relaxed with a newfound mental clarity and focus.
Competitive Edge aims to develop the “complete athlete” using performance sports training in Woodbridge, VA and surrounding areas. Members are able to enhance their athletic performance and develop a competitive edge to excel in their desired sport.