The offseason—that time between seasons when your player isn’t participating competitively in soccer—is when young athletes can get ahead of the game. It’s the time when players can prepare their bodies to prevent common injuries.
It’s important to rest during the offseason, but that doesn’t mean taking a full on break from soccer. In fact, taking a complete break and jumping straight back in to it months later when the season starts often spells disaster.
Here are three ideas to help your player best use the offseason:
1. Team up with your child
A great way to make sure your child stays motivated during the offseason is to set the example. Pick a day or two each week to play around at the park together, pass a ball back and forth, go for a jog or try a few easy conditioning drills together. It’ll be great for your health and for bonding with your child!
2. Touch that soccer ball!
According to Bob Bradley, former coach of the U.S. Men’s National team and now coaching in Europe, one of the best (and easiest) ways your child can improve technique, touch and ball control during the offseason is to play with a ball whenever possible. It’s important that young players get a “feel” for the ball and that happens when there’s a ball at their feet. Have them do some juggling, dribbling with both feet and try out some new tricks whenever possible. The additional benefit is keeping young bodies well-conditioned to reduce injuries.
3. Work on basic movements
Alex Slezak, Youth Fitness Specialist at the International Youth Conditioning Association, recommends that young players should use the downtime between seasons to work on their technical skills, build strength and condition their body through fundamental movements such as jumping, landing, making sharp turns and decelerating to improve overall athleticism. That’s the best prescription for injury prevention!