Recipe for Soccer Success – 5 Habits to Harness in the Off-Season
What are you doing right now to get better? The off-season or “transition phase” between seasons is 5-10 weeks where you can focus on physical recuperation and mental downtime. A well-designed off-season plan will help to avoid overuse injuries and medical treatments which account for 3.5 million doctor visit per year by youth athletes.
The mind also needs a break and works better when it can block seasons into distinct phases therefore guiding you to set and achieve goals and milestones.
Harness these 5 habits in the soccer off-season.
Play outside the Box
Incorporate other activities like swimming, tennis, basketball, yoga or golf. Camps and individual skill development sessions are an excellent opportunity to cross-train. Multi-sport athletes are more likely to be active adults while single sport athletes are 70-93% more likely to sustain an injury and burnout of their sport.
Short resistance and functional strength movement exercises focusing on the core, hip/hamstring, low back, extensor muscles can help re-balance the body through stabilizing neglected muscle groups.
Reach for Your Toes
Focus on flexibility through yoga and pilates which complement other workouts. Functional yoga such as Peak Performance Yoga matches specific exercises to the athlete’s sport and position played therefore capitalizing the physical benefits and enhancing performance. Flexibility is a building block of strength and is key to injury prevention and long-term play. Yoga also develops an expanded lung capacity through focused breathing which benefits the athlete in muscle oxygenation, fuel burning, recovery and removal of lactic acid.
Spend time with the ball juggling, engaging in small-sided games, or street soccer and less time on structured games. Sports are meant to be fun and part of adolescent social development. Off-season unstructured play time develops a smarter athlete and increases their ability to react technically during regular season play. Go out and HAVE FUN!
Shape up your Plate
Adequately fueling and listening to the needs of your body are crucial elements to peak performance. Off-season is not a time to forget well-balanced meals and proper hydration. It is time to set up better habits. New habits take 21 days of conscious practice and 66 days to become habits. Try adding whole grains or removing processed snacks one at a time. Eat fresh. It’s not as hard as you think!
Staci Baker M.S, R.D., is an RYT-200 Certified Yoga Teacher and Owner of 5420 Yoga. She uses her knowledge to work with athletes through her yoga program, Peak Performance Yoga. Her variety of yoga classes create community connection, increase awareness of the benefits of yoga and provide a positive environment for her students to grow, learn and have fun. For more information, please visit www.5420yoga.com or 303-803-5982