Many athletes look forward to the off-season after enduring a long and grueling season. The off-season is also a great opportunity to recharge both physically and mentally and address shortcomings in areas such as strength, flexibility, mobility, speed, power, and running mechanics. This creates a good foundation physically to build off of going into the new season.
First off, taking adequate time off is key. Use this time to reflect on the recent season to get an idea of which areas need to be improved. It is important to stay somewhat active, but allow yourself time to step away from the sport to reset. A good rule of thumb is to stay a week away from in-season fitness. These activities can consist of short walks, light jogging, cross-training, or yoga. Develop a weekly schedule of training days and recovery days. The weekly layout should be a training day followed by a recovery day with the seventh day as an additional rest or recovery day. Ideally, no more than two weeks of no activity to just relax, followed by a gradual progression into activity, then finally ramping up activity to prepare for
the new season.
Split up off-season training days to develop core, agility, speed, and strength training, movement mechanics, and sprinting drills. Recovery days should focus on mobility and flexibility exercises, or soft tissue work and rehab (see recovery blog for ideas). Remember to start general during the first few weeks, then as pre-season nears begin doing more position-specific drills, ball control, passing, and shooting. Hopefully, with these tips, you can have a beneficial and effective off-season to get you ready for the upcoming season.
Jorge Castellanos is an Athletic Trainer with Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County, CA. Jorge has a Master’s Degree from Cal State Fullerton and is the Athletic Trainer for Cal United Strikers professional soccer club.