There are two types of people in this world: those who hustle all summer and can enjoy a week at the beach before pre-season, and those who are lazy all summer and who must endure a one-week cram of training before pre-season.
So. Which one are you?
Athlete #1 who put in consistent, hard work for several months, and is now sipping Kool-Aid on the beach a few days before tryouts with a smile on their face?
Or Athlete #2 who put in no work, now is scrambling to train, with a worried look on their face and knot in their stomach with nerves and anxiety?
If you fall under the category of Athlete #1, congratulations. You nailed this off-season.
And if you’re Athlete #2, I fear for your health and readiness for this Fall soccer season. You messed up.
I mean not to scare you or anything, but it’s true. The kids who didn’t put in the work, or who thought going to Planet Fitness and bopping around from machine-to-machine, then trotting on the treadmill would do the job, you’re late to the party.
You see, when it comes to off-season training, it’s serious. For one, it must be a process that is long-term, with a nice cushion of two month’s time or more, periodized with an adaptation and strength and power phase, and then a nice, de-load phase to cap off the grind.
Adding on, one time a week during this time span will not suffice. At minimum, kids must be strength, power, maximal speed, and speed endurance training 2-4x a week for a few months to feel like beasts.
Think of off-season training like watering a flower: it must be done a few times a week in order for it to blossom into it’s most beautiful, resilient self.
Don’t argue with nature.
Athletes must be watered over time, no doubt.
I always find it hilarious when parents reach out to me for training one week before high school tryouts asking for a “week prep package program.”
My response: I can’t help. Oh, and go to church and pray.
And while I could sell a week-prep package and make a quick buck, I don’t. This instant gratification, overnight fix mindset is one I don’t vibe with well, and it is so incredibly out of alignment with my training philosophy.
I would hope most coaches and parents agree with me here. Player development is a process that we continue to work on until an athlete’s career comes to an end. But actually, consistency in anything is paramount if you want your kids to succeed in the real world with careers, too.
I’m making too much sense.
Anyway, off-season is no joke. We don’t mess around out here. And looking back on the work all of these athletes put in, I’m inspired. Indeed, it is my favorite time of year to coach, and I will write a Part 2 to this piece with my good friend and soccer performance coach, Dave Gleason.
We will go in depth on what we did this summer, from strength, to speed, to speed endurance, to programming no long distance runs, yet still improving our athletes’ 1-mile and 2-mile times. ;-O
Stay tuned because it’s going to be a banger. I’m not biased or anything. Also, the whole “no long distant running thing” will be discussed in further detail and put into context. You’ll see. Just think critically until then, and don’t jump to conclusions. ;-O
So before I go, with Fall soccer season around the corner, what category do you fall under? Athlete #1 or #2?
Let’s hope you’re Athlete #1 and you’re sitting pretty and enjoying your de-load week right now.
You deserve it.
For more programming with specific sets and reps, get The Total Youth Soccer Fitness Program.