Winter Off-Season Training Ideas

Building and Maintaining Aerobic Capacity:

In simple biological terms, the aerobic energy system utilizes fats, carbohydrates, and sometimes proteins for re-synthesizing ATP (cell energy) for energy. Aerobic means with the presence of oxygen. The aerobic system uses oxygen as its primary fuel source.
An example of work that would be aerobic would be a 60-minute row,run, or swim. Anything that is classified as aerobic is lengthy in nature, but low in intensity. Aerobic work is sustainable for long periods of time.
Aerobic training is essential to progressing in the sport of soccer as the game requires constant use of the aerobic system during play.
The three main ways to improve the aerobic system are:
(1)   Continuous/Uniform Training
This involves a sustained, continuous effort at a steady rate (60-80% heart rate level). This develops the capacity of the cardiovascular and respiratory system that will help players to perform at a high, sustained level of the duration of a match.
(2)   Fartlek
This involves varying speed and terrain during exercise, using a variety of energy systems. This is extremely beneficial for soccer players, as it replicates closely the physical demands of the match, as the sport requires a constant interchange of energy systems.  During a soccer match, players will be required to walk, jog, and sprint.
(3)   Long Interval
Long interval training will rapidly improve an athletes aerobic conditioning, and will increase endurance faster than long-duration cardio work. It involves relatively long workout periods with shorter rest periods in between. The level of intensity is related to the length of the work interval.

Building and Maintaining Anaerobic Capacity:

Anaerobic training involves intense activity and rest that is soccer-specific.
Anaerobic exercises are usually performed in intervals like these:
  • Sprinting 20 sec.
  • Rest 1 min.
  • Sprinting 25 sec.
  • Rest 1 min. and so on…
The main fitness advantages you will receive as a soccer player from anaerobic training are:
  • Ability to change your speed over long distances with less fatigue.
  • Easier to maintain your top speed for a longer period.
  • Easier to maintain your soccer skills (passing, heading, shooting, receiving, trapping).
  • Ability to maintain your concentration because of the absence of fatigue.

Building and Maintaining Technical Abilities:

Players should be constantly looking for ways to improve their touches and technical abilities. Technical abilities refer to all the various ways needed to manipulate and control the ball. Ball control is the foundation for all aspects of the game and a source of motivation for young players because it feels good to be at ease with the ball, and express themselves and their ideas through the manipulation of the ball.
(1)   Juggling is an excellent way to develop touch, coordination, balance, timing, and rhythm
(2)   Practicing 1v1 dribbling moves allows players to become more confident to try in the game after they have had many repetitions of a particular move
(3)   Wall work – passing and receiving the ball in a variety of ways develops striking technique as well as first touch

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