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Now that the fall soccer season has officially ended for most schools and teams, it is now time for coaches to turn their attention to the offseason. The offseason is one of the most critical periods of development for teams and players. Soccer coaches need to come up with an off-season program that will benefit the individual player as well as the team. A good off season soccer program combines the elements of aerobic fitness, speed, agility, technical work, and soccer analysis.

An important part of being a good soccer player is having stamina. The offseason is a good time for a soccer player to develop their aerobic base. Playing small sided games can help raise the heart rate and develop some cardiovascular fitness but it is also important that the athlete do some additional aerobic work. After the season has ended and the athlete has had some time to rest, the next weeks should include some aerobic work. The athlete should try to run 20 to 25 minutes and gradually build up to 30 or 40 minutes. By building up their aerobic base, the soccer player can run for longer sustained periods during a game.

All soccer players must possess some level of speed. Athletes can work on speed by performing small distance sprints and progressing to long distance sprints. It is important to work on small distance sprints in order to develop good acceleration and explosion. By progressing to long distance sprints, it can then simulate the longer sprints required in a soccer match. The soccer player should work on good form. They can also incorporate long slow distance runs with sprints in between. This is called a fartlek run and it is very similar to a soccer match.  There are also various soccer devices designed specifically for speed training that can be used on an individual or group basis.

The way that a soccer player moves on the field is extremely important. Timing and quickness is everything in how a soccer player moves. A delay or wrong movement could lead to an opponent having a chance on your goal. Agility helps a soccer player move correctly and efficiently. There are many different agility drills that you can try out and find in different soccer books. It is important that the soccer player learns the correct movement and eventually performs the movement efficiently.

At Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, we take great pride in the technical abilities of our players. Sharp passing and good touch are the most vital parts to our success on the soccer field. In the offseason, coaches need to constantly work on the technical ability of their players. It is my opinion that there is no better way to develop technical ability than to have two players to a ball. You can do drills such as juggling, passing, and volleying to develop technical ability. Mix it up and have fun with the players.

The final element that I am a strong believer in making a player better is to watch as much soccer as possible. I encourage all of the youth soccer players that I coach to watch any soccer game they can find on television. I tell my players to pick out a player on Barcelona or Manchester United that plays in their position and watch what they do. Write down what the player did good or bad. Have them talk with you about it.  At the higher levels, I encourage my college players to watch EPL, Champions League or other games with a critical eye.  There is a difference between watching a game and analyzing a game. Many times I watch and enjoy EPL games. Other times I watch with a critical eye. I look to see what formation a team is in, how is the game progressing, how one team is breaking the other team down. By learning the difference of watching versus analyzing, a player can develop into a smarter soccer player.

As a coach, it is extremely important that you develop an offseason program for your team. The offseason is a critical period of time where both individuals and the team can develop. By focusing on the offseason, a coach is able to better prepare their team for the upcoming challenges of the new season.

Until next time, Happy Coaching!

Matt Mueller is an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.


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  1. hi my name is carlos lopez seen i was 6 i play soccer i am an imigrant but my soccer skill are really good i need a chenge to prov this. i live in virginia sterling

  2. Pingback: Elite Soccer Coach Blog » Blog Archive » Why Beckham Is Training At Arsenal