The 2020 spring soccer season has officially started. The next 10 months are all about taking your game, your physical abilities and your mental abilities to the next level.
After working with players, coaches and top-tier leagues for the last 12 years in Europe, Asia and now the United States, here are a few suggestions from the training team at Soccer IntelliGym. They’re all aimed at making the next 10 months as positive as possible.
1. Set some goals for your development’s next phase
Where do you want to be as a soccer player in a month? Eight weeks? By summer? Next fall? Focus on what got you to the level you are now, how far you’ve come and what you need to commit in order to reach those future goals. Make sure to write down these goals and keep them nearby for reference – in a notebook, on your iPhone, anywhere you can review them daily. Measure and track your workouts by writing them down and reviewing them. You’ll be shocked by how far you can come and how improvements in your training will drive you. We like the term SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/rewarding and Time-bound/trackable.
2. Try something new to challenge your body
While it’s tempting to spend all your time on the field, investing time in a sport that complements your skill training can have huge benefits, both physically and mentally. Yoga is fantastic for flexibility, balance and strength, while swimming builds endurance, boosts circulation and is great cardio training. Both activities also challenge and build your ability to focus and be mindful. Not into these? Martial arts, lacrosse and tennis are also great options for soccer players. And don’t forget alternative running training – jump rope, steps and deep water sprints in the pool.
3. Learn to fuel yourself
It’s no secret that eating right and properly fueling are your huge parts of performance. In 2020, make a commitment to fueling your body properly not just before and after a match, but all week long. This includes lots of whole, fuel-boosting carbohydrates, protein to build and repair tissues, fruits/veggies, healthy fat and plenty of hydration. There are thorough resources available online or consider consulting an expert such as your family doctor or a sports nutritionist.
4. Hone your pre-match routine
Having a routine is a perfect way not just to ensure you have your soccer bag full of everything you need or that your streaming music device has the perfect playlist, but also that your mind is fully prepared. Think about what best prepares you physically and mentally for a match. Make a list on paper, on your phone, in your head and before each game or practice. Channel your inner (insert favorite player here) to remember what makes them great.
5. Up your game intelligence, your soccer IQ
Take advantage of off-field time and your off-field training schedule to work on your soccer IQ using the Soccer IntelliGym. Using technology originally designed to train fighter pilots, the program helps athletes improve their awareness, anticipation, decision-making, concentration and execution, which in turn improves their performance and reduces their chances of injury. Thousands of players at all levels have used IntelliGym to get a leg up on the competition and dramatically increase on-field performance.
Bring on the rest of 2020!