Multi-sport athletes are a vanishing breed, and soccer is one of the sports that is most responsible. For top tier players hoping to earn spots on college rosters, there is no off-season. Club ball, indoor sessions, travel and varsity duties combine to make soccer a 12-month commitment. Part of the potential fallout is that training in the gym gets pushed aside, which can only hurt your game.
Greg Gatz, strength and conditioning coach for UNC’s men’s and women’s soccer teams, says, “With the extended double seasons, and kids playing 50 to 60 games a year, it’s overwhelming; and developmental training takes a back seat.” To address the issue, Gatz offers the following advice:
Train during practice. Find time before or after practice to work on fundamental strength training. Use what you have at the field—med balls, rope ladders, cones, etc.
Work out everything. Develop a balanced training schedule focused on all aspects: strength, speed, agility and conditioning.
Evaluate your schedule. Find peaks and valleys in your schedule to add extra training. A six-week break is ideal for an intense training program, but if you are forced to train during the season, give yourself three hours of rest between training and practice. Keep strength training away from the day before a game, and no training on game day.