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Off Season Training – Phase 1 – Recovery

I divide my off seasons into 3 phases: Recovery, Volume Building, Intensity Building.  This article discusses the 1st of 3 phases, recovery.

A long club season has finished, school is ending and summer is about to start. Soon WPSL or PDL soccer leagues begin for the summer and/or high school and college soccer off season training packets are sent out.  Coaches constantly comment on maintaining or increasing fitness, getting stronger in the weight room, and improving skill.  With all of these factors, how much time should one take off? 

The answer is a minimum of week, possibly longer depending how long and how hard an individual has  been going. Training and playing at an intense level all year long is impossible and can lead to burnout or physical injuries. These breaks are extremely important part of the periodization that soccer players go through.   This time off allows the body to recover.  This recovery includes removing of the toxins that build up during the season, allowing inflamed body parts to recover, damaged tissue to heal, and allowing the mind to rest.   

Deconditioning does not begin for at least a week so it’s safe to take some time off. Often for elite athletes simply doing nothing usually isn’t an option. If that is the case, good options are cross training with swimming, elliptical and bike. It’s ok to hit the gym but keep the weights low and reps at a moderate level. This is a great time to work on some flexibility such on yoga poses or foam rolling.Treat oneself to a full body massage. Work on your mind, meditate and utilize relaxation techniques.This week time off is imperative to maximizing the gains that you want to achieve during off-season training on phase 2 and 3.


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