The Silver Lining: A Blog Sharing and Celebrating How Soccer Athletes and Families Stay Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally Fit

The Silver Lining:  A Blog Sharing and Celebrating How Soccer Athletes and Families Stay Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally Fit

Advice from a soccer coach on how to work out to stay in elite athlete shape

March 26, 2020

Most of us are now in our second week of social distancing.  We’re learning to balance working while home schooling, eating every meal together, and keeping kids off screens for a least part of the day.  More board games and ping pong have been played in the last week than were played in the last year.  While there are definitely positives to all this togetherness, we’re all getting a little cabin fever.  We had been getting some time outside doing yard work, walking or jogging the neighborhood, and playing a little soccer. 
Under normal circumstances, my 14 year old would be running track after school, practicing with his soccer team twice a week, and starting the spring NPL season on the weekends.  However, with the complete change in schedule, he had started slipping into hibernation mode. Thank goodness for Jon Bain. Jon is the boy’s Coaching Director for NY Elite FC, a competitive soccer club in Upstate New York (and a member of SOAKS Board of Directors).  This week, he sent out a soccer training and fitness plan, along with a game analysis assignment.  It has been just what Luke needed and even inspired me to boost my own fitness efforts.  Jon also agreed to let us share it with our SOAKS audience.  Thank you, Jon!  

Quarantine Soccer Training and Fitness Plan

 2020 Off-Site Fitness Program

 *Repeat each week with longer distances and times  

  • Day 1 – Jog 30 min + Walk 5 min
  • Day 2 – Jog 10 min + Box-to-Box 2x8 w/ 2.5 min rest + Jog 10 min 
  • Day 3 – General Physical Activity 30-60 min
  • Day 4 – Jog 35 min + Walk 5 min 
  • Day 5 – Jog 10 min + Full field shuttle runs (or 100 yds) + Jog 10 min 
  • Day 6 – General Physical Activity 30-60 min
  • Day 7 – Jog 35 min + Walk 5 min   

Note: Pay attention to rest assigned to each rep and set on each day. 

Jog = Long slow distance work, should be a good pace. If you have a heart rate tracker, your heart rate should be at 130-150 bpm (heart rate - beats per minute). Otherwise, a good solid pace that can be maintained for the entire duration. 

General Physical Activity = Anything that promotes whole body blood flow (bike riding, hiking, you can pick).

Cool-down: EVERYDAY after fitness

Shuttle Runs

Goal-try to reduce your time

  1. Set up markers (such as cones) 25 yards apart.
  2. Make sure you are warmed up or add this drill to the end of an easy jog 3. Sprint from one marker to the other and back. That is one repetition.
  3. Do six repetitions as fast as you can (300 yards total).
  4. Time your result for the entire six repetitions.
  5. Rest five minutes.
  6. Repeat the drill.
  7. Add the times for each run together and divide by two to find the average time.
  8. Record this time.
  9. You can use this test monthly to track your progress over time.

Ball Skills Work

Check out this ball skills video to do a workout with the ball.  

Box Dribbling

To complete this exercise, place four markers of cones in a square (you determine how big or small) 10 yards away from starting point, you can do these as quickly as you can, but do so under control (do not sacrifice technique for speed).

  1. Speed dribble to the square and go around the outside and speed dribble back. Try to get around the square in two touches (each time you go use inside right foot, next time inside left foot, then outside of right, then outside of left).

  2. Speed dribble out and create any sort of pattern to inside and outside of the square using the inside and outside of one or both feet; you can also use the soles as well.

Our friends at Beestera Soccer Training have a YouTube channel which has Footwork Fridays and some great training videos. They are also doing a 30 Day Challenge on Facebook so check them out.         

Tactical Analysis

First, watch the USMNT U20 game vs Ecuador and then answers the questions below.

When analyzing games, athletes need to pay specific attention to their position and the primary functions of that position. For example:

  1. What is the U-20 USMNT trying to achieve in their formation and with their style of play? 
  2. What are the primary functions of your position(s) during this game?
    • What are the strengths of the player(s) that play that position at that level?
  3. What do you notice about both attacking and defending set pieces?
    • Contact? Ability in the air? How are disguise and deception used?
    • What are the strengths of the targets on attacking sets and how do they get open before the ball arrives?
  4. When do players start their runs to receive a ball in the attack? Why?
    • How do they create space for the person playing the ball to play the ball?
    • How fast and aggressively do attackers move in or entering the final 1/3?

Let us know what you are doing to keep your family physically, emotionally, and mentally fit.  Let’s come together as a community and make sure that we’re all staying safe and elite soccer ready.