As players wrap up the end of a busy school year, summer fun is understandably the top priority. It's been a busy year. While vacations, pool days and amusement parks are all important for students to rest and unwind, the high school soccer season starts August 1st. Don’t let the summer heat throw your game off track! Here are some helpful tips to get you ready for the physical, mental, technical and tactical elements of high school soccer this summer.
Physical: Any high school soccer program will have a fitness component as part of their evaluation at try-outs. It’s important that each player and parent know what these fitness tests are at the beginning of summer, and take an increment-based approach to fitness training. Trying to train for a fitness test in the last week of summer can leave a player feeling behind and unprepared, and can also increase the risk of an overuse injury. Instead, make a plan of how to increase your fitness over time, making sure to get a proper warm up and cool down.
Mental: High school soccer requires mental toughness. Players will find themselves in new and challenging situations that they may not have encountered in previous experiences.. Players that are fourteen could play against players that are eighteen; your coach may ask you to try a new position; you may not start even though you’ve always started in the past. These are challenging situations that require a player to be mentally tough and put the team first. The best thing to do is practice an attitude that never gives up and places the good of the team first! Coaches will absolutely take notice of a player that does these things.
Technical: Playing soccer requires technical skills that include first touch/ ball control, passing, receiving, crossing, finishing and much more. The less you play over the summer, the more likely you are to lose your edge in these technical skills. If your team is not playing over the summer, make sure to schedule regular training sessions that will help you maintain, or improve, in these areas.
Tactical: Every coach will highly recommend that players watch professional soccer. Watching a professional team will allow players to see new ways to create offensive, different formations, defensive shape, set pieces, and so much more. It gives players a unique view of the game that they might not be able to see from their perspective, and provides opportunities to learn and grow in their understanding of the game.
Remember, rest and enjoy the summer, but don’t forget to prepare yourself for the high school soccer season!