Off-Season Training – Top Tips for Footballers

If football is your main sport, it can be difficult to stay in shape when training eases off at the end of the season. Some years, events like the World Cup will keep athletes engaged, but not necessarily active! So how can you avoid a drop in form? We’re here with our top tips for off-season training.

There are three main things to consider when it comes to off-season training:

  • Healthy choices
  • Motivation
  • Schedules

These areas can be a little difficult to keep under control when you’re without your coach and teammates. That’s why it’s important to make a plan and take sensible advice into account. This way, you’ll have everything you require to stay fit when you step away from the world of football.

 

Making Healthy Choices

We’re under no illusions that proficiency at one sport makes you an expert in all areas of exercise. In fact, it’s likely many athletes are somewhat unsure of the NHS guidelines on exercise and nutrition.

The standard training routines for many sports allow athletes to meet the recommended level of exercise each week. Hence, you may forget quite how important it is to be up-to-date on fitness guidelines!

So let’s have a refresher…

 

You should do both cardiovascular AND muscle strength activities every week.

 

Your cardiovascular activity should be…

EITHER

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise,

OR

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise,

OR

  • a combination of moderate and vigorous exercises adding up to 90-110 minutes.

 

Your muscle strength activities should be…

  • on two or more days a week,

AND

  • enough to cover all your major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and core.

Strength Training - Stadia Sports

To find which sports and activities fall into which categories, take a look at the Live Well advice from the NHS.

You may find your new exercise schedule still sees your activity levels dropping in comparison to mid-season training. If this is the case, you may need to adjust your food intake accordingly.

However, extreme “restrictive” dieting is not helpful. Without sufficient or appropriate nutrition, your body will not have the necessary strength or energy to complete exercise on top of your daily tasks.

Remember, fitness does not start and end at exercise; it remains particularly important to eat well and keep your mind stimulated. Without these elements, it won’t be fun, and it won’t be beneficial.

In fact, enjoyment and stimulation are very much linked to another important area…

 

Holding onto Motivation

Many football players thrive in their chosen sport because they get on well with the structure it offers. But what happens when that structure is removed?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing yourself a breather when training stops; dialling back the activity a little is important to your mental state. However, there’s certainly a point at which ‘self-care’ becomes ‘wallowing’.

There’s something of a balance to be found between enjoying your lie-in and becoming a couch potato!

It can be difficult for anyone to strike that balance. It’s particularly difficult for those who are used to a structure and a clear reason for their activity. That’s why it’s important to find a way to keep your motivation high.

Here are some things you can try in order to stay motivated throughout off-season training:

  • Take up another sport

There are plenty of clubs which run teams and leagues throughout the year. Take a look outside of your usual sport and try picking up some alternative skills. Just make sure it’s not as intense as your regular football! Why not try your hand at sport on a social basis?

  • Set yourself a personal challenge

Once you no longer have the goal of winning the next match, you may find you need a specific goal to work towards. Why not pick a running or cycling race to enter? Alternatively you could learn something new or aim to improve a previously weak area.

  • Reach out to a teammate or other sporty friend

When planning to go for a run in the park or a particular spin class, you run the risk of finding something “more important” to do… However if you arrange to do so with a friend, you’re far more likely to actually turn up! Even if the friendly competition isn’t enough to keep you going, the thought of letting a friend down should be.

  • Offer to train a less-sporty friend

We all know someone who wants to get fit but doesn’t know where to start. If they’re not quite looking for the intensity of a qualified personal trainer, they may benefit from your support! An arrangement like this should give you both a big boost in self-esteem. In terms of motivation, the commitment to helping someone else to get fit will mean you continue to stay active.

Off-Season Training with a Friend - Stadia Sports

Motivation doesn’t appear from nowhere. It’s a pretty abstract term, and not something to get bogged down in.

We experience motivation in different ways, but it’s broadly accepted that it develops alongside increased activity. Therefore, it’s important to get stuck into something new before you lose your willpower to the pull of the sofa!

 

Scheduling your Off-Season Training

A solid schedule is at the heart of maintaining your form. That means thinking through anything that might put you off and any commitments you need to work around. Once you’re aware of these obstacles, you can make sure you know how to beat them.

For example, you may be someone whose energy levels are lowest mid-afternoon. Therefore, you could choose to plan more social activities for this time of day and your exercise for later on.

On the other hand, you might really love outdoor exercise; you need to pick a location that’s going to suit you. There are plenty of alternatives to gyms.

It may sound simplistic, but the things which catch us out often are!

There’s no way you can predict every eventuality when it comes to self-motivated, off-season training. However with the right plan and a healthy lifestyle, you’ll soon find it’s fun and easy to stay at the top of your game.

Schedule your Off-Season Training - Stadia Sports