Select soccer in America can take a lot of time & money, especially if a family has 2+ soccer players. With 2-3 practices a week, tournaments, league games and team events, soccer becomes a family’s main time consumer. With all the other sports to try and school activities time goes quick and choices have to be made. I sometimes get asked by parents if their child will fall behind by taking a break from club soccer. I want people to know that you might fall behind in something, but you can always catch back up. Don’t be stressed about having to take a break. Just in the last few weeks, 4 players age 11-14 all who took a break from club soccer for 1-2 years. Yes, they are a little rusty, but that can be knocked off quick.
Those who practice soccer at home stay sharp
Soccer is one of the hardest sports, and the more you play the better you get. What makes a player good besides hard work and athletic ability is ball control. This means the players who spend even a little time practicing the right things at home will develop faster. Taking off from playing with a team, you’ll lose out on different elements of the game: like fitness, confidence while under pressure, speed of play (being able to control and release the ball quick). These are all things that you can gain back fast. Controlling the ball really good is what takes longer. Getting back up to the speed of play usually takes 1-2 months, and improves by training with a team. Scrimmages or possession games [keep away] are drills that you need to play, to improve your speed of play.
Team training vs practicing at home
This is one of the things that gets you ahead, even more than if you play with a team year round. Think about how little team coaches have time to work on skills. Just because you do “skills” at team practice doesn’t mean it’s enough. Even if you practice three times a week with your team, how much of that is advanced skills. Think about how good you can get even once a week working with the ball for 1 hour on your own. You footskills and ball striking can actually improve faster than if you are on a really good team, if you train on your own. So taking a break from club soccer doesn’t mean you will fall behind, you can actually improve faster.
Confidence boost using these tips
Well one thing for sure is when you are not playing club soccer, you don’t have to worry about a negative coach. The fact that you won’t have anyone speaking negative to you will not hurt right. Taking a break from club soccer could actually increase your confidence for that reason. Another reason your confidence can increase is by training on your own. If doing the right training you will only improve, which makes you better. In the end this definitely lifts your confidence and self-belief. Some people might think in their head that they will lose so much taking a break from club soccer. But if you think positive and know that solo training will actually make you better faster, your confidence will be lifted higher.
Fitness comes and goes
Your fitness will take a bit of a drop, but it only takes a few weeks to get it back. Being game fit all you have to do is go through 2-4 weeks of pre-season type training, which means a few 2-a-days and a mix of running and playing. Then after you play 2-4 games, you are back in game shape. So this is something that you don’t worry too much about.
Playing other sports is one way to keep your fitness up. I know some guys who I played pro with, who would play pick-up basketball games in their off-season to stay fit [stay in shape]. But then you can also just jog or run a few times a week to keep your muscles and cardio up. Are you going to stay in soccer shape? No, but like I said it doesn’t take long to get that back. You just need enough to not fall terribly out of shape. Note: This is more directed to parents with kids who are between the ages of 8 and 15 years old. If you are an aspiring pro or college player at the age of 15+, then you better not take off a season.
Speed of play will be the hardest thing to keep sharp
Speed of play is being able to play 1, 2 or sometimes 3 touches by getting rid of the ball quick. It doesn’t have anything to do with running faster or dribbling faster. I actually wrote an article on how to explain speed of play to youth soccer players. So not being in a team or big group practice, working on these things will make it hard to come back to at first. The good thing as this will improve week after week. It’s similar to the fitness part. You can’t really stay game fit without playing games, but it doesn’t take long to get back.
Solo training will make you better than team practice
However, if you continue to work with the ball at home or get skills like we offer here at Global Fútbol Training, then you will not only become more sharp and fit but more confident with the ball. This is because in 1on1 and small group training sessions a player can average between 500-1500 good touches in 1 hour. The hardest things to retain will be your speed of play & game fitness. It is difficult to keep your mind and body sharp with passing & movement if you’re not playing at a high level – but those things come back in just a few weeks.
Learning to win and lose in sports
At ages 7-13 years, many kids play 2 sports & yet do not yet know what their sport of choice will be in high school. The main thing we hear from most parents is, they want for their kids to stay active in sports. The reasons are because sports keeps us healthy, and teach how to work with others. Sports teach us how to win and lose and unfortunately there are many kids never learn how to lose. The teaching opportunities are endless and it allows parents and kids to learn from them.
Set family goals together
Soccer, life, school, work – our schedules can be so busy that we feel that we are in a constant pressured state. Take some time this week to evaluate your family goals and see if maybe it’s time your kid takes some time off as well. I remember reading something about pro athletes and their stories of not playing the same sport season after season. They took time off of each sport, to have time for other things. You have to do what’s best for your family. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, and just do your best at what you are doing.