Off-Season Expectations for School Team AthletesUpdated Thursday October 5, 2017 by John Merritt.
We believe strongly in encouraging a healthy lifestyle and recommend maintaining fitness at appropriate levels. By July 1st athletes are expected to have a personal plan focused on building their soccer fitness to peak level by mid-August. The fall campaign is short and we do not have time to build fitness. Individual player fitness is a factor in both team selection, playing time decisions, and ultimately the success of the fall teams. Additionally, fitness prevents many types of common injuries and aids in recovery time.
We are committed to assisting athletes in developing an appropriate fitness program. The responsibility of implementing a program rests with the player. We encourage them to hold each other accountable, submit fitness goals and results to the coaches, and identify any other incentive that encourages them to achieve their fitness goals.
Our Calendar runs November-October
We recognize and appreciate the level of commitment by student athletes and their families during the school season. WGFC provides opportunities year-round for playing soccer. We do not expect year-round participation from our athletes but the closer we get to the start of the season we begin to expect more frequent participation in WGFC programs, especially at the older levels. Please consider the aspects below as you plan participation in WGFC.
Other Coaching is Good Coaching
We encourage athletes to explore opportunities to play club soccer. There are many options to choose from in our area. These opportunities will expose you to other perspectives regarding personal improvement and opportunities to compete with and against different levels of competition.
No athlete should lose their passion for a sport due to over-exposure. Our goal is to have every player at peak excitement about playing soccer by August 1st. If a player needs time away, please plan and schedule other activities prior to summer.
Consider opportunities, other than playing, where athletes can be around our sport. Look into officiating for programs like WOYSA or working with town programs like micro-soccer helping very young players learn the game for the first time. Get tickets for a game - we are fortunate to have many high-level indoor and outdoor soccer teams in our area from collegiate to professional.
Multiple-Sport Athletes are to be cherished
The scientific evidence that playing multiple sports benefits athletes is real and we encourage participation in other sports. Other sports help prevent burnout and sports specific injuries while building muscle groups not generally worked on in soccer training.
There are different types and levels of fitness. Athletes must recognize that as the season approaches their personal fitness needs to align with requirements for soccer. These include distance running and sprinting, first touch and ball control, passing weight and accuracy, core strength, agility and balance.
Planning Your Soccer Schedule
November-January: This is the best time for a break from soccer. Immediately following the fall campaign it is a good idea to step back a bit both physically and mentally. Players will be in good physical shape and should consider participation in a winter sport. This is also a good time to start exploring or reconnect with club soccer.
February-April: The second round of indoor soccer leagues start in late January and runs until about Spring Break. Indoor typically trains one night a week with one game each weekend so this is a good time to stay connected to the game and supplement other activities and training programs. This is the time to consider spring sports participation and/or weight training.
May-June: As the fields become available limited outdoor training will resume. League play might be available but opportunities were limited in recent years. Participation in weight training can help maintain and supplement fitness but by itself does not get athletes fit. Organizing small-sided games and working individually or in groups on ball skills are great opportunities for athletes to improve both their soccer ability and executive functions.
By June 1st athletes should begin thinking ahead to soccer season. As spring sports finish, summer jobs begin and various school year-end activities consume a lot of attention this is also a time that athletes need to reconnect with WGFC and formulate their personal fitness program.
The Summer Classic soccer league will begin in mid-June on Tuesday evenings and we strongly encourage all players who intend to try out for the high school teams to make participation in this league a priority.
By July 1st athletes must have a personal plan focused on building their soccer fitness to peak level by mid-August.
Personal Fitness programs need to become a priority for the weeks before soccer pre-season. Training and playing for a couple hours each week is not a fitness program. We expect all players to be fit and in shape by the first day of team tryouts in mid-August. This requires players to be actively implementing their fitness program during the month of July.
Team Camps in late July and August are highly recommended and provide opportunities to work with the school staff as a preparation for the fall campaign. These are also the final opportunities organized and run by the program. Athletes are expected to be in preparation for the start of the season well before arriving at camp. In addition, athletes should look to attend supplemental camps - opportunities provided to the coaching staff will be advertised through our avenues.