Off-Season Training Part 5: Improve Your Defense
The easiest way to improve your in-season skillset is with a program of off-season training. Improving your defense is among the most important priorities for the off-season, and there are a multitude of ways to attain that goal. The team at Fold-A-Goal would like to share the following training tips to make your defense as strong as possible for the upcoming soccer season.
Break the Play Drills
Defenders need to be able to quickly identify the plays being attempted by the opponent, determine the best way to break that play and then implement that plan swiftly and effectively. A great drill to improve those skills is known as "break the play," and involves fast footwork and being able to scan the surrounding area. The drill set-up is simple — one or more cones are set up down the field, and athletes take turns sprinting to the cones and then side-shuffling back to the starting position. This action simulates the way that a defender must keep on top of an opponent during play, and remain ready and able to make quick adjustments needed to break the other team's play.
Speed Reduction Drills
Speed is important in soccer, but players must be able to accurately control their speed to make the most of their positioning. A great drill involves setting up a series of cones or field markers at various intervals, then having players sprint toward those markers, quickly checking their speed as they get within a few feet of the cone. It takes practice to have control over your speed, but mastering this skill can make it harder for an opponent to react or complete their play.
Working the Goalkeeper's Core
Reaching and maintaining a strong core is essential to all soccer players, but especially for goalkeepers, who must react quickly and use both arms and legs to defend the goal. A great exercise to boost core strength is to have players take turns sitting while teammates throw the ball to the seated player's right, left and overhead. The seated player will try to catch the ball and immediately throw it back from mid-dive. This drill not only helps with core strength but also boosts overall agility and quick reaction times.
At Fold-A-Goal, we understand the importance of training during the off-season, which is why we offer a wide variety of tools and products that can be used to assist in those efforts. Working hard to improve skills and boost fitness during the off-season will pay off once the regular season begins, and is an excellent way to move up to the next level, or avoid losing skills acquired during last season. We invite you to take a look at our products or to contact us with any questions or concerns that you might have regarding your training program.