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Do youth soccer players need to take breaks for the winter?

By Steve Hirayama & Kris Ray, 12/09/19, 4:45PM EST

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Do soccer players need to take breaks from soccer?

Yes. Not only do you need time off during the winter but also during the regular season.

How does our club define "time off"?

Sometimes, time off means time off from a regular club training schedule and replaced with something a little different to change things up a bit. It is also okay for a player to take the whole time off.  In those cases, it would be very beneficial to participate in some form of athletic program or sport to keep up a high fitness level.     

Does taking part in the Winter Training program mean no break? 

No. During the winter training months of November, December, and January there are plenty of opportunities for breaks. The weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years offer breaks. In most cases, the schedule for winter training and small-sided leagues or tournaments is less demanding than a regular schedule. 

What about indoor soccer leagues without a structured curriculum?

There is nothing wrong with playing indoor and finding a few futsal tournaments to play in over the winter months. However, a fast-paced technical session or program can and will speed up their speed of play for the spring faster than playing one or two indoor games a week.  

What are the primary benefits of Winter Series training with CFC Academy?

  1. More Touches - An indoor soccer match will provide a few hundred touches at best.  A player attending a typical technical session including a small-sided component will receive between 1,500-4,000 touches each session. In addition, these touches will be dynamic and always involve time, space, and opponent pressure.
  2. More Coachable Moments - Because of the multitude of field shapes, opponent locations, time restrictions, touch restrictions, and space limitations, the number of coachable moments increases. This means that a player is constantly exposed to circumstances that will require nearly a perfect touch and tactical insight.
  3. Technical Variety - Players are exposed to technical training that emphasizes dribble moves, Coerver ball-handling skills (quick feet), short-range passing, long-ball service, heading, volley sequences and finishing with different surfaces. During these sessions players significantly increase their speed of play through participation in demanding passing and receiving exercises. During these technical sessions, players are taught from a very young age to pass and receive efficiently while under opponent pressure, time constraints, and playing in limited space.  Players will be taught to play quickly, play on the move, and be able to adapt to severe opponent pressure in a training environment that limits time and space.
  4. Tactical Insight - Participants are constantly being taught how to anticipate play.  They gain an awareness of where the ball, teammates and opponents are located while learning to scan the entire field with proper body shape. Being able to anticipate what is going to happen, being aware, maintaining open body shape, and then being able to execute technically are the hallmarks of a great soccer player. 
  5. Physical Training - Every training session will have a speed, strength, quickness, and power component. 
  6. 1V1 Confrontations - Every training session will involve hundreds of 1v1 confrontations, or, 1v1 opportunities. Players will develop the mental confidence and technical ability to seek out 1v1 opportunities and take great pride in going at a defender with the ball at their feet. Our training environment absolutely thrives on teaching the skills and helping players gain the confidence to execute these skills in a non-threatening and encouraging training program.
  7. Training Environment - Players are developed in training environments versus a game environment where playing for results inhibits technical training.

POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTS

Soccer training at the youth level MUST be positive. If your training environment is positive youth players will train harder and become much more effective soccer players.  Also, an environment where players are encouraged to take chances and failing is only an act of learning. In a positive learning environment players become comfortable with being uncomfortable and accept failure as part of the learning process.  By failing a time or two one can learn from those mistakes. During these sessions, players will develop confidence, thinking skills, and hopefully become players who will experiment on the field to do amazing things. Sessions concentrate totally on developing players, encouraging players to take chances, and helping players to mentally seek challenges where they may fail, but will be positively encouraged to try again.  Players who are afraid to make mistakes and do not experiment end up playing without skill and technical flair.

ENGAGE THE BRAIN

These sessions include exercises that engage the brain, require constant scanning of the field, emphasize movement in different directions, as well as passing and receiving on the move. This structure provides technical excellence in an environment where the brain is receiving multiple variables and conflicting information. This training leads to tremendous increases in speed of play where players must perform in tight spaces under severe opponent pressure. These sessions over the winter months are for players looking to improve their technical ability and decision making on the soccer field.