How to Use Downtime to Get Better
What are you doing with your extended time away from soccer? Do you see this break as an opportunity or an obstacle?
Are you utilizing your time constructively or counter productively?
The coronavirus has surely been a disruptive force in the lives of all, but you can still use the experience to extract some positives and reassess your athletic and personal lives.
When you are involved in soccer year round with long competitive seasons, off-season training, soccer camps, weight training, speed and agility training, skill training, you don’t have a break to evaluate your life inside and outside of soccer.
Now that your spring season is not happening, you have an opportunity to re-energize, re-connect and reevaluate your game and personal life objectively.
1. Explore other interests outside of soccer — One way to stay fresh is to develop interests outside of soccer. What types of hobbies interest you? What have you always wanted to do but never had the time due to the hours you have dedicated to soccer? Developing yourself outside of soccer is critical for personal growth and success for when you move on from competitive sports.
2. Re-evaluate your athletic and life goals — Sometimes, you need to take a step back to evaluate where you are and where you want to go. In soccer, what do you truly want to accomplish this year? How do you plan to go about accomplishing these goals? Since you will not be competing forever, what are your personal goals? Where do you see yourself in five years, in ten years? What steps do you need to take to make your personal goals a reality?
3. Develop mental skills that are applicable inside and outside the competitive arena — Mental skills are applicable to soccer and your personal life. Learning mental skills is transferable, that is confidence building can help you perform better on the field but also in school and at work. What mental skills would help you achieve your goals and how can you develop these valuable mental skills?
4. Learn to relax — Relaxation is necessary to re-charge your batteries. Many players find it difficult to wind down after a game. These players stay emotionally charged throughout the day and are unable to shut down their athletic mind. As a result, many players find it difficult to sleep. Learning to relax can help you focus during critical moments in competition and can help clear your mind, reduce tension and enhance your ability to recover.
5. Re-Ignite your passion for competing. It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. While you are away from competition, take some time to contemplate all the reasons you compete in soccer. What does soccer mean to you? What does it do for you? What needs does it fulfill?
Don’t allow your time to go to waste. It is an understatement to say that this spring has been challenging, but you have a unique opportunity at your disposal, so take advantage of that opportunity.
Tip for Utilizing your Time Away from Soccer
Spend 15 minutes each day assessing and writing about your current status in soccer and life. Contemplate the 5 areas mentioned in the article:
- What are my interests outside of soccer?
- What are the goals I want to pursue?
- What mental skills do I want to develop?
- What strategies can I learn to enhance relaxation?
- How can I re-ignite my passion?
Examining and exploring these five areas will prove to be a tremendous benefit to your athletic and personal development.
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