February 19, 2018: After our game against Eskilstuna, it finally hit me. The fatigue that is. I did my absolute best to stay in shape while at home between Australia and Sweden, but nothing can compare to playing day in and day out competitively. And after two weeks worth of practice and a 90 minute battle, by Sunday I was in need of a serious recharge. Last week in between two Swedish Cup games felt a bit harder on my body, and I started to feel the little annoyances I've felt before: hip pain being the biggest one. I've dealt with this many times before.
Fortunately, we had a bit of a lighter week, which was nice, because we had another big game this weekend.
Here is a funny thing I learned about the Swedes this week. They are terrified of the American question “what’s up?” They have no idea to respond! Do they say “nothing much,” or perhaps “not much,” or maybe even “I’m fine!” (do not say I’m fine). We spent the better half of dinner out discussing appropriate responses, and I think I confused them even more when I told them my response to this riddle of a question was typically “hey what’s up…how’s it going?”
And then do we have to respond to that?! They asked, with terror in their eyes.
“Try to just relax, be cool, you can respond with almost anything,” I told them.But they can’t do it. For being, in general, very cool people, if you want to see a Swedish person squirm, greet them with some full-on eye contact and a good old fashioned “WHAT’S UP?!”
Anyway, as we’ve gotten into a bit of a rhythm here, I wanted to briefly touch on what I was doing for offseason training, and next week I will move into what training looks like now.
In the offseason, I have three primary goals:
1. Get in good physical condition (strength, speed, power)
2. Become more comfortable technically
3. Be ready to work, and not overworked, on day one of preseason
Now, in an ideal world, I would be able to train with a team in the offseason, but where I lived on the Cape this year, it just wasn’t possible. My only resort (and no offense to my homies on my teams) was adult league co-ed soccer. I loved playing with them (shout out to the Minions and Beauties and the Beasts!!), but it just isn’t the same. And, not to mention, I was terrified of getting injured playing against guys (and sometimes girls) who were maybe not so skilled and would just run into me without any athletic grace or technique. I like to call these people the gym class heroes. There were many times I shied away from a tackle for self-preservation, which perhaps hurt my ego, alas protected my ankles, knees, etc. Anyway, I digress.
So what can you do, if you cannot find an organized team to train with on the regular?
1. Get in really good physical condition: join a gym, or even better, work with an athletic performance trainer. I’ve spent the past two years working with sport specific trainers, and it has made me into a better athlete at 30 than I ever was when I was younger. The work here is hard, and not always fun, but when you can jump higher, run faster and endure longer, you’ll be thankful. I was training here about 3-4 times a week, and I’d go on a couple of runs throughout the week to supplement. At LFC, we work with Cardio Sport, so that might be a great place for you to check out, as there are often good deals! If working with a trainer at a gym is not in the budget for you, there are quite literally thousands of exercises you can find online to help with your agility, strength and speed that don’t require much equipment or space. You just have to make this a priority (excuse my Christmas music!!).
2. Become more comfortable technically. This is the hardest thing for me to do, so that means it must be one of the most important things. This requires little more than a ball and a small box of space; that is it! As you can see, my resources below were minimal, so I just worked with whatever I could find.
There are a million excuses as to why you can't train, but if you really want it, you are going to find a way to do it.
We are hoping to get some technical training videos up and running soon, so you can use them as a resource for your own training!
3. Be ready to work and not overworked on day one of preseason. This can be tricky because if you’re an elite player you’re going to want to really put in a ton of work in your offseason. But, you are of no good to your team if you aren’t healthy, so it’s important to listen to your body and not do too much. Preseason exists for a reason: to get the team comfortable playing together and prepared for the first match of the year, so trust that if you’re fit and technically ready, the tactics and chemistry will follow.
Speaking of being healthy, I am in pursuit of talking to our team trainer about a minor ankle sprain this weekend, so off I go. I know you're mid winter back in the States, so be thinking about the above post as you're going into your spring season. You have so many resources at LFC IA, so use us!
Welcome to Reds Abroad!
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Jessie, and I'll be the main contributor to this blog for the next nine months. While my day job is working for LFC International Academy as our Director of Marketing, I also play professional soccer abroad. For the next nine months, I will be documenting my journey with my new team, IK Uppsala in Sweden, so join along to see just how it goes!