How To Stay Sharp During a Vacation Break

Holiday breaks and vacation time are meant for rest and relaxation. However, if you're a player looking to maintain your fitness, it's important to put in some extra work so that you can return from break just as strong as when you left. There are generally three breaks during the winter season in New England (Holidays, February & April), during which we run vacation break camps for our players. If you can't attend a camp, there is plenty that you can do on your own time to ensure that you don't miss a beat.

  1. Something is always better than nothing! Even if you can only get in 2 or 3 sessions with the ball or working on your fitness, this is better than sitting on the couch watching TV. Two weeks of inactivity can reduce fitness by almost 30%, so it's best to put in some effort even if it's not a full blown training session.

  2. Nutrition is just as important as fitness. We know how easy it is to overeat and indulge during vacation, especially during the holidays when it seems like dessert becomes the fourth meal of the day. Eating right will affect how your body performs during training and even during rest days. It's OK to take a day off, but when you do, try to eat less carbohydrates (rice, bread, potatoes, etc). On training days, load up on protein and carbs to get the most out of your session. Remember to stay hydrated no matter what!

  3. You don't need a wide open field to practice. Soccer is a team sport, but individual technique is crucial to your success on the field. Ball mastery is about keeping the ball close to the foot, so you don't need a ton of room to practice your ball skills. You can find a spot to practice right in your house (just make sure to check with your parents first). Pick 4 or 5 moves, find a carpeted floor, and repeatedly perform the moves with a ball. Over time, the muscle memory that you develop will help you perform these moves in a game.

4. Maintaining stamina and endurance doesn't have to be boring. Growing up, I hated preseason workouts. They seemed to drag on forever, and nothing is more miserable than running and not knowing when it will be over. Working on your endurance doesn't have to be like this. You can create ways to distract yourself while working on fitness. This can be through developing non-linear running drills, setting up a competition with yourself, running a new route every day, or using a ball in your drills.

Photo & video courtesy of the Nike Academy.