Tryouts are done, your team is set, and now you have some time until official team training begins. So what now? What is most important for your players to do during this time? What are they able to do on their own? How much are you able to be involved?
All of these important questions will help you create an off season program that will fit your teams needs and compliment your abilities as a coach. The first thing to look at is what does your team need? I was once coaching a team that was technically superior to their opponents, played sound tactically and had good mental toughness. The problem was that by the time we had 20 minutes left in every game the team would look flat from a lack of fitness and general athleticism. With this group we put a heavy fitness oriented off season program and when we arrived at pre-season training the team was the most fit I had seen them. Determine what area of the game your team needs the most work and make that the key of the off season program.
Next look at two items. First, what areas will you struggle to train during your pre-season and secondly, what can your players do on their own. One of my pre-season’s while playing we were in a hot summer in the Midwest. Our training facility was small and filled with dirt and stickers. With these conditions we were able to do very little tactical training. While we were not able to get on a training pitch on their own, we were asked to play pick up soccer in whatever capacity a minimum of once a week. Players were able to get in a decent amount of tactical training on their own and then the coaching staff was able to fine tune the system and style in the video room out of the heat.
When determining your program, the most important thing to do is get a bit creative and be prepared to try something a bit new. Ask your players to do work on their own and get involved when and where you can.