Soccer can be played in almost all weathers, from a semi-baked pitch to a waterlogged bog. One type of weather you really shouldn’t play in is frost. Frozen pitches, especially artificial ones such as those prevalent in the US, increase injury risk substantially, according to a scientific study published in the Journal of Neurological Research and Therapy.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you should call the soccer off, though. Being indoors is no barrier to having fun with soccer and gives you a chance to keep playing over winter and developing yourself – both as an athlete and in the quest to replicate stars like Salah. There are a few great ways to keep having fun with the weather keeps you off the grass.
Making Soccer Drills Fun
Drills can be a bit boring, but as your coach will tell you, these training ground tasks are really important for building tactical and technical ability. During winter, you’re likely to be doing more and more as the lack of a full-size pitch restricts any 11-a-side action. Try making your activity fun by turning drills into a game of charades. Divide yourself into two teams and then have a huddle with your friends and teammates about some famous goals you’d like to replicate. Maybe you could take it in turns to defend against Ronaldo’s overhead kicks (carefully!) or Messi’s amazing run against Real Madrid. This will ensure you’re still learning while distracting yourself from not being able to get out onto the grass.
Reducing the Team Sizes
Another, more straightforward step, is to simply reduce your team side. Putting on 5 a side games is always fun and gives you the opportunity to learn about a wide range of skills – in a 5 a side, no one player can afford to only attack or only defend. You need the full range of skills. That means defenders can have a go at scoring, and strikers can improve their reflexes by going in goal. 5 a side can also be more intensive on your body, as there are more transitions in play, more stops and starts, and more twisting and turning actions. Make sure you warm up properly, out of the cold, to prevent injury. The warm up is already crucial regardless of season but is even more so in winter.
Moving Away from the Pitch
Aside from the pitch itself, you can always turn to extracurricular activities. It’s always fun to play video games with your friends, though try to keep it in moderation – scientists say your entire daily screen time should be under 2 hours a day. Games like Football Manager and FIFA can offer a tactical look at the game, giving you a look at how the rest of the pitch operates away from your position, and also gives you the chance to ‘manage’ your favorites. A good old fashioned foosball table is good for this too. While it might seem simple against the flashy graphics on the video gaming platforms, foosball is a really good way to learn how to work as a team and you’ll be surprised with how much fun you have.
Winter reduces the chances to get a game of soccer going on the open field. It opens up so many opportunities indoors, though. It gives you the chance to think creatively. Your soccer education can continue while still having fun.