If it has not already happened to you, unfortunately, it will at some point in your soccer career. Injuries in soccer are common and recovering from a torn muscle, sprain, fracture, or any other injury can be the most frustrating thing for an athlete.
Even perhaps the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, had to leave the final of the Euro Cup against France with a knee injury. And though Ronaldo came off he tried to return to the game again, but just couldn’t run like he was used to. So it was smart of him to come out of the game and not risk further injury that could have hurt him permanently.
While you are stuck on the sidelines, immobile, all your team-mates get to practice and train to improve their game. However, do not despair; here are some tips for succeeding when an injury is keeping you from your normal soccer training.
Keep your mind active with soccer related activities
Being told you have to sit out on a couple of practices can be devastating to someone for whom soccer is their whole life. Try to keep your spirits up by engaging in other soccer related activities, other than playing it yourself.
Take a trip to your local bookstore or just search on Amazon and see which of your favorite soccer players have an autobiography published for you to read and gain some inspiration. There are also plenty of new movies too about top soccer players, like Becoming Zlatan for instance, which is on Netflix. It’s a very inspiring movie and shows you that even great players like Ibrahimovic had struggles in their career.
From his debut with Malmö FF in 1999, through his conflict-ridden years with Ajax and up to his final breakthrough with Juventus in 2005, BECOMING ZLATAN follows the decisive years Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Find a way to maintain your fitness level
When you are used to leading an active lifestyle it can be hellish to be told by the doctor that you can no longer attend your soccer practices until the injury heals. So, first things first, listen to your doctor. Do not try to be a hero, do not go to soccer practice if he says you cannot –you risk the chance of only injuring yourself further and could potentially do some long term damage. But, do ask your doctor (or physiotherapist, if relevant) what you can do to maintain your fitness levels without compromising the healing of your current injury.
If you have a leg injury, you still may be able to do weight training focusing on your arms and abdominal muscles. If you have a knee injury, swimming or water based exercises is often a good way to exercise that will not aggravate the injury. An injury does not always mean you need to be completely sedentary, so remember to ask what you can and cannot do while an injury heals.
Focus on theoretical training and strategy
While you may not be able to get out there and practice passing and dribbling; this does not mean that you cannot improve in other areas. Watching theoretical training videos online can be really helpful.
In addition, reading articles and watching videos about game strategy is something that is often undervalued, but is incredibly important. Re-watching old games that your team played can be useful in identifying areas where the team could have done something different or better.
And watching matches played by professional soccer teams can be both inspiring as well as advantageous when trying to think of new strategic maneuvers to try out in the future.