Women’s soccer keeps kicking during offseason training

IUP midfielder Michelle Grozinsky (senior, natural science) brings the ball up the the pitch during a PSAC West game. (File photo)

In the fall of 2013, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team ran an efficient show with a 9-8-1 season. However, even in success, training doesn’t stop with the season.

Like many other sports, soccer is a year-round commitment involving offseason training.

According to IUP’s head coach Adel Heder, the core objective of offseason training is “to have the players remain in the best shape possible before they leave for the summer.”

While soccer-specific training is important to get touches on the ball, weight training is also crucial when preparing for the fall season in terms of explosion, endurance and resistance, according to STACK Magazine.

Soccer-specific weight training is implemented three days out of the week. The strengthening aspect is beneficial by building muscle so players do not get pushed off the ball as easily.

“It is a form of injury prevention and can help you heal quicker if you do sustain an injury,” Jessica Printz (freshman, athletic training) said.

“Being strong is a crucial element; it makes you faster,” she said. “It intertwines with so many aspects of the sport overall.”

The women train together as a team, yet they often work on drills and activities specific to their position.

As a goalie, Printz focuses on diving, footwork, distribution, shots, stopping, among other skills.

In opposition, Brittney Kuhns’ (junior, undeclared) position as a forward allows her practices with Heder to include shooting drills and quick footwork.

Since much of the starting lineup won’t be back due to graduation, off season training may be even more beneficial this time around.

“Personally I enjoy being on the field and building chemistry with the team,” Kuhns said, who led all Crimson Hawks with 10 goals last season.

Because competitions begin several days after the start of fall semester, there is an inadequate amount of time to prepare, making it imperative that the women arrive in shape, according to Heder.

However, NCAA applies certain rules to offseason training that restrict the number of hours and days the women’s soccer team can practice, along with which drills they are able to perform. Although restrictions limit the team, players get together on their own time to perform drills and other activities.

Hour-long morning practices occur on Mondays and Wednesdays, but Heder is only allowed to work with four or five girls for 20 minutes at a time. The limited period he is permitted to spend with the players is used for different forms of fitness such as small-sided games and drills.

Team bonding allows the girls to know each other on a more personal level, leading to great communication on the soccer field.

According to Printz, the women’s soccer team is dedicated to improving and sustaining their performance during the offseason.

The team is dedicated to improving and sustaining their performance and believe offseason training is vital to reaching their goals as a collective unit.