OCB Keeping it light

Even in preseason, the life of a professional athlete is demanding. 

After working all offseason to stay fit, players push themselves to reach maximum fitness and regain their touch as they gear up for the coming season. 

But some days are more fun than others.

“Our plan that we made for preseason was always to make the third day an active recovery day,” Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis said. “We try to keep it light-hearted, technical, competitive work that they’re going to enjoy and allow them to recover.”

The young Lions were divided into three teams of colored pinnies Wednesday and began training with some two-touch drills. After that, it was time for a race. 

The teams started on one touchline and had to juggle a ball all the way to the other side and chip it into a bucket. Each player was allowed two touches, but if the ball fell on the ground they had to start over. All that three times.

Then the teams were further divided into groups of three for a few games of soccer-tennis. Each color had two teams and each team’s points were counted to the entire color’s total. Even the coaches got in on it.

It was a great way to get some re-gen work in while at the same time giving the players an opportunity for some fun, on-the-pitch bonding. 

But Pulis was quick to point out that this day of play was earned, not given. 

“We had a double session on Monday, which was tough. We had a double session yesterday, which was also tough,” Pulis said. “We know you can’t push them every single day. 

“They’re going to go hard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

 Still, this is professional soccer. There are always winners and, inevitably, losers. 

“Coaches’ team win?”

“Of course,” Pulis laughed.