I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to tell you how important it is to get into the weight room and get your bench up another 50 pounds.
Or head out to the field and get in some repeat 40’s. How about getting with a teammate and catching 1,000 passes??
While getting in the weight room and hitting the turf is important, the off-season is the perfect time to catch up on aspects of your game that limited time during the season doesn’t allow for.
Apply these 5R’s during your off-season and see if it doesn’t make you a better player overall.
REST: During the season, your mind and body is constantly in “GO” mode. Most athletes typically eat, drink, and sleep their sport. Add in school, family, friends, extracurricular activities… well, you get the idea.
Not a lot of down time. The off-season is the time to recuperate, recreate and rehabilitate. (more R’s) Take advantage of the extra free time that you have. Allow your body to renew and rebuild.
REVIEW: When your season is over, it’s time to review the last few months of practice and play. Take a look at where you started and where you finished. Not just in the wins and loss’s column, but you as an athlete personally.
What did you do well and what, not so much? What are your weak points and what are your strengths? Take the feedback your coaches and teammates gave you, look at it objectively and see where you can apply change. This is where positive growth occurs. Not only as an athlete but as an individual as well.
READ: “Thanks Brian… you’re asking me to “hit the books” again.” Well, yes and no. This is a great time to read something “non-school” related.
I enjoy reading about other athletes.
Not just about their lives and what they may have overcome… and some of those stories are amazing… but also the do’s and don’ts related to their sport. What worked and what didn’t. What they wish they had done and those things they wish they never did. This can apply to training and life in general.
It’s good to learn from those who have gone before us. Everyone has been impacted by someone important in their lives. Coaches, teachers, family, friends, mentors and so on. Apply the good and toss the bad.
RE-TRAIN: This was an “adjustment” area in my athletic life that made a world of difference my freshman year in college. It was the first time I saw myself on film. When I was in high school, they were still chiseling out pictures on stone!
Ok, I’m not that old, but seeing myself in “action” really helped me to realize what I was doing right and where I needed work. Hearing instruction from my coaches was helpful, but seeing it, caused the light bulb to go on. It allowed me mentally to adjust and re-train my mind so my body would follow.
The off-season allows you that extra time to pull your game apart and put it back together again, so you can function more effectively and efficiently.
READY: Too very often I see athletes come into pre-season with the idea that they will “play themselves into shape”. I think that’s where the phrase; “what were you thinking” comes from. The off-season is the perfect time to get your body ready for what’s to come.
All the distractions and time-consuming activities are either gone or greatly reduced. Take advantage of the hours of free time that you have and not only work on the technical aspects of your game, but slowly work your way into your best shape. That is of course, unless you enjoy heaving into a trashcan, constantly being last during drills or appreciate hearing the “encouraging” … louder that usually… voice from your coach.
The off-season is the time to start working on your “athletic puzzle”, so when your first competition begins you have all the pieces in place. What’s better, having your game plan complete ahead of time or scrambling at the last minute to put it all together?
Keep moving forward!
Brian Lange writes on fitness and sport specific training. He has been training clients and athletes for over 30 years. You can reach Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org