Alan Armstrong once stated, “Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” As a young athlete, you might hear your coach tell you that champions are made in the off-season and that’s true! The off-season for an athlete is just as important as the season itself. You may be wondering, why do athletes even need an off-season? The truth is, even the best athletes need a break from what they do best. The off-season is a great time for athletes to to focus on training and preparing their body for the next season.
Why is the off-season is important?
The off-season is important for athletes physical and mental wellbeing! This is the perfect time to for them to enhance their current skills, improve on new ones and keep in the best mental and physical shape for the upcoming season. One of the most important aspects of the off-season period is taking time to recover. Repetitive practice, routines and day-to-day sport activities can cause an athlete to “burn out.” It can be hard for anyone to admit their weakness, especially, for an athlete.
For most athletes, the off-season is the perfect opportunity for coaches to sit down with players and talk about what needs to be worked on for next season. For anyone, including youth athletes, it can cause a lack of interest in a sport they once loved! It’s important for athletes to build muscle in the areas that they use most often in their sport to avoid injuries. It is also important to give athletes the time they need to get a mental and physical break for next season. If one of your players has an injury or needs to catch up on sleep, the off-season is a perfect time to do that.
Start by letting your players set goals for themselves! These goals are there to help them focus on their training towards your individual needs and position on the team.Once you’ve helped your athletes set goals, it is time to get training. It’s essential for athletes to stay grounded and focused at all times. Goals can help guide and keep them grounded. Sport psychologist suggest every athlete needs to set these three type of goals: process, performance and outcome goals.
- Process goals are essentially the how of are they are going to physically execute their overall goals. It’s the practice and drills they are going to execute every week.
- Performance goals are way for them to track their improvement. These goals are perfect for them to understand their body limits and how not to injure them.
- Outcome goals will bring everything together and set the bar for them!
Plan your training regimen
The most important part of having an effective off-season is making a tailored training plan for each athlete’s individual needs.
- Foam Roll/Soft Tissue Workout
- Dynamic warm-up
- Strength work
- Post-Training session static stretching
- Foam roll
However for your pitchers, their training regimen will be different. Unlike the other players on your team, there are limits to how much you can do without causing an injury.
- Ask someone to hit the ground balls and work on the fielding practice.
- Work on the mechanics and play as if you were playing an actual game.
- Have your players visualize themselves doing better in a game and build your confidence.
Know the limits
When it comes down to your players make sure they to know their limits. Make sure your athletes aren’t pushing themselves, too hard. It may seem like limiting your training goals will stunt your athlete’s growth, but in reality, an injury would limit the athletes life even more. Just because they are an athlete doesn’t mean they can’t have a balanced athletic life. Have them enjoy their off-season and come back even stronger and better than before. They will all be glad to have taken a break!
Decker Sports is an Omaha-based sporting goods manufacturer working to combine knowledge of hand-eye coordination with modern exercise, physiology expertise, and personal experience on the ballfield to take young baseball players and softball players to their utmost levels. They strive to deliver superior equipment, excellence in skill development, and the utmost service, at a fair price. Decker Sports is proud to support coaches and athletes in the top U.S. collegiate softball programs, Major League Baseball teams, elite high school and youth programs, and training centers found globally.