No matter which sport, competition or race you participate in, every season has an end. The time between competitive play is referred to as the off-season. It’s easy to think of the off-season as a time for vacation and leisure. However, the importance of off-season training can’t be overstated. It’s actually a critical period in which smart training can reward you with the highest dividends.
At Athletes’ Training Center, we understand that off-season sports training really increases your potential and is the foundation for personal growth. In fact, staying in competitive shape is much easier than getting back into it. In order to remain at a competitive performance level, it’s essential to continue training during the off-season.
Thankfully, we can help. Here are five quick tips you can use during the off-season to maintain your sports training:
1. Set a Goal
For many athletes, it’s hard to stay motivated during the off-season without a goal to work toward. While they have an overall goal to “stay in shape”, that’s not always enough to motivate them on a daily basis. Setting a goal and creating a schedule to accomplish that goal is a fundamental part of off-season training. However, doing so requires you to take a few things into consideration.
Consider the Sport
The sport you play has a role in determining the endurance, speed and strength that you need to achieve. It can determine work to rest ratios, peak load needs, and many other factors. Off-season training should prepare you for the conditions you expect to face during the regular season.
Focus on Recovery Strategies
One key area of focus during the off-season should be on recovery strategies to help your body offset the demands of the competitive season. Consider whether your off-season training regimen should include activities to offset the demands of a single sport. For example, if your main sport requires heavy concentrations of quad dominant work you need to attend to some other areas of movement like hip mobility or glute strengthening.
Consider Past Injuries
It’s very important to consider prior injuries. Goals during the off-season need to focus on attending to those injuries and working to prevent them from recurring. Working with a physical therapist can be a good strategy to accomplish this.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Nutrition
Your body will only put out what you put into it. For this reason, nutrition is one of the most important aspects of a training program. Whether you’re training during the season or in the off-season, your body needs the right fuel.
The problem is there’s a lot of conflicting information about what makes a “good” nutrition plan. Your body has a specific caloric need to get the most out of training, and it’s important to pay attention to that part of your plan.
Also, you should be focused on hydration and ensuring your body maintains adequate hydration levels to compliment your training goals.
The best way to approach your nutrition plan is to work with a sports dietitian. Be aware there is a difference between a nutritionist and a dietician, so be sure to be picky. At Athletes’ Training Center, you develop the proper nutrition plan by working with one of professional staff from Positive Nutrition . Our goal is to take the guesswork out of eating right.
3. Practice Mobility Work
Generally, there are two types of flexibility. Passive flexibility is something that contortionists and gymnasts focus on. It gives them an extreme range of motion in the joints. In most cases, athletes only need average passive flexibility regardless of the sport that they play.
Other athletes, however, need to focus on enhancing mobility. This is the ability of certain body areas to take the brunt of motion rather than areas of the body that are intended for stability.
One way to focus on mobility is to spend time working through a comprehensive hip mobility routine.
One routine we recommend is the MBSC Flow Warm-up by Mike Boyle:
4. Stay Consistent While Training
The last tip for training during the off-season is to stay consistent. Map out a plan and stick to it. Athletes that dedicate themselves to consistent training are much more successful than those who have the “I’ll fit in if I have time” mentality. Missing one session can easily lead to missing another and before you know it the off-season has come to an end and you’re left wondering why you are struggling to keep up with the demands of the intense pre-season preparation phase.
You know yourself better than anyone, so put in place strategies to help yourself stay on track. Maybe it’s finding a workout buddy or hiring a performance coach to keep you on track.
5. Reach Out to Athletes’ Training Center
There is a lot of work that goes into planning a program for an athlete through all seasons. Our trained, professional coaches can help you create an off-season sports training workout that prepares you for the next season. Reach out to Athletes’ Training Center for a free trial session to get a no commitment required glimpse into our training plans. Contact us to schedule a free trial session.