It's that time of year for highschool sports, the off-season. I love reading and speculating on the pros and college level sports during the off-season. It's so much fun to try and figure out who will actually be good the following year, or who will rise up to take down the defending champions.
Earlier in the year we discussed in-season training; you can check out part 1 here. And as big as a team making the right moves in free agency or the draft, training is also very critical.
Unlike what the above picture suggests Strength and Conditioning Coaches do kinda love/hate this time of year. We love it because this is when we can really kick our athlete's in to gear and get them really making gains to get ready for the upcoming season. We hate it because we love watching sports. All that being said, sometimes athletes, coaches, and trainers like myself can get a little overzealous and make some mistakes along the way.
Which brings me to the main point of the article; 3 common mistakes made by athletes, trainers and coaches alike.
Not taking a break - This is a big one. In the pros many athletes will give themselves a month or two after the season where they won't touch a weight or think about their sport. The season is taxing and recovery is non-negotiable. I usually recommend to many of my athlete's that they should at least take a week off and just recuperate. Often times when athlete's forego this break they greatly enhance their risk of injury.
- Doing too much too soon - This goes hand in hand with my previous point. Instead of taking a break athlete's will sign up for a skills coach, trainer, and then do some stuff on their own. What we forget, is much of the season we're not training as hard as we normally would, so in order to make the most of our off-season we are best to ease into it. Otherwise the athlete will be wrecked the next couple of days after each training session, and thus as the off-season goes on their still only training maybe twice a week instead of being able to train four times a week.
- Not taking it seriously - Too often athlete's approach the off-season with a "laissez-faire" mentality. When this is your time to really make the gains you need/want. The first two points are extremely important but to that extent you also need to make sure everything is dialed in. Nutrition, sleep, training, and recovery. I'm not saying you can't enjoy yourself, because believe that is one of the most important things you can do. But you also need to have that balance of being committed to making the gains in performance you want to make.
So three things to remember as athlete's approach their off-season. At the end of the day the most important thing is to make sure you enjoy your summer and time off. Recovery is always the most important thing.