Your season is over and the offseason is now here. It’s time to take a breath, rest, and recalibrate. The offseason is crucial. How it’s approached and used will determine the quality of next season. As parents and coaches it’s our responsibility to help our athletes become the best they’re capable of. What does an appropriate offseason look like? What should athletes do?
Here are five ways to help your athletes have the best and most successful offseason possible.
Rest. The most overlooked and most important thing to do in the offseason is to rest. Now, this doesn’t mean rest the entire offseason, but it’s crucial to take time off. Most coaches and trainers would like athletes to take a couple weeks off once the season ends. The season is long, and by the end of it players are fatigued. It’s important for players to recharge physically, mentally, and emotionally. Another important aspect is to find fun things for your athletes to do. These activities need to be completely separate from your sport so they can recharge mentally. Once the two week rest period is over, it’s vital you help the athlete create a training and skill development plan. If you take this step seriously, and do it right, when it’s time to get back at it your athlete will be ready.
Brain Games. The mind is more important than the body. It doesn’t sound right to most, but it’s the truth. Over time physical skills begin to diminish, but the best are always getting better mentally. It’s what allows them to stay at the top, compete, and win. During the offseason a great practice would be for an athlete to select and study three greats in their sport. With social media, athletes could use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to search and follow coaches and athletes in their sports. Social media is a great resource for motivation, drills, skills, nutrition, and workout plans. To truly separate from the pack, it would be wise for an athlete to read at least 10 minutes a day on what the best in their sport do, and how they think the game. Lastly, teach your athlete the importance and power of visualization. Once they fully realize the power of their mind, athletes begin to reach heights they never thought possible.
Win in the Gym. There is no substitute for hard work. NONE. With a developed workout and skill development plan, there are no excuses for an athlete to not get better in the offseason. Athlete who commit to the gym will see improvements with their overall athleticism. Their range of motion will improve dramatically. The athlete’s quickness and strength will get better as well. Athletes must also view time in the gym as injury prevention. The ones who are in better shape, with better muscle mass, range of motion, and endurance are less likely to get injured during the season. Hard work in the gym will give an athlete the confidence needed to win during the season.
Get Close With Teammates. Great teams are made from great teammates. The offseason is the perfect opportunity for athletes to truly bond. Workouts and skill development sessions should not be done alone. There is power within the group. As a high school football player our team had consistent summer workouts. We all would come in and lift at the same time in the morning. This is where our team camaraderie was built. If someone wasn’t there, we held them accountable. A player would feel bad if they weren’t they. They’d also feel as if they were letting their team down. Aside from workouts, we’d all hang out. We were a close group and had a lot of success as a result. However, we didn’t wait until the first day of practice to build our culture. It was built in the offseason. The importance of having strong relationships amongst teammates cannot be stated enough.
Set goals. And then “Forgot The How.” At the beginning of the offseason, set personal goals for the upcoming season. Set measurable goals in the weightroom, on the ice, court, or field. Once these are set, develop a plan, and then “forget the how.” FTH. This is all about trusting the process. Too many people want immediate results. The offseason is about building foundation. Trust the work that is put in will pay dividends, because they will. Athletes begin to fail when they worry about “how” things will happen. When athletes buy into the process, and truly trust it, they break through. The “how” is not their responsibility. Showing up every day and putting in quality work is. With set goals, a great action plan, and a strong belief in the process athletes will have their best offseason yet.
The offseason is separation season. How are your athletes going to separate themselves from the competition? With these five steps they can and will develop into the total player they’re capable of.
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