If you’re a sports mom, you understand my desire to provide my kids with every opportunity to grow and develop in their sport. With summer halfway over and the school year getting ready to start, I want my young athletes to start preparing—mentally and physically—for the beginning of fall sports.
To help them, I’ve been reading up on off-season training—some do’s and don’ts to consider. Here are some tips I’ve found that have helped me encourage my kids in their sport without pushing them too hard.
Off-season training is a time of preparation and practice when athletes are not participating competitively in their respective sport. For example, when the football season ends, any practice and conditioning is considered off-season training. But many young athletes work so hard, traveling with select teams and competing in school sports that they don’t actually have any off-season.
It’s important to ensure that your kids have some down time. Preparation and practice are great, they instill a strong work ethic, perseverance, and commitment, but when overworked, kids can get burnt out or hurt. Keep sports engaging and help them balance working hard and resting.
Sports can be very taxing on the body. From football to cheerleading, cross country to volleyball, the repetitive stresses of jumping, tackling, diving, etc., can leave the human body overworked. Be conscious of this and make sure that your athlete is taking proper care of their body—healthy nutrition, exercising, and resting are all crucial aspects to consider.
Staying healthy, mind and body, will help prepare for safe off-season training; so, what should off season training look like? If your athlete plays sports at school and isn’t involved in select sports or competitive sporting events, off-season is a time to perfect skill work and practice at a slower pace. For example, football players in off-season prepare by taking ballet classes to enhance balance, practicing drills, lifting weights, and going over tape. Off-season is not the time to join a rec league and compete.
If your child is playing competitively, it’s consider in-season. Encourage your child to slow down—not give up or stop—when their season ends. This allows the body to recuperate and the mind to rest.
Off-season training is all about improving fundamental movement patterns as well as improving strength and conditioning. By working on foundational elements, they’ll be more prepared for the demands of in-season training.