Every season must come to an end, but is it really ever coming to an end when you have to stay focused on preserving your physical condition for the next season? The off season of any sport is a time for an athlete to rest and reflect on how their season went, and more importantly how they can improve. You are never going to grow in your sport if you treat your off season as a break, and those who do so are only putting themselves to a disservice. Listed below are some Do’s and Don’ts for how to treat your off season in order to grow as an athlete.

Focusing more on Skill than Athleticism 

In simpler terms, focusing on certain skills to improve on in your sport such as dribbling for basketball, or working on your defense in soccer isn’t necessarily helping you grow overall in your sport, but nonetheless just improving that one skill. In order to have a productive off season, one needs to focus on how to improve their athleticism, such as building up strength and speed so that you can run better and initially improve your defense in that way. In order to thrive in your sport and become the best you can be, you can’t just specialize on improving one skill, but building up your endurance by working out a few times a week, and mixing in different workouts such as weight training and running will help you improve those certain skills in the long run. 

Knowing the Difference Between Working Out and Training 

 In saying this, going to your local gym to do a basic half hour to hour workout is better than nothing, but isn’t really specializing you in the type of workout you need for your sport. Training, however, is improving certain skills for your sport in order to improve you in the long run, and essentially plays in as a workout. Training for soccer consists of long runs and leg workouts to build up your endurance for constantly running back and forth on the field. Training for basketball would be perhaps running as well to help you build up endurance running back and forth on the court, but also weight training to help build strength for jumping and shooting, and even for your defense. When you are approaching an off season, it’s important to set a plan for how you are going to approach your workouts as more of a training session each day, and how your workouts will correlate directly with improving your game as a whole. 

Conditioning too Much 

It’s important to not make the mistake of conditioning too much during your off season, as the off season should also be dedicated to resting and recovering for the upcoming year ahead. Your season is long as it is, and it’s filled with conditioning and training, so although resting all the time isn’t the greatest for your off season either, not resting enough will burn you out and make you feel like your season was never ending. Good ways to properly rest include taking a day off in between training days to recover and rest your body. Getting the full 8 hours of sleep will make you feel more energized when you wake up, as well as drinking enough water each day so your body can stay hydrated and essentially more energized. Lots of stretching before and after your workouts is also very important, as this will prevent muscle cramps and potential injuries from occurring. 

Utilizing the Importance of Nutrition 

Lastly, nutrition plays a huge role in how your body will produce results in your training as well as your health as a whole. Having a nutrition based plan, such as eating the right amount of dairy, veggies, fruits, etc everyday will make you more energized and have you feeling balanced and more likely to produce positive results throughout your off season. In saying it’s essential to have a nutrition plan doesn’t mean you need to go see a nutritionist and pay hundreds of dollars doing so, but simply making sure you supply your body with enough carbs, fruits, veggies, and most importantly water, will play a huge role in how healthy you are for your next season, and how energized you will be for your workouts.

​An off season should never be treated like a vacation and a time to slack if one wants to improve and become a better athlete, and remember, no matter if you are the top scorer on your team or the top defenseman, there is always room for improvement and growth. Consider these tips and take note on mistakes to not make during this upcoming off season for you.