For many collegiate athletes, it might be unclear how to approach the off-season, especially for those that are leaving campus. When you’re away from the team-system, it’s tempting to eat junk food and lounge at the beach, but this makes getting back into practice difficult in the fall. On the other hand, the off-season is an important opportunity to rest and recover so your body doesn’t start to shut down. The key is to find a balance between maintenance and recovery. So, how can you best use the off-season to your benefit?
1. Set Goals for Yourself.
Think about what you want to accomplish during the off-season. This might be a chance to focus on a different aspect of your game that you don’t get to put as much attention into during the regular season, like improving your speed by decreasing your mile run time. Setting and evaluating your goals can help keep you on track, without getting overwhelmed.
2. Listen to your body.
Check-in with yourself, to get a sense of your energy level and your physical and mental strength. One way to gauge this is to rate your energy level before and after your workouts on a scale of 1-10, to get a sense of how fatigued your body is. Knowing your body will help you know when to push harder and when to rest.
3. Talk to others.
Before leaving for the off-season, talk with your coaches, trainers, strength & conditioning coaches and teammates to get an idea of expectations for training loads during the off-season. Working with others can make it easier to create a plan for yourself. You can also stay keep in touch with your teammates over the summer to help hold each other accountable.