Importance of Offseason Training
5 Important Reasons to Take Advantage of Offseason Training
Summer is almost here, which means many young athletes have a few months of downtime before practice starts for the fall sports season. Like most kids, student-athletes (and their parents) are tempted to completely take a break, but that could be a serious hindrance on your performance.
The offseason is an invaluable time for training and practice that’s better spent in the gym than on the couch. It’s a time when you can get one-on-one attention that may not be possible during the regular season and focus on what you need as an individual athlete. Here are five more really good reasons to keep training during the offseason.
Prevent Skill Regression
Practice makes perfect no matter what time of year it is. Elite athletes understand that if they forgo training for too long it’s going to result in skill regression. Even if your skill level stays the same during offseason training it’s a plus. It’s much easier to maintain skills than it is to build them back up after a long hiatus.
Maintain Peak Physical Fitness
Skills aren’t the only thing that can take a hit if you take an extended break. Physical fitness levels can also suffer if you take a vacation from training in the offseason. It’s shocking how quickly strength and stamina can dwindle if a workout regimen isn’t maintained.
All it takes is a few days post recovery for your body to start the downslide in endurance. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the difference. In just a week mitochondrial content in the muscles decreases. Within three weeks muscle density can drop by about 6%, and the longer you go without training the more you’ll lose.
Helps Prevent Injury
Many athletes avoid training in the offseason because they think it reduces the risk of a sidelining injury. In actuality, the opposite is often true.
Yes, you need time to recover to make sure your body can heal. But stretch the recovery period out too long and you risk injury if you try to jump right back into things at the start of the next season. That’s because your body learns to adapt to the stress of exercise. If you stop training your body essentially forgets how to cope as it did before.
The safer bet is to engage in active rest and a dialed back training regimen since you have more time for recovery in the offseason. Active rest means physical activities aren’t quite as rigorous as during the regular season or you focus on activities that aren’t training in the traditional sense of the word but still works the body. However, it’s important to work
in one or two intense training sessions each week. If you don’t maintain intensity you’ll see a loss of fitness.
Opportunity to Work on Specific Skills
During the season you may not have time to focus on a particular skill that needs improving or that you want to add to your arsenal. The offseason is the opportunity to put together a training regimen just for you and the skills you want to build. Or you could work on improving strength in a new way to correct imbalances that increase the risk of injury.
The general gist is that the offseason is a time when you can decide what to work on and how to work on it.
You Get to Do It for Fun
The competition and structured practices of a sports season can make the game feel a little like a job at times. During the offseason when there’s less pressure and more flexibility athletes have more autonomy in their training and can have more fun with it. This is an important factor in terms of avoiding burnout.
At Optimal Sports Performance, we specialize in helping athletes of all ages create targeted training programs that build
skills while improving strength and stamina. Let’s make the most of your offseason!