The month of December signifies a few things for high school students: Christmas is coming, winter break is approaching and the year is coming to an end. In terms of sports, it means the end of Fall sports season and the beginning of the Winter sports season. Many high school athletes play sports in both seasons. However, there are athletes who don’t play a winter sport and therefore have some time off. Below are four great tips on how to approach the off-season in preparation for the next year.
1. Rest/take time off- the Fall season is completed. You have been training and playing since the summer and if you were fortunate you also were able to participate in the post-season. This adds up to a lot of wear and tear on the muscles and joints. Additionally, mentally you have invested months into preparing for practices and games. Your mind and body both need a break. You should take two weeks off where you do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. That is right. No lifting, no running, no game playing. All you need to do is relax. Talk to your parents and see if you can get massage therapy as well. Hang out with your friends and just have fun and be a kid.
2. Assess the past year- it is always good to reflect on the season you just had especially if you want to improve on your game for the next year. Conduct a personal inventory on your own season. What did you and the team do well? What are things you and the team need to work on? Did you and the team meet the expectations you set before the season? I would suggest doing this alone but also have a meeting with your coach to go over your season. Your coach can and should give you valuable feedback on what went well for you during the season and what things you need to work on in order to become a better player.
3. Set/Establish goals- nothing great is or was accompleished without setting a goal and creating a vision. This is another reason why you should meet with your coach. The two of you can discus the individual and team goals you want to have going into next season. You should set small as well as big goals. Once these goals have been set, write them down and put them in a place where you can see them daily such as placing a sticky on your bathroom mirror and writing them down in your favorite school notebook. You want to have these goals always on your mind because this will keep you motivated throughout the year until each goal is accomplished.
4. Participate in GPP training- Now that you have taken some time off (2 weeks at least) and set your goals, it’s now time to train again. The early off-season training should consist of General Physical Preparation or GPP work. GPP can be defined as working on general conditioning to improve strength, speed, endurance, flexibility and skill. In essence, it is laying down a foundation for athletic development. GPP training can identify and prevent muscle imbalances. During this phase of training, proper technique and improved conditioning are the priorities. Generally, athletes should spend a month in this phase but it is all dependent on their training age (how long have they had formal strength training) and physical conditioning level.
Follow these steps and you are on the right track in improving your overall athletic development and individual skill play while at the same time minimizing your risk of injury. The time to get better started yesterday!!!!!
There is a well-organized medical service with all necessary equipment. SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL- COLLEGE STATION.