Why Athletes Should Train In The Off-Season: Part 1 - Combat Detraining
Start Next Season At The Top Of Your Game
Athletes work very hard during pre-season practice and during the season to gain strength, agility, and cardiovascular endurance. Strength training, sprinting drills, suicides, dribbling drills, passing drills, there are endless ways coaches train athletes to be excellent. For most athletes, the sport season lasts about 3 months; for really athletic people the other ¾ of the year is spent on travel teams or participating in other sports.
For athletes that are in school, the summer is usually time off to catch up on sleep and take a much needed break. This rest time is important, it helps you recover lost sleep which is essential for your stressed out brain to get a break. Catching up on sleep also helps your muscles recover and gives restoration to your brain-body connection to help you re-set for your next big challenge. But resting for too long can undo all the good progress you made during the season.
You made excellent gains this year, you can lift more, run faster, run longer, and cut around your opponents with ease. How long does it take to lose those skills? How long does it take for you to lose running speed? After 6 weeks on the couch and 2 weeks on the beach, will you still be able to crush a mile in under 7 minutes? The answer, probably not.
After about 2 weeks of rest, you start to lose strength, agility, and endurance. The initial losses aren’t devastating, but the longer you rest, the more you lose. If you take a full 8 week break, you may spend half of next season working to get back to level you were at when you finished the last season. That may mean you’re slower during tryouts and you don’t make varsity. That may mean the difference between starting and sitting the bench.
If you want to keep your strengths so you can start building on them on day 1 of the next season, training in the off-season if the path you want to take. If you train the right way in the off season, you can perfectly supplement your in-season training to make sure you get the rest you need, improve your strength and agility, prevent injuries from happening, and start your next season sprinting like you never took a day off.
Training in the off season is a great way to make sure you enter the next season in the same condition you were in at the end of last season. But if you train right, you could enter the next season better. You could run into your next practice with more power, agility, and endurance than you had before. In fact, the off-season is the perfect time to make these gains.
There is a common phrase in the world that has universal applications, “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” You can build and train and strive for greatness throughout the pre-season and in-season, but if you quit training in the off-season you will most likely lose your gains. Not only do you lose strength, power, and speed, but your coordination suffers as well; this includes agility and hand-eye coordination. If you wait until pre-season to start training, you will only be playing catch-up to meet last year’s level. Start in the off-season to build a solid base of cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, and strength.