How to make the off-season work for you
IF YOU ARE 15 OR YOUNGER
Play other sports you love!
Playing other sports is important for developing different movement strategies, which helps reduce overload of muscles specific to your sport.
It also helps develop different mental and tactical strategies that you can bring back to your main sport when you move into pre-season.
Having fun – don’t forget, this is why we do it! Sports and physical activity should be FUN! Enjoy what you do, and you will do it better.
If you’re wondering how these things will help you in your main or favourite sport, just remember that there are certain aspects of sport (field/court sports in particular) that are almost universal:
Understanding the game – being aware of your teammates, the opposition, the ref
Just because it isn’t in the same context (same sport),
it doesn’t mean you aren’t developing these skills!
Now, if you’re super committed to your sport and
don’t want to play any other sports or do any other activities…
1) PLEASE consider it… or
2) Keep reading.
IF YOU ARE 16 OR OLDER
This is the time to start to focusing
on your main sport:
Start a strength and conditioning program. Learn the basics of proper movements, this will help in reducing injuries by improving your control during running, jumping, cutting tasks.
Strengthening your body/muscles can
Increase strength (duh...)
Now, the doctor in me is going to take over…
This is important for athletes of any age!
The off-season is the best time to get assessed by a therapist who can identify dysfunctions in how your body moves. When we play a sport, our body becomes very good at that sport and the movements we need for it. But as we stress these muscles and joints repetitively, limitations can develop that are not helpful.
Reduced joint range of motion and tight muscles can limit what our bodies can do, and can lead to compensations elsewhere. Our muscles and joints are connected; dysfunction in our foot can lead to issues in the knee or funky movement in the hips - and/or vice versa!
By getting this assessed in the off-season, and getting homework to help reduce these limitations, you improve how your body moves and how you can achieve the tasks required of your sport.
Why do I think this is important?
Last season, I dealt with many players who had injuries…
the conversation often goes like this:
"I know this sucks but the best thing to do at this point is to take a few weeks off.
You’ve overworked/stressed/strained *insert muscle here* and you need time to let it rest.
I wish I had seen you BEFORE this happened, so we could have worked on making *this muscle* stronger, and improving your control to reduce the risk of this happening."
The key thing is BEFORE, BEFORE this happens.
If you work at improving your joints and muscles BEFORE injuries happen, when the time comes, you either don’t get injured, or it’s less severe than what it would have been.
Just a hint… THIS is the before.
Questions? Concerns? Interest?