Many high school athletes the offseason for rest and relaxation. They completely take themselves out of sports and replace that time with travel, work, and catching up on the latest video games. This is a great thing, and we encourage this break, but to a certain extent.
Off season is designed to get athletes off their feet. This period of rest was not an accidental lapse in game scheduling, it is specifically planned and calculated to allow the athletes time for rest and recovery, which helps to prevent overuse injuries such as tendonitis. Although we do encourage some light exercise or cross training, we cannot ask the athlete to compete at one hundred percent 24/7/365. The body would break down and lead to a short career, if any career at all.
Student-athletes become overwhelmed and exhausted while trying to balance school, sport and life, which is expected. They are pushed harder, pushed longer, and pushed more often. If an athletes is not aware of the tools to keep themselves sharp and healthy, this exhaustion can take its toll and lead to frustration, loss of focus and drive, or even end in injury. To help avoid stretching oneself too thin and to successfully get through the long days of school and practices ahead, read the tips below. Good luck!
Rest when rest is given! If you are given a 5 minute water break, sit down in the shade and take advantage of this time. Your body will recover best if you give it complete mental and physical relaxation. This goes for your time away from practice as well. During the mornings and evenings, if it is possible, kick back and relax. Use this valuable down time for your body to repair itself from last session, and prepare itself for the next.
Take care of those sore muscles! As you beat yourself up day after day in practice, your body will do what it can to repair itself on its own, but it needs you to do your part to help. Throw some ice on your achy joints for 20 minutes. Stretch out those sore muscles for 30 seconds. Any way you can help yourself recover, do it!
Nutrition is key! Your body performs best if it is given the proper fuel. Make sure you eat and drink enough to satisfy your hunger and replenish what has been used up, but do not consume too much. Make sure you are eating the right foods, not drinking soda and eating fruit snacks all day because it is easy. Take the extra time in the mornings and evenings to prepare food that will provide you with energy. Good foods include: pastas, meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains.. Real, unprocessed foods.. Sound familiar??
Eight hours is best! Much of your recovery happens when you are sleeping. Do not run your engine at 100% all day and night. Tuck yourself in early at night and let your body get complete rest for at least eight hours a night. You will wake up feeling more refreshed, both mentally and physically, and ready to hit the field/court/pool with guns blazing.