The final whistle has blown. The last game has been played. It’s officially the offseas on and your packed schedule of practices, matches, and tournaments is free.With such an opportunity in front of you, you may ask yourself the same question most offseason athletes do: What now?
Although you’re free of games and competitions, offseason isn’t all rest and relaxation. Many of us know from experience –it’s easier to stay in shape than get back into it. Offseason is a prime time to train with intent and increase your potential as an athlete. It’s also just as important to use this time to prevent injuries or becoming burned out.
These four tips can help you stay motivated during offseason and help improve your performance for next season.
1. Physical and Mental Rest
One of the most important aspects of the offseason is to give your mind and body a break from the grind of the season. Take time to recover. Whether you’re a high school athlete or a professional, pushing too hard for too long can lead to injury. Even if you’re able to avoid getting physically exhausted, there is still the mental stress to manage. Burn out happens when you play the same sport for too long and eventually lose interest. Resting helps lower the risk of injury and relieve much of the mental strain of the regular season.
2. Set SMART Goals
A key factor in staying motivated during the offseason is setting SMART goals. Not only does it create accountability, these goals also give you something to strive for –a reason to continue training. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Trackable. Specific makes your goals clear and help answer who, what, where, when, and why.Measurablehelps you track your progress.
- Achievable keeps your goals realistic and within reach.
- Rewardingmeans it’s important and matters to you.
- Timeboundmeans you have a timetable and deadline to work towards.
3. Create a Schedule of Success
These SMART goals need a place to live. A schedule or a calendar is a great place to put your daily, weekly, even monthly goals. And keep it in a visible place to remind you of what you want out of your offseason. Then, when you accomplish one of those goals, it is very rewarding to take a pen and cross it off the list.
4. Switch Up the Routine
A wonderful way to prevent burnout and decrease the likelihood of injury is to switch up your normal routine. Offseason is the opportunity to really develop strength in parts of your body that are less used while caring for and maintaining the parts that have been overtaxed. Then, as your season nears, slowly bring your focus back to your sport-specific exercises. This helps you be ready to go with some newfound strengths.
Staying motivated during the offseason can be a difficult mindset to maintain, but these four tips can help you stay engaged and improve for next year. Use the time to get some purposeful rest, set S.M.A.R.T. goals, have a scheduled plan, and break up the monotony with a different routine. Now when the new season begins, you’ll be at the top of your game and ready to go!