For many players, the season will not be drawing to a close, with some already looking forward to some much-needed time off. However, it is important to not throw away all of the hard work in which you have put in throughout the campaign, with the following tips having been put forward in order to help players maintain their fitness levels during the off season.
The summer months are undoubtedly the perfect time to allow the body to recover, whether it be from minor injuries or simply from the hardship in which you have put it through during the year. Meanwhile, scientifically and psychologically speaking, the endocrine system must be allowed to rest, with this being in charge of producing hormones which regulate sleep and mood. Reducing workload can help to aid recovery, whilst the following factors must also be taken into consideration:
Use It or Lose It
As we have briefly already alluded to, there is no point in throwing away all the hard work in which you have already done by becoming a couch potato and eating everything under the sun. The end of the season should certainly be a time to unwind, however those who do not stay active so some extent will quickly feel the difference in terms of their fitness. This is because just one week of complete rest is enough for aerobic fitness levels to drop by 5%, showing just how important it is to stay active. As well as this, your strength and speed will also rapidly decline, so be sure to keep up some form of exercise during the off season.
Kick-starting your off season with less strenuous exercises is recommended, rather than going gung-ho to quickly. Lighter activities help to engage the mind and body at a similar rate, preparing both for the more difficult tasks that lie ahead. Returning to your club having already put in a huge amount of work will only increase the probability of burning out at some point during the season.
It is also essential to stay hydrated whilst both recovering and exercising during the off season, whilst also limiting sugar intake. As well as this, fueling your body with good sources of protein will help to ensure that you maintain muscle. Diet is hugely important, with the bodies natural instinct of burning calories slowing during rest periods, meaning that calorie intake should match your activity levels. On a similar note, be sure to get enough sleep during this period, as this is another vital step in the recovery process.
Continue to Work Hard
The off season is a time to work smart, rather than necessarily going crazy with your workouts. Doing so will result in fewer injuries during the early part of the upcoming campaign, whilst muscle tiredness can also be reduced by giving your body sufficient time to recover between sessions. Those who stick to some form of exercise regime over the summer months are likely to be the ones who perform well when it comes to pre-season fitness tests, which as we all know can be unbearable at any level.
For youngsters, sport should really only be about one word, fun! However, ensuring that organised physical activity is enjoyable is easier said than done, with everyone having different personalities and needs in this area. So, just how can coaches ensure that they consistently put on engaging sessions?