How to Deal With an Athletic Season Ending and the Beginning of an Offseason
By Derek Parola
The end of a season is a time for a coach to evaluate, reflect, and improve from the season that just happened. There are many activities a coach can do to help aid this process. One thing he or she should do is have end of the year meetings with each of their players. This meeting should consist of the player explaining how they think they did that year. What they think that they should improve on and what they think the coach or team can improve on. Once the player is finished talking then the coach should explain how they thought the player performed and what the player can improve on for the next upcoming season. This is important because the player and coach may have different views on how that player performed. By letting the player talk and feel like their opinion is valued, it creates a relationship between the player and coach. This allows the coach and player to trust one another on a deeper level. Now that this has been accomplished, the offseason can can be tackled head on.
The offseason is the least exciting time of the year for an athlete, but it is the most important time for a developing athlete. This is the time for a veteran player to get their mind and body healthy and for a developing player to increase speed, strength, and skills. The key to having a productive offseason is having a purpose each and every day that you choose to do something related to your sport. When I say the word purpose, I mean there should be a goal set every practice, rehab session, or weight room lift. An example of having a purpose at practice would be “I’m going to get better at my shot fake one dribble and shoot today” or I’m going to work on laying off breaking balls down in the zone today.” This is very productive because if you get better at something small each day, then by the end of a 150 day offseason, you are better at a lot of little things which makes you a better player overall.
Another thing the offseason allows players to do besides getting better on the field or court, is to give themselves a break from the wear and tear a long season gives to their body. My recommendation for a player that has a lot of aches and pains is to not do anything for at least 2 weeks. No lifting, practicing, or conditioning. This 2 weeks should be used to get away from the sport. This is important not only for physical health, but also mental health. This 2 week break will allow you to feel more energized and excited to get back to work when it’s over.
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