Many teams across the country have completed their seasons. I've received hundreds of emails, Tweets, and Facebook messages asking me to outline the offseason and how much time they should take off before they resume training.
So this is the first in a series of posts to help you plan your offseason strength and conditioning program.
Players need to take one to two full weeks off after their last game. This is non-negotiable. They must rest their minds and their bodies. They need to spend quality time with family and friends. They need to make sure their academics are on point. They need to get extra sleep. They need to eat well. They need to kick back, relax, and enjoy being young! High school and college will be over in the blink of an eye; they shouldn't take this time for granted. They need to enjoy the journey.
This rest period includes all structured physical activity—no strength training and no basketball workouts or pick-up games. I am not advocating lying around on the couch eating chips and drinking soda. They can and should be active, just not from structured workout standpoint.
This concept is usually hard to grasp for players, coaches, and parents, because they've been misinformed and believe that taking a couple of weeks off will cause them to regress. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, this mental and physical break is the best thing they can do for their mental sanity and physical progress. Trust me.
Players need to properly address any nagging injuries they experienced during the season. They shouldn't ignore sore ankles, sore knees, and sore backs. If these issues don't go away after two weeks of rest, they need to see a medical professional (an athletic trainer or physical therapist).
The only structured physical activity I would allow during this recovery phase would be some active stretching and mobility type movements like the ones in this Yoga for Basketball video:
Doing this type of thing a couple of times per week will help the recovery process.
Players and coaches should take 10 minutes every day during this two week period and sit comfortably in total silence—no phones, no computers, no music, and no TV. They need to close their eyes and reflect on this past season. If it was a successful season, they should take time to feel good about what they accomplished and pin-point what made it such an impressive year.
If it was a rough season, they need to use it as a learning experience to get better. They need to reflect on the challenges they faced and brainstorm ways to handle those issues in the future. Remember, from every adversity comes opportunity.
This 10 minute reflection period will help fuel a productive offseason.
Next week's post will cover the second phase of the offseason: Evaluate and Plan.