Every elite athlete, no matter the sport, needs to take some time off every year to recover. But what should you do during the off-season to be highly competitive the following season?
Initially, you recover and regenerate for a few weeks; heal all injuries and recharge the batteries (mentally and physically). Don't jump right away into heavy training if at all possible. Give yourself some time off. If you resume serious training too quickly or too early, you're more likely to burn out down the road.
Back to Basics
Work on the fundamentals - mostly hitting and pitching. These two critical skills need a lot of work and take time to learn, refine and master. It's time to fix some faulty mechanics, learn new pitches, or change your technique. Once the season starts, it's too late to change or learn anything.
Survival of the Fittest
Get in great softball shape. After a few weeks off, pick up some dumbbells and make sure you start preparing your body for next season. Your goal is to get stronger, faster, more explosive, more flexible, develop more stamina and prevent injuries. In today's world, being in shape to play is not an option anymore. It's the standard if you want to compete at the highest level.
Movin' and Groovin'
Get more functional - look and move more like an athlete. Getting more athletic and functional is, in big part done through sport-specific conditioning but it's done through improving the little things like your basic posture, your overall body flexibility, working on your muscular imbalances and so on. The best thing is to seek the help of a trainer or therapist that could do a functional assessment to determine what you need to improve in your order to get your body aligned and functioning properly.
Marc O. Dagenais, MHK, CSCS, ChPC is a softball peak performance coach. He works with softball players to help them turn their athletic talent into extraordinary performances and he consults with coaches on how they can get more out of their players, turn their struggling team around or get an edge over their opponents. To reach him or get more free softball tips, visit his website at www.softballperformance.com.