Even professional athletes need a break now and again to rest tired muscles, tend to injuries, and just relax. But just because they are in the off season that doesn’t mean they abandon their sports for three months, and neither should your youth athlete if they are serious about being in top form when their sport starts up next season. Depending on the level of competition your youth athlete is playing at, staying fit during the off season might be required by their coach to ensure that everyone is game ready as soon as possible.
Here are a few ways you can help keep your youth athlete fit during the off season:
1. Think playing, not training.
If your youth athlete is involved in a winter sport, chances are they don’t want to spend their summer indoors running on treadmill. Turn their off-season workouts into a social activity and make it fun! Why not suggest a game of Ultimate Frisbee to work on speed and agility, rock climbing to build upper body strength or a bike ride for a great cardio workout. By making their off season conditioning fun, it’s much easier for youth athletes to stay active.
2. Focus on improving a certain skill.
Once the season kicks into high gear, your youth athlete may not get as much time at practice as they need to perfect a certain skill. The off season is their time to focus on improving their own game, without worrying about how their performance will impact their team. The off season is a great time to put in hours at the batting cages, shoot an extra 50 free throws or work on their lateral pass.
3. Develop a nutrition plan.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps reportedly eats 12,000 calories a day during his intense training season. However, he is swimming 5 hours a day, 7 days a week and needs all the calories he can get! Chances are your youth athlete doesn’t need quite the same amount of calories, even at the peak of their season, but sports parents should remember how their players eating habits need to change once they get into the off season. Since they aren’t working out as often, it might be necessary to adjust their eating habits so they are getting the right nutrition for their workout intensity.