For most athletics, competition is not a year-round job. The vast majority of student-athletes will have at least one semester a year that is considered to be an off-season. However, despite the misleading nature of the name, the off-season is certainly not “off,” and requires individual training and focus to ensure that the athlete will be ready to compete.
Right now, football and volleyball are two of the sports that are stuck in the awkward in-between time. For football, the regular season lasts from late August or early September with scrimmages, and can run anywhere from early November to mid-December, depending on how far the team progresses in the NCAA championship bracket. While team practices start in early August, going from December until then is still a long time, and would seem to leave the players ripe to become out of shape or unmotivated. Some athletes offset this effect by training more intensely than before, trying to be as fit as possible come regular season.
“A strong training regimen is everything when preparing for an upcoming season. Unless you train like you’re in a game and giving max effort on every rep you’re not preparing for the season. In addition, you can never overtrain in my opinion so multiple workouts a day are what I like,” said first-year Michael Goodwin.
For many teams, keeping all team members motivated, focused and together is a challenge during the offseason. Due to NCAA regulations, the burden of staying healthy and focused falls primarily, if not entirely, on the players themselves, which can be hard to manage with academic duties. Luckily, the Trinity football team has found ways to work around this offseason slump, by ensuring that they continue to spend time together and train together during the offseason.
“Motivation does not lack as it might seem,” said junior William Rutan. “Having some sort of event everyday with the team, whether it is a lift, practice or meeting keeps the competition level high and always drive me to be better.”
The off-season can also serve as a good time to reflect on the competition season to see what went well and what went wrong. It can also give athletes a good time to get a mental break from the stresses of balancing practices, games and school, which can allow them to be more objective and emotionally detached from the results of the previous season. Many athletes find this break allows them to look forward even more to the season ahead, and set some early goals for what they wish to accomplish.
“Of course a goal for us was to win regionals as well, but I now think regardless of what happened there we have a lot to be proud of. We had a successful season,” said junior Kirby Smith. “I think since we will have our whole team back except Erika, we have a great shot at going further in the tournament than we did this year. We will be focusing on being an even better team than we were this year. We will have lots of experience and confidence. And I think everyone is looking forward to winning another conference championship.”