Whether a kid plays football or runs track, effective training doesn’t stop when the season does — because it’s actually what players do in the offseason months that can make all the difference in how they perform. So how do you help players stay motivated when there are no more practice times and games to train for in the immediate future? What can you do to help your child or your team members stay fit and motivated year-round? To help answer these questions, here are some key tips for encouraging your competitive athlete to keep training in the offseason.
1. Train with a Buddy: Everything’s more fun with a friend — and that’s as true of offseason training as it is of anything else. So one great way to keep kids motivated to practice and work out is by letting them do it with buddies. Whether it’s a teammate, an older sibling, a friend or yourself, a partner can make workouts far more enjoyable, which helps athletes want to keep doing them.
2. Share a Trainer among a Group: Just like coaches, personal trainers can help players push to the next levels of fitness and strength. Find one trainer to share among a group of kids in order to give many players the benefits of individualized attention and encouragement. What’s more, you encourage a sense of community and accountability by letting kids work out together in a group.
3. Provide an Environment in Which to Train: Regular training is much easier when a player has a place to do it in — so whether that’s in the backyard in warm months or in a local gym or fitness center, provide your athlete with a good environment in which to train. Take proper safety precautions for that environment, too, from equipment the player wears to portable indoor/outdoor padding to insulate kids from injury.
4. Set Specific Strength/Conditioning Goals: When a player sets specific training goals during the offseason months, it’s much easier for him or her to stay motivated to keep reaching to complete those tasks. So give a player weekly tasks to complete or strength metrics to attain in order to help him or her see a reason to keep working hard. To make it even more motivating, include incentives that reward players for meeting their goals.
5. Stay Connected with the Team: It’s all too easy for players to go home for the summer and forget all about practicing for their sports — unless, that is, they’re still in regular contact with their teammates. Nowadays it’s easier than ever for teams to stay in touch even in offseason months. Whether through regular emails from the coach or an online forum/website where players can check in to track goals, communicating regularly keeps everyone connected.
6. Cross Train: In order to keep training fun and fresh, players can try cross training. Instead of just swimming laps all summer, a competitive swimmer might try cardio workouts or ballgames with friends. Anything that keeps athletes active and conditioned can be a boost to their performance when the season starts again.
Young athletes can make the most of the offseason by continuing to work out and stay fit even in the other months — and parents and coaches can help those athletes stay motivated by following the tips above. By using the offseason months to train, players gain a valuable leg up over the competition when the season starts up again!
Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director of CoverSports, an American manufacturer of turf protectors and other covers for athletic surfaces with roots tracing back to 1874.