Spring and summer are fast approaching and for some of athletes, the sports season will be in full swing, while for others, this is the offseason. This is a time to improve on weaknesses and start to feel fresh, recovered, and rejuvenated. So what should you be doing during your off-season to help facilitate an even better season next year?

I've written my top tips for you to share with your kids below!

1. Take time off

Your body needs to heal and recover. Even though you are young, and your mom and dad say you have endless amounts of energy, you need to recover more than anyone. You need to prioritize your sleep, hydration, and nutrition, to ensure that you are feeling fresh and ready to go for your next season.

  • Sleep at least 8-10 hours.
  • Eat as many whole foods as possible (fruits, vegetables, lean proteins)
  • Drink as much water as you can (especially out of a reusable bottle, because saving the environment is cool!)

Combining these three actions into your summertime routine will guarantee that you are fresh and ready to go for your fall tryouts and winter season.  Going all out, 365 days of the year can lead to overuse injuries, and burnout. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

2. Play a different sport

You hear all the time about how some of the greatest athletes played multiple sports growing up. Wayne Gretzky played every sport he could growing up. LeBron James played basketball and football all through high school. Michael Jordan played baseball and basketball.

As you can see, the GOATs played different sports all throughout their youth.

No, you won’t “get worse” or fall behind your peers in your favourite sport. You will more than likely train other parts of your body that you don’t use in your primary sport. Maybe you will even gain a different perspective for your primary sport to make you even better!

Both research and professional sports leagues show us the importance of multi-sport athletes. Almost all Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD) encourage this, and point to data for reasonings. There are also lots of pros playing a multitude of sports. Google your favourite athlete, and I am willing to bet more often than not they have played more than one sport. 

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3. Hit the gym

I (as a performance coach!) may be a little biased in saying this, but I think the best thing that you can do as a youth athlete is figure out how to move and move well. This involves getting faster, and stronger, bigger, and more importantly, figure out how your body performs within a certain space. 

This can be done by finding a strength and conditioning coach in the area that has a reputation with working with high quality athletes. They understand the basic movement patterns, and they will be able to help you succeed by getting you physically ready for the demands of your sport.

Strength and conditioning, coupled with injury prevention are two of the biggest bonuses to hitting the gym this summer. The bigger, stronger and faster that you can be, the more dominant you will be in your sport. Secondly, the more likely that you are to stay off of the sidelines with an injury, means the more time that you can spend playing and practicing to hone your skills. I go into more detail about training for tryouts here. 

BONUS – Play outside

On top of these three things, I think it is important for young athletes to not forget to be kids this summer. Play with your friends. Stay out late. Ride your bike. Go swim at the local pool. Go camping. Anything and everything that you can do to be active outside, will help you feel better moving into the next year for you.

Thanks again for taking a look at my thoughts! Stay learning, and stay winning!

Braden