Pre-season training & off-season rest are two powerful strategies proven to have significant benefits to your in-season performance.
It is Olympic month, and here at Allsports Physio, we are very excited! We are dedicating this months blog posts to all things sports. Kicking off our sports-themed month is an in-depth look at the importance of pre-season & off-season training and how to get the most of them with the help of your local Allsports physio.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a professional athlete or are working towards reaching that next level, devoting your time, body and energy to a sport means you want to be getting the best results for yourself and your team. Pre-season training and off-season rest are two powerful strategies that are proven to have significant benefits to your in-season performance – yet many aren’t aware of how important these strategies are or the difference they make.
To help you have your most successful season yet, our Allsports Physio team are guiding you through the why’s, how’s and when’s of pre-season training and off-season rest – and why these strategies may be your new not-so-secret weapon.
What is it?
Pre-season training is the training you complete, following a regular schedule, in the months leading up to your sports’ season. Pre-season training strengthens your fitness foundations and helps renew and enhance your technical abilities in your chosen sport. It involves training specific to the skills and technique your sport demands, as well as improving your general fitness and endurance. Pre-season training is performed and greatly valued by professional Australian athletes, providing improved performance in sports like elite Australian football.
Why It’s Important
After some well-deserved downtime to rest and recharge in the off-season, pre-season training helps you move towards peak fitness for the season ahead so that you start the season performing at your very best, instead of reaching your peak halfway through. Pre-season training:
- Prepares and conditions your body so that your initial games or competitions don’t feel as hard or as exhausting
- Ensures you have the strength and flexibility where you need it, ready to go
- Gives you time to actively work on your weaknesses to start the season at your strongest
- Gives you the time and space to refine your techniques, instead of reverting back to less healthy habits and techniques
Importantly, by properly physically preparing your body, pre-season training can also help you prevent injuries which may otherwise see you sit out part or all of the season – and save you a lot of time, energy and frustration on rehab. If problems or pains do arise, you will have time to address and recover before they impact on your season. You can also take time in your pre-season to reflect on what went wrong last season – what niggles, pains or other inconveniences you experienced, and make a plan on how to prevent them for the coming season.
How To Do It
Approximately twelve weeks out from the start of your season, begin your regular pre-season training program – and stick to it closely – don’t miss weeks on end. Your program should be both diverse in activities yet specific to your sport, and should cover elements of strength, endurance, speed, agility, power, flexibility, balance and technical skills.
Training should be effective with clear goals, without causing you to overdo it in your pre-season. This delicate balance is something that your physio will help you achieve when creating your structured program. At Allsports Physiotherapy, we combine the demands of your sport with the results of your comprehensive assessment to understand which areas you’ll benefit from addressing the most. To book in with experienced physiotherapists for individual or team programs for pre-season training, click here to find your local Allsports clinic.
What is it?
The off-season is the period following the end of a sporting season where the goal is to rest, recover and reset. It doesn’t mean complete inactivity – but it does mean a break from intense, scheduled training, shifting instead to exercising for pleasure and enjoyment – like taking a casual cycle, swim or run – without timers or paces to keep and beat.
Why It’s Important
Sporting seasons are intense and are very demanding on your body, both physically and mentally. Off seasons are important because they allow your body time to heal, repair and effectively recover from injury – something you may not have been able to do for the long sporting months prior. Strong, healthy muscles and joints can better resist forces that prevent future injuries, too.
While our bodies may be quick to tell us when we need physical rest after fatigue, mental exhaustion may be more difficult to detect – but just as important. Many athletes may feel mentally burnt out from rigorous training, and often this occurs before any physical burn-out symptoms. Mental rest is considered critical to help sustain high performance in sports during the on-season. It helps us learn and retain important skills in sport while promoting expertise development. This is an ideal time to reflect on the previous season, set new goals, and prepare for the rest of the year ahead.
How To Do It
Start with a short period of complete rest. Next, reintroduce physical activity, but take a firm step back from your primary sport and look at physical activity as a fun, enjoyable activity that you want to do – not that you have to. Try new activities. Take it easy – don’t exert yourself past a ‘moderate’ difficulty. Refrain from any activities that closely resemble your on-season training. Work with a physiotherapist to identify areas of injury or deficiency so that you can recover properly and be at your best come the next season. They’ll also help guide you on what you can be doing to help with your pre-season training when the time comes.
If you’re struggling to ‘switch off’, remember – taking this much-needed break can be your key to improving your performance and helping you become a better athlete or player.
Want The Most Out Of Your Training?
Our physiotherapists work extensively with players of all ages and activity levels that want to make the most of every season – but don’t know where to start. If you want to perform better, stay injury-free or rehabilitate existing problems using evidence-based treatments, the Allsports team is here to help. Click here to find your local Allsports clinic.