Offseason could be the most important phase of an athletes preparation for the upcoming season and how this is done can impact on the upcoming season.
- The start of the offseason its remember that it is ok to take a break and help the body recover. This may mean taking some time off all together or by making sessions easier. Time off allows the body to recover, from what can be a long and draining season, so allowing the body to heal and repair is good. This is usually when I would change the program, giving the athlete something that is totally different from what we had been doing just to change things up.
- You than transition your focus back to preseason. How long will their preseason be? Find when the start of the season is and work back for your periodisation. Nothing worse than having your athlete peak too early (think Australian swim team Rio 2016). But in this stage of the offseason you are trying to put on as much muscle size (hypertrophy) as you can (that is specific for the sport). This means the athlete needs to be looking at their diet as well, you need to be fuelling the body for muscle growth or you aren’t going to get the specific needs out of it. Recovery days are required because of the volume of work you will be completing there is a high chance that you are going to cause DOMS. One thing we do at VSS is we try and keep the velocity up through hypertrophy phases and we stay away from the body builder formula of working to fatigue. Studies have shown that by working at 20% velocity loss that you are able to get almost the same muscle growth as to fatigue but you are also able to promote fast twitch muscle fibres. Whereas working to fatigue promotes slow twitch, which is what we don’t want for athletes.
- Your athlete still needs to be doing conditioning during the offseason, as it will make starting the preseason much easier on the athlete as coaches love to go to the extreme with cardio in preseason. You can do this in a various ways. One of the main ways we do it at VSS is through EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). All this entails is short burst of maximal effort usually around 10-15 seconds with the accumulation not being greater than 2mins. This is basically HIIT but done in a small amount. The body will take 24-48 hours to try and recover from the oxygen deficiency helping to improve the aerobic capacity of the athlete.
If you follow these 3 steps you should be on the right track to helping your athlete be ready for their best season yet.
Sport and Exercise Scientist
BSpExSc, ESSAM, ASCA Coach
Vision Sports Science