Avoiding the Off-Season Blues

This off-season has flown by faster than any during my career to date. I’m not sure if it’s the new position I’m in at my school, if it’s the luxury of adding a high quality assistant coach that can take over the weight room portion, or that we’re semi-established with 33 players (15 this time last year) in year two, but I’m not half as burned out in early April as I was 12 months ago. And while it’s important to keep assistants fresh and motivated, it’s even more important to keep the light under the players.

In our program we try to keep things simple, routine, and regimented. I’m a dog of habit. I take the same roads to work daily, have the same morning routine, and love that the cafeteria has french toast sticks every single Thursday like clock work. However, our players enjoy a little sporadic mix-up to the routine… although they know their dynamic stretch will never change.

Normally, we break things down like this:

Monday: upper body/plyos (tire flips, ladders, bags, jump ropes, box jumps)

Tuesday: lower body/speed (long strides, interval training, take-offs, 40’s, parachutes)

Thursday: mixed/form running (slow warm up, step-ups, low hurdles, ladders, plyos)

At the end of every month we will have a ‘test’ day where we rep a tough but manageable number for as many reps as we can get. We only 2-rep max the last test day in April. I’ve incorporated a yoga class after testing to stretch the boys back out and give them something new to experience. Yoga was one of the best ideas I had in college and I can still palm the ground to this day (it’s been 7 or 8 years).

A few other ideas to mix things up are wiffle ball, indoor soccer or basketball instead of the regular field work, and it never hurts to play along with the boys giving them that sense that you are human. Some days in the weight room we won’t use weights at all and instead will do an entire work out with just body weight but at an insane volume: ex. 100 air squats, 100 burpees, 100 push-ups, 100 crunches for time- and the best team gets Gatorade after practice.

Honestly, anything to give the guys some change without missing a workout day will go a long way to keeping the players and coaches sane in the off-season.

Dottavio.

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