It’s about that time again when athletes are near a peak in Track and Field. Ideally the hard work in GPP is rewarded with higher views on the podium and records being rewritten. More than ever I am seeing problems with athletes in taper because the GPP was spoiled by long times off for vacation (Daniel Andrews), inconsistent training because of extracurricular activities, and bad lifestyles. You honestly reap what you sow and over the years I have seen school records, state records, All-American status, work because I demanded adjustments in the offseason. Here are some tips to getting better for next year if one didn’t reap much because they didn’t sow much:
Finish your rehabilitation completely while training- I always see athletes come in hurt before the season starts and dig themselves into holes. We see this at the HS level all the time, since many other sports allow athletes to make contributions because the sport is not absolute. When athletes stop training the injury is not healed but the symptoms just stop. I like some general fitness to be done so we can see if the rehab actually works. I don’t like waiting to test drive the repair mid competition as then it’s too late to fix things. If you come in healthy you have a chance to get better.
Get leaner and or stronger in the offseason- Are you better after the summer than last? How many times do we see seniors move on to post college or post high school mentally (senioritis) and do actually less than the previous year but demand to leave the sport on top? If the athlete isn’t leaner they worked out too little or ate too much junk. While we are responsible for bodies we can’t make people do the extra work needed. I like athletes to do local state championships in the summer with less competition for those that are a bit on the lazy side. This way they can be found accountable as offseason workouts tend to be warm-ups and fooling around without the coach. With the power of the internet they can’t escape the watch or tape.
Sacrifice- People want to buy or try but not give up something. So many parents drive me nuts as they think kids will get better from camps and clinics overnight. I always use the garden analogy to show that living organisms need time to grow. Humans are not robots and can’t be made overnight. I ask for three things to give up (sometimes souls if they owe me) because that usually leads them to a balance schedule. We all want to be champions in the classroom, go out with friends, speak two languages, do a club sport, and do community service while releasing a rap album. My point is that parents and kids think they can do it all and you only have a finite amount of time and energy. I have a rule of one sport a season, one art, and one free choice. Notice that social time doesn’t exist because 9 times out of 10 they are hanging out with their friends and it’s in choice activities. The next rule is the 24 hour time pyramid- 8 hours of sleep, 6 hours of school, 4 hours of study, 3 hours of sport, one hour social. The time pyramid from the days of regeneration lab is my lantern and it works. Those that try to do more end up failing and become mediocre unless they are super talented. 99% of us can’t do that.