“Success isn’t owned, it is leased. And, rent is due every day.” – J.J. Watt
Don’t let the allure of school ending, combined with dreams of warm weather, beach days, and summer fun, obstruct your path to maximizing your athletic successes! It has been quite some time since I was a high school athlete (almost 23 full years, to be exact); however, I vividly remember how the transition from the cold and wet weather associated with a typically early spring in Connecticut to the absolutely beautiful weather of May and June made attending off-season workout MUCH more challenging than doing so during the winter months.
“It’s not where you start – it’s where you finish that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
Offseason workouts, in particular, workouts that took place during the late spring and summer months were always a challenge for me as a teen/young adult. Reflecting on my time as an athlete; on the decisions I made (or didn’t make) and the actions I took (or didn’t take), I can honestly say that I did NOT take full advantage of the late spring and summer offseason workouts. There was always an internal battle between spring and summer baseball, my summer job, my social life, and strength and conditioning training; and, far too often, the loser of that battle was strength and conditioning.
No Turning Back the Clock
While I would love to go back and do it all over again, doing so is not an option. As a long-retired 40 year old former athlete, the best I can do now is share some tips and recommendations learned from some of the best coaches around – coaches I have either played for or worked with since my “retirement”. This blog article is not designed to tell you what type of workouts you should be participating in – the intent is to share some general recommendations that will help you “finish the drill” and continue to build momentum towards becoming the best version of you (as an athlete).
Talk with your Coach/Coaches:
Before you embark on your rendition of workouts – talk with your coach (or coaching staff) and go through a self-evaluation with her/him/them. Share, with your coaches, what you feel are your current strengths and areas for improvement. Share your plan to maintain your strengths and to continually improve. Once you have said your piece, ask your coach for feedback (i.e. what they feel your strengths/areas for improvement are and their recommendations for spring/summer workouts). Coaches love when athletes show initiative and, by “leading off” with your own self-evaluation, you are doing just that. Show them your plan, take notes based on their recommendations, then revise your plan accordingly!
After the discussion with your coach(es), take time to outline your daily workout plan. When outlining your plan, I highly recommend building it with an element of consistency – set a consistent and predictable schedule! If you work in the mornings, block off time in the afternoon each day for your workout. If you work in the afternoons/evenings, block off a consistent time for morning workouts. Consistency and predictability are KEY! Remember, improvement requires both passion and repetition. Repetition will only come from a consistently predictable routine!
Find a Workout Partner:
In a perfect world, we would all be able to hold ourselves accountable to our own workout schedule without ever needing support for someone else. We all know that we do NOT live in a perfect world; so, to help with self-accountability, find a workout partner. Be sure to note, your workout partner should not be a “yes-man” or “yes-woman” – your partner should be someone that is comfortable giving you a kick-in-the-ass when you need it! We all have moments of weakness and a great workout partner will serve as an even better accountability partner. I would also recommend partnering up with someone that is a step or two ahead of you when it comes to your workouts.
Set Daily and Weekly Goals:
If you’ve read any of our Lead with Empower Blogs, you know that we are BIG on setting daily and weekly goals. Goal setting is a tremendous way to (1) build a system of self-accountability and (2) track progress during your journey towards improvement. I would recommend taking your goal setting exercise a step further – once you’ve formed your daily/weekly goals, share them with your workout partner and any other people in your support system to ensure that, when you need help staying on track, you have the support and accountability system in place to do so. Additionally, I recommend constantly evaluating your performance during your goal achievement journey. Check out one of our past articles for some insight into what to do when your goals are too easy or too difficult!
“But coach, my family is going on vacation for a week and I won’t be able to workout while we are gone”….
I’m going to cut right to the chase here – don’t be an excuse maker, be a solution creator!!! If the pandemic situation has taught us anything, it has taught us that there is usually (if not always) a solution to a problem that we are facing. If you’re going on vacation, first be sure that your coach(es), and your workout partner, knows (proactive and responsible – great traits for athletes) well before the actual vacation takes place. Once you have communicated the “scheduling conflict” with your coaches and workout partner, start to think of some creative ways you can stay engaged with your workout program when you are NOT at your workout facility. Don’t have a fancy track to run on – no need to fret, there are roads and fields all over the world that are perfectly suitable for speed/agility workouts (just use them safely and wisely). Don’t have access to fancy weight sets – substitute a rigorous set of body-weight exercises during your time away.
Excuses are like rear-ends, everyone has them and they stink! Being away from your workout partner and workout facility is not ideal; however, there are many “non-ideal” situations that you will encounter in your life. Practicing the art of solution-making will improve your ability to survive and thrive during any difficult situation that comes your way!