Managing the Off-season

For many recreational leagues in Oregon the winter brings the off-season and with that comes many opportunities and threats for participating in sport in 2023. The opportunities are that with no weekend competitive sport and potentially mid-week training, you now have the time and physical capacity to put it the specialized work for next season. This may be rehabilitation themed if the 2022 season has been limited by injury, or this may be an opportunity to work on some acceleration, agility, strength, power among a myriad of other opportunities.

Here is the threat! The offseason for a lot of us despite our best intentions means a significant reduction in activity (or chronic load). The graph below from Tim Gabbett’s 2020 paper (Debunking the Myths About Training Load, Injury and Performance: Empirical Evidence, Hot Topics and Recommendations for Practitioners) illustrates the dangers of letting our chronic load drop in preparation for the next season.

This graph is a nice illustration to show that if your brief post season rest (which is well deserved and recommended) becomes multiple weeks or months, then we are significantly increasing our risk of injury next season. Craig Purdham 2015 paper for the Australian Instititue of Sport estimated that 4 weeks of little to no activity would take around 6 weeks of training to mitigate the increased risk of injury. Where continuing to train at 80% of previous workload for the same period would take around 1 week to mitigate the same risk.

Look at your offseason as an opportunity! Take care of your body, try new activities but have a plan so you do not roll into your next season underprepared

Nathan Evans MSPT, CSCS, XPS.

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