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Off Season to In Season: Making the Transition

Are you stronger, faster, better than you were at this time last year?

With your spring and summer seasons (in season) just around the corner, it’s time to step back and honestly evaluate the results of your off season work and make good use of the pre-season to prepare yourself for game conditions. The transition should not be that difficult if you spent the off season pushing the envelope to make yourself a better athlete.

As we have discussed in previous video posts, the off-season, short as it may be, is a great time to detach yourself from any game related results (no umpires, no scoreboards) and “let it all hang out” developmentally.  If you have done that successfully, you should be faster, stronger, more explosive, and more confident.

Now we need to transition back to game conditions, hopefully without diminishing any of the gains we have realized over the past few months.  Nothing will get an athlete ready to perform in games better than playing games. Getting into game shape, however, takes  intelligence, patience and hard work.

The pre-season bridges the gap between off-season and competition.  Exercise patience with a well constructed approach to preparation and that bridge will be fast and smooth.

Here are some tips to making a seamless transition:

  • Cut back on heavy lifting and focus more on maintenance and flexibility.  Injury prevention is now of paramount importance.
  • Be nutritionally sound and aware.  You are literally what you eat.  How you fuel your body will determine, to a great extent, how you will perform and recover during and after your practices, and ultimately, your games.
  • Any excess pounds you have put on in the off season should be shed slowly and intelligently through proper nutrition and exercise, not though “binge dieting.”  If it took three months to gain the weight, it should take at least half that length of time to lose it.
  • Put some extra time into stamina building exercise such as lighter circuit weight training or “intervals” (30 minutes of running with several bursts of higher paced running mixed in).
  • Work on perfecting what you already know rather than learning something new.  The off season is for learning new skills while the pre-season is for honing the existing skills.  We never  want to close ourselves off to learning new things, but when the time to prepare for competition is limited, your focus should be on making certain that your current skills are at their highest level.   I would rather see my pitchers have complete command of two pitches than inconsistent command of four.  Use next off season to command a new pitch or other new skills.

If your approach to the pre-season is one of patience and intelligence, your transition to competitive play will be a breeze.  Good luck to you all.

 

 

 

About the author

Phil

Phil Schonberg is a co-founder of Fastpitch Power, inc. He teaches all aspects of fastptich softball, specializing in windmill pitching and coaches' training.

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