The temperature is dropping, winter break is quickly approaching and it’s youth sports off-season…now what?
While winter brings hibernation, holiday cheer, and a respite from organized sports - no games or regular practices, it is also a crucial time to maintain off-season fitness. Athletes who don’t participate in off-season training are significantly more likely to suffer in-season injuries as a result of inactivity when compared to athletes who train. Not only will staying active this holiday season maintain the physical fitness necessary for in-season sports, it can also be a great opportunity to explore new forms of exercise and help prevent sports related overuse injuries.
Research shows that overuse injuries account for an estimated 4.5 million sports-related injuries annually among youth athletes. What’s more is that these injuries can take an athlete out of their sport for months which can have lasting physical and emotional impacts.
So what does this mean for the coming wintery weeks? Encourage your athlete to try new exercises! Most importantly, plan ahead. When considering off-season exercise, athletes should focus on their goals, interests and on incorporating both strength and conditioning exercises into their workout routines. Parents and coaches can help support athletes by brainstorming exercise ideas together and creating an accountability calendar to write out a weekly training schedule. So, grab a buddy or teammate, try a Youtube yoga HIIT workout, bundle up for a chilly outdoor jog or grab a sled and head for the hills. Remember, now is the time to get creative and have fun! This will help propel athletes back into sports safely, rested and motivated from their enjoyable break.
Click here for more information about off-season training from the Mayo Clinic!
- Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. (2022, October 7). Student-athlete off-season training benefits. Illinois Bone & Joint Institute. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from https://www.ibji.com/blog/sports-medicine/student-athlete-off-season-training/
- Richard N Puzzitiello, Coleen F Rizzo, Kirsten D Garvey, Elizabeth G Matzkin, Matthew J Salzler, Early sports specialization and the incidence of lower extremity injuries in youth athletes: current concepts, Journal of ISAKOS, Volume 6, Issue 6, 2021,Pages 339-343, ISSN 2059-7754, https://doi.org/10.1136/jisakos-2019-000288.
- Sole, Christopher & Kavanaugh, Ashley & Stone, Michael. (2017). Injuries in Collegiate Women's Volleyball: A Four-Year Retrospective Analysis. Sports. 5. 10.3390/sports5020026.