Off-sea-son: A time of year when a particular activity, typically a sport, is not engaged in.
Now that we have managed to clear up what an offseason is. Lets look at it in the context of youth sports. Most summer leagues for middle school players ends around June/July and high school players normally end summer ball around July/August.
However most of these players will join fall leagues if they live in the north until the end of September or if they live in the south their season may continue longer.
My mind was blown this October when I had already started offseason lifting with my pro group, but still had to keep 90 percent of my high school players on in-season programs. This made me ask the question "Why are professional athletes getting more physical and skill development time then our youth?"
My second thought after reviewing my players schedule was; "why is one of the most scouted tournament of the year in October?".
I had two pitchers who I had started offseason programs with and who had been shut down for three weeks have to ramp up and prepare to pitch again at the last minute because they were picked up to throw in October at a heavily scouted tournament.
How many professional pitchers are pitching in mid to late October? Not as many as there are high school pitchers!
Players and more specifically pitchers need to sit down and map out their year. It's pretty easy to do and will decrease your risk of injury and help your overall development. Just ask these simple questions:
What events/camps do I want to attend?
How many pitches might I throw at the events/camps?
When and do I need to do any instructional work?
When I will I start throwing with intent?
When is my first game of the year?
How long of a layoff do I have between high school and summer baseball?
Will my coaches use me differently between high school and summer baseball?
How many pitches did I throw during the high school season?
How many pitches did I throw during the summer ball season?
When was the last time I threw with intent?
When will I have time to rest, recover, and physically develop?
My mind started to wonder on this topic when I started meeting with a few out of town pitchers that live up north. Both are division one baseball commits to big schools , and both have the prospect of being drafted The shocking part to me was both of them said they always shut it down at the end of August.
My advice is baseball is one of the few sports where if you are good they will find you! Players need to realize that the one extra camp or one extra showcase may be doing more harm then good. All we need to do is look a the waiting room at any orthopedic clinic to see the harm.
I am sure we can apply this same knowledge and thoughts to almost all youth sports as the pressure to play year round and get scholarships is greater than ever.
Kevin Hollabaugh, MHA, CSCS, USAW, FMSC, CSAC