Off-Season Training

When athletes are in season, they are always in competition shape; but, how do these athletes stay in shape over the off-season? We interviewed 4 athletes about their off-season training and what they do to improve their game. 

Blake Salbilla runs track and cross country. Salbilla says the off-season can be, “honestly sometimes more important than the main season because you need the time to build up miles in your legs, so when you taper at the end of the season, it feels a lot better”. He says that he runs about 30-40 miles a week during the season and around 50 miles a week during the off-season, which is a “big difference” according to Salbilla.

 Emily Ovaska, a sophomore on varsity softball, agrees with Salbilla, she says that the off-season is the best time to “pass up other competitors” in skill level. She says, “I’m building a batting cage in my backyard this summer, so I can practice my batting whenever I want. She says this really helps during the season because she is ahead of everyone else”. 

Brendan Ward, a sophomore basketball player, takes a similar route. He says, “I get a personal trainer to work on my ball handling [skills] and conditioning,” which, he says, really helps him get ahead during the season. 

When it comes to off-season, rest and recovery play just as big of a role as training. Junior Erik Stover, an outside hitter for the Lakes boys varsity volleyball team, agrees. He says that, “After every big tournament I make sure to ice my joints, and sometimes take an epsom salt bath because that’s nice, occasionally at stupid hot and occasionally at freezing cold because extremes are best”. Making sure your body is ready to go and be able to play at the highest level can be a huge contributor to athletes’ performances not only mentally, but physically as well. 

Continuing the trend of ice baths, Salbilla likes to follow suit. Salbilla says that “ On really hot days or days where I am really working, I’ll take an Ice bath.” Salbilla also adds, “I do warm-up and cool-down runs, and then after the cool-down run, I ice and stretch.” 

While the offseason typically means you do not compete, athletes have found clubs that they play for when they can’t compete for the school. 

Ward, Stover, and Ovaska all play club sports during the summer. Ward says that he plays for an AAU team called Illinois triple threat. “We have tournaments every weekend, and I get good playing time”. 

Salbilla doesn’t run with a team during the offseason, but he plans on racing a half marathon around July. “The rest of the guys typically do a Fourth of July 5k or some race during our off week of practice, so I decided I’m gonna do a half marathon”. 

The offseason is an important piece to every competitive sport and in an athlete’s mind, it’s just another opportunity to work and improve. Whether it’s competition, rigorous training, or just a relaxing ice bath, off-season activities help athletes learn and grow into what they are today.