Preseason Preperation

The first Friday in March is the start of the preseason for High School spring sports.

It brings new life and excitement for those athletes who have been cooped up inside all winter, training hard and waiting for this day to come.
The spring season signifies the start of warmer weather, and longer days with more sunshine.
It also signifies the start of a new schedule and routine for athletes.
How an athlete transitions from the offseason to the preseason, and eventually into the regular season is imperative for their success.
Factors such as nutrition timing, practice schedule, changing weather, and the physical demands of playing the sport itself are all potential areas that if neglected, can lead to negative consequences later in the season.
As a former spring athlete myself who played baseball through college, I understand all of these demands very well.
In fact my own career was cut short due to mounting injuries that were most certainly made worse due to my own preseason preparation.

How should an athlete prepare for the preseason?

1) Keep a schedule

When a new season starts, so does a new schedule. The new spring schedule can make major changes in an athlete’s preparation and routine. The timing for when an athlete eats, sleeps, goes to practice, and does homework will all be effected by their new schedule. It is important to plan ahead and know what is coming up. Keeping a detailed schedule will give the athlete the best opportunity to maximize their time. Disorganization will lead to a lack of preparedness. When one area of life starts to slip, it creates a trickle down affect to other areas. If an athlete truly wants to make the most of their preseason, they should keep a detailed schedule of the week so that they can organize all of their tasks. This will help them not miss a snack before practice, or a homework assignment because they forgot they had a practice that day. One of my favorite schedulers, and the one that I personally use, is the Intention Journal by Brandon Turner.

2) Dress the part

The spring season brings the excitement and hope of warm weather. Unfortunately, if you live in a climate like we do here in the Northeast, warm weather is oftentimes just a warm after-thought. Early spring can be one of the most unpredictable times of the year in regards to the weather. It can be beautiful, sunny, and 60 degrees on Monday. And then get a foot of snow on Tuesday. This unpredictability in the weather can make it difficult to be prepared for practices, scrimmages, and/or games in the early spring season. Not being prepared with the proper attire can make a significant impact on how an athlete performs, and more importantly, can have an impact on injury prevention. Planning ahead, and dressing appropriately for the elements might be the difference maker of performing at a level to make the team or win the starting job position. Planning ahead for the weather might also be the difference maker of staying injury free through the entire season. It might look cool to be wearing short sleeves at practice in the middle of a snow storm, but it won’t look cool when your wearing a sling on your arm in that same short sleeve shirt two months later, because you didn’t prepare for the weather during the preseason.

3) Snack like a pro

One of the biggest issues that High School athletes face is eating the right foods, at the right time. Proper nutrition is vital to performing to their highest potential both on the field, and in the classroom. Oftentimes just eating at all can be challenging with their busy schedules. This is where proper planning of snacks can make or break an athlete’s results. Eating low maintenance snacks that are also nutritious such as fruit and nuts should be a staple for every High School athlete. These types of snacks can be thrown in their backpack or gym bag, and can be easily consumed on the go between classes, or before practice. Using supplements such as a protein shakes or bars can also be a great go to for a quick, but healthy snack. We like to call supplements like these the “fast food” for athletes. They are quick, easy, cheap, and get the job done. They generally aren’t filled with a ton of nutrition, however they are usually a much better choice of a snack while on the go.