No Days Off: 5 Things Every Athlete Should Do Before School Is Back in Session

Before I get down to business, I want to piggyback off of what I previously shared with you guys about playing different sports while in high school. This is a great conversation piece in light of what happened recently with the women’s USA National Team winning the World Cup of soccer. Abby Wambach, arguably the best female soccer player to have lived, actually credited her days of hooping for leading her into becoming one of the greatest headers of all time. The specific timing and jumping from rebounding and blocking shots ultimately translated (obviously) onto the soccer field. In fact, USA Today reported the team combined to participate in 14 different sports while growing up.

There is undoubtedly a growing trend of more and more young kids specializing in one sport and honing in on that from dusk ’till dawn. But for what I’ve been preaching, you can’t go wrong with trying your hand at different sports. Plus, if it worked for the USA women, I would consider it legit.

No matter what approach you take, however, every athlete needs to answer several questions before they head back to school. During the summer months, many of us get lazy and take time off. You can’t do that if you want to reach the next level. The competition is just too stiff. From finishing strong on all of your workouts to putting together a list of goals, you need to have everything in order before day one. It’ll leave your mind and body at ease.

In today’s edition of No Days Off, I’m highlighting 5 Things Every Athlete Should Do Before School Is Back in Session. Study up.

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FINISH STRONG ON YOUR WORKOUTS
Believe me, I know it’s been a long strenuous summer of sweat, sore muscles, achy bodies; I’ve truly been there. It’s easy to plateau as you wind down going into the fall. Whatever it is that had you locked down all summer, whether it be two weeks or three weeks left, finish it out better than you started. This is the moment you need to kick it into another gear, find your inner strength, and channel that down the late stretches of the end of summer. Start strong, finish stronger; all of your hard work will pay off. You want to be the player the coach puts in with the game on the line and a few seconds left, not the one he or she yanks. As I always remind myself, suck it up and gut it out, Steff.

EVALUATE WHERE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES ARE
If you recall, a few weeks ago I mentioned an idea of how to improve your game during the summer. One of those keys was finding your weaknesses and addressing them. Maybe it was foot speed, strength, individual skills that you were lacking…whatever it was, have a coach or someone you’ve been training with test those weaknesses and see where you are. Always aim to avoid stagnancy, even if it’s a little progress. No matter what, it is still progress.

PUT TOGETHER A LIST OF GOALS
This is a suggestion I wish I had done when I was back in high school. In college we took to journals to jot things down but I didn’t take the time in high school when you can really assess what you want to accomplish. If it’s win this many games in football, make this roster, bench this, squat that, I think this is a tremendously beneficial exercise that isn’t physical. It’s mental. Take the time to really think about what you want to do with this upcoming year. Exercise your brain.

TRY SOMETHING NEW
As I mentioned, summer can be a long grind and I find it invaluable to keep balance in your life. That being said, before heading back to school do something different, try something new. It can be sports-related, non-sports-related. In some instances trying something new can ultimately lead to finding out new things about yourself.

TAKE A VACATION
I mentioned finishing strong at the beginning for a reason; a sliver of rest awaits you. Just before it’s time to head back into school mode and the bell rings while you’re sitting in desks again, take 3-4 days off at some point. You will come back refreshed, rejuvenated and mentally recharged. I know this first hand. I kept the number of days to 3-4 because I know it can take up to three months to get into shape, and three days to get out of shape. So that’s an adequate amount of time to take a break away and reap the benefits both mentally and physically.

Follow Steffi on Twitter at @steffisorensen

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