So you want to make the team? You want to make an impact this season- be the all-star? Then we need to talk!
I’m going to ask that you take a step back and think about the word “Offseason”. What does that word mean to you? Does it make you sigh in relief? Does it make you want to grab a pen and paper to write something down? Do you happen to think of vacations or watching Netflix/Hulu for days on end?
The toxic offseason mentality that I’m talking about is the kind where you put the volleyball and duffle bag into the deepest darkest recess of your closet. You raid the kitchen for all its sugary goodness and build a fort inside your room and camp out for the duration of the offseason. It’s the mentality of being anti-activity, anti-sport, anti-health and against anything that makes you a better athlete/person.
At RUSH we believe in the importance of an offseason, but as a tool to give your Volleyball body a break so you can focus on different aspects of your physical and mental abilities. For example, the Girl’s High School season in Arizona lasts from August to November. Club Volleyball begins in late November and goes until May in the AZ Region, and if you’re on a National or traveling team you will be playing well into June. The only real break you’ll have from Volleyball is late June to early August. That’s roughly 6 weeks. Obviously, at this point, your body may be exhausted from Volleyball. It is in this 6 week time period that you have the ability to refocus yourself to get ready for the fast-paced level of High School Volleyball.
Successful athletes put their effort into training, nutrition, camps, open gyms, and set specific goals for their break are the ones who will be the most prepared for their upcoming season. At RUSH we want the athletes who are willing to put their head down and work. They might not be the most talented or the tallest but they have the desire to never be outworked. Here are a few ways you can make sure to never be outworked and to get rid of the offseason mentality.
Get your goals and desires for next season written down. Find a journal, a piece of paper, or even a roll of toilet paper, just get something to write on. As you begin to write, make sure your goals are realistic and measurable. If you are 4 feet tall, it’s unlikely that you’re going to dunk a Volleyball in 3 months. While it is possible, with lots of time and effort you may have that ability you must make sure your goals are attainable.
So…you want to get ahead?
Mark Twain once said, “The Secret of getting ahead is Getting Started”. Planning is great but stopping there is like flushing that roll of toilet paper down. You absolutely must get up and like Nike says “just do it”. Take your goals put them into a series of small steps that you can take one at a time. Make it a game for yourself, get those little steps done each and every day.
Ask for Help
One of the best things you can do is ask for help. You have people around you who want to see you succeed and they will be more than willing to help you out. On the flipside, if you don’t feel like you have someone that will help you –think outside the box. Ask your coach, teammate, teacher, mom, dad, or even your siblings! Someone around you will be willing to help.
They will not be motivated to do the work for you, they will want to be your sounding board when you have taken strides to accomplish your small steps.
Right way: “Hey Mom, I ran my mile today!”.
Wrong way: “Hey Mom, can you get my running shoes, drive me to the field, and walk with me around the track for a few minutes?”
Help your Teammates Succeed
Your team is only as good as the weakest player. As you get better reaching your goals you will have a natural positive aura around you. You will likely be talking to your friends about how you are accomplishing your goals. Your friends and teammates may feel like they need to be doing something but don’t know how or where to get started. This is where you come in! Help them with their goals…not yours! Help them develop their goals and their small specific steps to which they can accomplish their goals. Find a time that you can get together and work on your goals together. Be each other’s sounding board, talk to each other about your successes and encourage your training partner to keep going when it gets tough.
Anything worth doing takes Time and Effort
Undoubtedly the process will be tough. Week 1 will be easy and fun. You’ll be motivated to work hard. As you get to week 3 and 4 it may feel like a grind. The effort you put into training and developing yourself as an athlete it will pay dividends according to your effort.
It’s Never Too Late to Shed the Off Season Mentality
High School Athletes –especially seniors have the impression that it may be too late to start. This is a lie. It’s never too late to start. Some of the top college athletes have reported saying that they wish they did more during their high school years to be prepared for college. The added pressure of school and traveling for their sports can make it extremely difficult for underprepared athletes to succeed. Exert yourself now, be a true teammate and be the best athlete and player you can be. A true athlete will constantly find ways to be better.
I hope that the offseason just becomes a time where athletes push harder to become better rather than sitting back and doing nothing during the summer. The joy of returning to the court and feeling your newly found power will translate into confidence on and off the court. Your example of hard work will translate to the team. If that translates year over year there is no question that last year’s losses will turn into this year’s wins and a begin a budding dynasty.