The Off-Season is really the Early Pre-Season

“When you start camp that way (out of shape), you don’t ever get in shape. You never catch up.”

This is what Doc Rivers commented during a podcast, on the non-optimal physical shape of Damian Lillard tight before the 23-24 campaign.

This statement is so true and I wish more players listened. The off-season is really the Early Pre-Season! It’s the time to recover from injury and start preparing for the new season. Because you need to report at the team’s training camp almost in game shape, if you want to have a productive season.

In Europe, we get only 10 to 12 days to physically prepare the players before the team start playing games. There is simply no time (like there was in previous years) to slowly get into shape. If you are not prepared, you are in trouble.

The most frequent scenario – in my experience – is that a player will show up at training camp slightly overweight (a proxy that shows you didn’t work in the summer) and in “bad shape”. Despite his condition, the player must participate at least in some parts of team practice. After a few workouts, the player gets injured, because the workload is simply too much for him.

This injury sets him back further from a physical standpoint. Now, when he recovers, he needs even more time to catch up with the others. Before you know it, it’s Christmas, the player is struggling and the team still isn’t getting what is expected from him.

Now his career in this team is questionable and the team is suffering because it misses one of their main players’ usual performance.

So, the message is to put in the right type of work during the off-season. Rest your body for some time after the end of the season, then plan your work and rest circles. Work under the guidance of professionals that know the league you play in. Stay off the internet for advice. Work on the court and the weight room. Lift, but also run, sprint and play the game. Work on your needs, not on your trainer’s preferences.

Enjoy the summer, but make sure you enjoy the season more!

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