Photo by ALLISON WOODLAND
In an athlete’s career, they have two types of mindsets: their in-season mindset and their off-season mindset.
The season is the time of the year where athletes get to shine and compete for what they have been training for all year. It is where they show off their skills and hard work.
However, skills and hard work do not just form overnight. The offseason is where athletes work on bettering themselves and their skills.
“The off-season is the most important time for an athlete and their team,” said softball player Kendall Bird (‘20). “This is the time when you can go and work on exactly what you need to be better for your team and the upcoming season ahead. This is the time to get into the best shape possible and be as strong as you can be.”
Most of an athlete’s career is spent out of season. Therefore, it is up to them to utilize their off-season time as much as they can.
Currently at Alma College, winter and spring sports, such as Softball, Women’s and Men’s Lacrosse, Women’s and Men’s basketball and a few others, are in their off-season until late November or January when their seasons start.
Most of these teams have limited action on the field or court due to regulations and have to rely on finding other ways to prepare themselves for their season.
One way is through weightlifting or extra training on their own. “During season our lifts are lighter, not as frequent and more focused on sustaining strength,” said Bird.
“During the off-season, our lifts are set toward building strength. We use three out of the four days in the weight room as strictly lifting weights and the fourth day we use as a cardio circuit day.”
Most teams, when out of season, go to the weight room four times a week to keep themselves active and prepped for season. They also partake in “Fall Ball,” which is fourteen days in the off-season where the team can meet with their coaches to practice as a team.
Besides “Fall Ball,” players like Bird take initiative to make sure to go and get a few hits in to fine tune their skills every week.
Athletes who wait until the season starts to get back into the swing of the sport, often fall behind or lack the skills and rhythm they need for season.
It is important for athletes to constantly be working on their skills and fitness in the off-season whether it is with their team or on their own. Some athletes even utilize their off-season by partaking in another sport.
“Our team always jokes saying that our off-season doesn’t exist because we are always training. We get about two weeks total strictly no running and just cross training and then we go all season from there,” said Madeline McDonnell (’20).
As a runner, McDonnell participates in cross country and indoor and outdoor track. Hence, her off-season is generally in prep for the next season.
While she is training for cross country season, she is in season for track and vice versa.
“Personally, I use the track season to train for cross country because I run the same event all year around,” said McDonnell.
Athletes like McDonnell choose to use their “offseason” by being involved in other sports that help enhance and improve their skills for the next season.
It is similar to other sports’ “Fall Ball,” but involves the season mentality more than the off-season. However, this does not mean these athletes do not recognize the importance of their off-seasons.
“Having an off-season or a period of rest during training cycles are so important,” said McDonnell. “As athletes, we need to be able to trust our bodies and training levels so we know that we are capable of being where we are at physically as well as mentally.”
Besides training and weightlifting, athletes also have other ways to spend their off seasons. Many teams, such as the Women’s Lacrosse team, make volunteering a priority all year round, but especially in the off-season.
“The volunteer opportunities we participate in help our team become closer with each other and the community around us, which only positively affects our performance on the field,” said Courtney Hartnagle (’21).
Many teams use the off-season as a way to not only better themselves, but to better the community. It is a time for teams and athletes to give back to the people who support them in and out of season.