There are easy ways for high school student-athletes to stay in shape and keep up with their competition throughout the summer. Slight changes to the summer routine could be the difference between being a member of your team or an active part of your team. We compiled a few steps to lead athletes in the right direction:
Take a break.
First and foremost, when the school year ends, students should take a few weeks off to relax in order to prevent “burning out” or losing interest in their sport. The best break should last about 2-3 weeks.
Next, it’s time to set goals.
Do you want to increase your free throw percentage? What about your batting average? How do you want to excel next season? Setting a goal for the summer is the best way to begin your journey toward becoming the athlete you want. There are two ways to approach your goal:
1. Focus on your weaknesses. If you’re not happy with your punt return average, ask a coach or mentor what you need to do to fix it, and begin working. The same goes for any of the skills for which you are unhappy.
2. Solidify your strengths. Everyone has their niche or that one contribution to their team. Instead of staying complacent in that particular area, try your best to improve and become unstoppable in that field.
Now comes the time to develop a plan - a realistic plan - and stick with it.
Don’t plan to work out seven days a week – you won’t. Your plan needs to be realistic so that you will actually execute it. Three to four days a week for conditioning is your best bet for the summertime—don’t go overboard. Establish your routine based on the goals you set, and stick to those goals. Working out when you have no desire to may be the hardest part of the regimen, but keeping your eyes on the prize should drive you off of the couch every time.
Most importantly, stay hydrated!
The health and safety of student-athletes are the most important aspects of any game. Throughout the hot summer, you should remember to stay well hydrated in order to prevent collapsing, over exhaustion, dehydration or in a worst case scenario, a heat stroke. For safety, we’ve listed a few signs and symptoms of the most common heat related issues:
• Heat exhaustion – confusion, dark-colored urine (which indicates dehydration), dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, pale skin, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat
• Dehydration - confusion, increased thirst, inability to sweat, swollen tongue, decreased urine output (or dark urine), weakness, dizziness, palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding), fainting
• Heat stroke - throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat( which may be either strong or weak), rapid, shallow breathing, behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering, seizures, unconsciousness
To prevent heat exhaustion, dehydration or heat stroke, consider the following:
• Drink water even when you are not “thirsty,” and before, during and after exercising.
• Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day.
• Wear light, loose clothing.
• Wear hats and use sunscreen.
• If you feel weak, stop and move to a cool place.
“Work hard while in season, but work differently off season to improve your athletic ability.” – Alex Zener
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