The off-season makes champions

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

For athletes, there is no off-season. What separates the good athletes from the great is the amount of time and effort they put in each day.

Professionals like Drew Brees, J.J. Watt and Anthony Davis did not get where they are by sitting on the couch during the off-season. They work countless hours to make sure the next season is better than the last. The off-season is a great time for professionals and high school athletes to train.

Pearl River County High School athletes are probably a couple weeks into their off-season, but from my observations, they are still on the field or on the court almost every day.

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The off-season can provide time to focus on themselves and improve on their individual goals. In my opinion, it is vital for young athletes to focus on preparing their body for the upcoming season by training to be bigger, faster and stronger.

Preparing your body for more intense training should be what each athlete strives for during the off-season. In my experience as an athlete, when you take time off and plateau your abilities, the competition is busy getting better.

Norman Schwarzkopf, an United States Army general once said, “The more you sweat in times of peace, the less you bleed in times of war.”

I think this quote directly relates to what each athlete’s mindset should be during the off-season.

Most athletes concentrate on short-term goals, like winning the next game or being the lead scorer in a tournament. These goals are great, but most athletes that set short-term goals take shortcuts to get there, like resting during the off-season. Throughout my time playing sports, I observed champion athletes set long-term goals.

These athletes go years without a day off. Athletes with this mindset are never satisfied and continue to better themselves each and every day, never taking shortcuts. They work just as hard in the off-season as in the regular season, earning their desired results.

Setting short-term goals is fine, but it’s the long-term goals that will allow you to play for your favorite college and even take you to the next level, as long as you don’t take shortcuts.

It’s been said that there are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.