Hey, Jeff Reinardy here, head strength and conditioning coach at Winona State University. Look, we’re still in the midst of this pandemic, and it’s been long and it’s been kind of a trudge, but it’s time to see a little bit of silver lining. The silver lining is this – for many of us, unfortunately, there might be no fall athletics whatsoever. The upside of that is, we might be able to get a true off-season in. So, let’s take advantage of those things. We talked to our athletes all the time about overcoming adversity, taking advantage of things that we can, it’s time for us as coaches to be able to do that, see the silver lining and be able to start moving forward. Now again, first things first, you have to make sure that your administration is on board and that your facility is open, that your facility has all the proper protocols in place, and everything is as it should be to keep everyone safe, who uses it. And we’ve talked about that at great length. But now let’s move into the positive side of things at this point.

What Does An Off-Season Look Like?

In a true off-season, we might have five-six months before our students see athletic competition. So as coaches we can take that we can start breaking some things down, we can start doing things we maybe have never been able to do in the past. Generally speaking, when we’re dealing with athletes, we’re jumping from season to season to season, even the summers have become full of different camps. I know things such as basketball, softball run all summer long baseball, football camps, so you really never get that true offseason. And here we have our opportunity to do some of those things. So let’s take advantage.

Fundamentals

The first thing that I like to do is make sure we’ve got our fundamentals back in place. We go through all the fundamental things that we want to make sure that we’re teaching correctly. Sometimes we’re in a hurry. We have different age groups are different levels of capability. And we need to be able to take some time and now we have that take some time to break those movements down. So you might have to say, hey, look, all my eighth or ninth graders coming in at one time 10th and 11th, and 12th graders so you get that variation of where I’m at level wise and then we can kind of make sure that we’re refining some of those technique things from very basic to refining someone who’s been a senior and maybe in your program three, four or five years, and really refining their technique down, making sure everything is being done absolutely proper. So that’s the first thing that we’re able to do.

Get Back to Basics

For a lot of it is get back back to basics, let’s get a basic strength base going, again, hard to do, because we’re constantly jumping from sport to sport to sport. Now we have a true strength phase and power phase that we can put into place. So let’s see what we can do. What I like to do is take the number of weeks that we have to count ourselves backward, set that goal, where do we want to be at the end of 12 weeks, or whatever the case might be? work our way back to where we are today. And let’s start there. There’s a lot of different variations, a lot of different ways that people want to kind of cut down or cut through their programming. That’s all fine and good, but use where you are today moving towards that goal, and again, for me, it’s going to be a strength phase for right now, simply because we just don’t get that opportunity very much. And again, for me, that’s going to be front and back squatting. We’re going to be doing cleans we’re going to be doing snatches we’re going to be doing some Olympic things that maybe you that may not be you look at the types of things that you’re looking at doing and improving upon. Now is a fantastic time to be able to do that.

Evaluation

Take the time to evaluate each one of your students, you might be able to bring them in much smaller groups. If you have a greater amount of time in the morning, maybe some afternoon time, because many of these things are either being done hybrid, the school that is hybrid or strictly online, you might be able to bring them in, in small groups, evaluate where they are, walk through that basic training step by step by step. For those advanced ones, really sit down and talk about where they are today. Where do they want to be and really work on those weaknesses. You can let them know now. Okay, you have the time. It isn’t always got to be Hey, rah, rah, rah, we’re doing a great job. Keep moving, keep moving. Now you can look at whomever that individual might be and say, Look, you’re doing a fantastic job in here, but here are some of the weak things that I see. You know, your depth, your squat needs to be better, let’s fine-tune you know, your snatch your clean technique. Let’s really make them think about things that they generally don’t have the time to and we don’t have the time to coach. Now as a  fantastic time for those things to be able to take place.

Get yourself better today overcome adapt all things we always talk about to our athletes. Let’s do it ourselves. Take this offseason if that’s what you have, let’s take this offseason, use it to your greatest advantage. Get better today.