With autumn in full swing and winter visible on the horizon, the majority of travel baseball seasons soon will come to a close. For the players on travel teams like the Wheatland Ducks, this can be a welcome change from the everyday rigors of a club sport, and in fact many athletes will use the time immediately following the season to engage in some physical, mental, and emotional rest. As human beings, our bodies and minds crave rest, especially following something as challenging as a season in upper-level youth baseball, but is rest the best way to get ahead in the offseason?
The Pros & Cons of Rest in Travel Baseball Offseason
There will be athletes that choose not to rest when the season is over, but does that necessarily mean that they will be better off come the next season? There are huge benefits to resting at the end of a season, many of which outweigh the benefits of pushing straight through with training. Athletes, especially younger athletes, need rest at some point, but that won’t stop them from stressing out about getting back to work. The truth is that there are benefits to both approaches to the offseason.
The Cons of Resting
Perhaps a better way to look at this would be to see it as “the pros of continuing training,” since it is hard to find much negative in the concept of rest. Obviously those who finish a season and step right back into weight training and drills are ensuring that that they build on the previous season’s successes. When it comes to competitive activities like travel sports, taking your foot off the gas can be just enough to make athletes lose focus. Getting lax on diet and exercise regimens can be a hard habit to kick, which is why plenty of baseball players don’t allow themselves to get off-track.
Every day spent training is a day that an athlete can get stronger and more refined in their skills. Every day spent resting could potentially be a day an athlete falls behind.
The Pros of Resting
Despite all of this, younger athletes really do need some measure of physical and mental rest following a season of travel baseball. It is nearly impossible to come out of a season without some soreness or injury, and rest allows those ailments to heal so that intense training doesn’t do more damage than good.
Not only that, but athletes can experience extremely high levels of mental stress over the course of a season without even realizing it. Taking some time in the offseason to recharge their emotional batteries is just as important as physical rest. Young athletes absolutely need to take some time off from their sport to avoid getting burnt out and perhaps even physically injured.
A well-balanced offseason starts with a little bit of rest so that the rest of the offseason’s training can prove meaningful and effective. The trick is figuring out how much time to take off to heal and get mentally prepared for winter training. Youth sports can be tricky to navigate, but like everything else, balance is key when it comes to the concept of offseason rest.