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3 Ways to Turn Your Rest Days into Growth Days

As we approach the end of the competitive Fall season in youth sports, a lot of us start to think about how to keep our athletes fit and active during this downtime, but still ensure we take advantage of that much-needed rest period?

First, an athlete's rest days are for growth and recovery: a time to recoup from months of grueling training sessions and game play. Rest does not mean lack of growth; in fact, rest is essential to growth. It can be tough for young athletes to understand this concept, but the reality is that your body needs to rest. Your body is simply not designed to go go go go infinitely at the rate competitive sports demand.

As such, treat rest days with the same amount of respect as training days; in fact, I believe they deserve even more recognition, given their power to maximize athletes' growth potential and performance.

Rest periods should be treated as a time to unwind from a long, physically and mentally draining season. The greater the training intensity, the greater the need for adequate recovery time. Therefore, off-days should include recovery and active-rest periods in which the athlete engages in restorative and cross-training activities to prepare for the next game or season.

This time between seasons can also be of use, especially to coaches. Off-season weeks offer opportunities for coaches to evaluate player performance and to improve athletes' skills.

An off-season program could look like any of the below:

  • Player evaluation period: coaches talk to players about season performance and areas for improvement and develop an improvement plan for athletes to do on their own;

  • Active rest program: formal team practice schedule, including about 75 percent skill work and 25 percent play;

  • Total rest program: three to four weeks complete rest and recovery period.

That said, rest days do not have to translate into lack of growth. So, how do you turn rest days in to growth days? Here's three suggestions:

1. Sleep and Massage Therapy

At least eight hours should be dedicated to nighttime repair, a.k.a SLEEP. Studies show that at specific times during sleep our bodies release certain hormones designed to restore and build tissues. It is during these hours that human growth hormones, responsible for growth and rejuvenation, are most active. Add massage therapy to rest days to relax tight muscles and lubricate joints for speedy recovery.

2. Nutrition Therapy

If hardworking muscles and bones are not fed the right mix of nutrients, growth days may take longer to achieve. Proper nutrition is essential in a young athlete's diet. Coaches must educate adolescent athletes on proper nutrition, which must consist of quality carbohydrates, protein and fats in the proper ratios. If you need a nutrition consultation, contact us, as we have a few nutritionist referrals to offer.

3. Cross-train with SwingFitt™

Cross-training helps to increase the strength and skill level of young athletes while promoting their physiological and mental recovery. Adding programs like SwingFitt™ Total Body help maintain the athlete's fitness level, reduces recurrent injuries and allows the athlete to hone skills such as coordination and speed without the stress of an upcoming match.

All in all, rest is crucial to performance. Be sure your athlete is getting the rest he or she needs to recoup so they can excel both on and off the field.

Melissa Pranzo is the Founder of SwingFitt™ and Swing4All.org. She is a licensed RMT trainer, a life-long elite athlete, and lover of life and sports. Melissa and her son, Cooper, live in Tampa where SwingFitt™ and Swing4All.org are based.

Sources

https://www.verywell.com/the-benefits-of-rest-and-recovery-after-exercise-3120575

#fitness #youthperformance #fitnesstraining #training #overtraining

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