Keeping grades high and trying to make the best plays on the field produces high amounts of stress on student-athletes.
“It can be hard over the course of the season to keep up on both your work on the field and in the classroom and honestly sometimes you wish there were more hours in the day,” said Duce Robinson, the highly recruited junior and starting tight end for Pinnacle’s football team.
But what happens when the final game of the season ends? They remain students, and even though they are students, it doesn’t mean that the athlete part of them enters hibernation. The offseason provides time for all athletes of various levels to perfect their craft, get in better shape and heal their bodies and mental states. Junior Myles Libman, the breakout star wide receiver for the football team, understands the importance of a recuperative off-season.
“I believe if you don’t get the proper sleep and recovery there is a mental toll because you’re constantly thinking through school and practice,” Libman said.
Robinson acknowledged that mental health remains an important part of the offseason, and he works on overcoming the mental factors. Student-athletes must maintain focus even though the season ends. Charlie Wilde, varsity boys basketball coach, knows the dedication athletes make to their sport.
“We see them six days a week for practice or games, so that kind of dedication usually brings focus on what needs to be done,” said Wilde.
Always striving to perfect their game in any way possible, the offseason provides the much-needed extra time to improve skills. Athletes often make goals for this critical time.
“I am really trying to improve my patience in my route-running and off the field, and I’m trying to put on a couple more pounds’,” Libman said.
“[I want] to become an all-around better athlete and football player and work on the mental part of the game,” added Robinson.
More than just playing a game, sports becomes a lifestyle that athletes choose, and with that lifestyle comes the realization that to become great, an athlete needs to strive for greatness in everything they do, physically and mentally. The COVID pandemic prompted big changes for student-athletes, and athletes and coaches around the world still feel the effects of those changes, such as constant testing and potential quarantines.
“We have to fill out a lot more paperwork,” added Wilde.
As previously stated, the importance of the offseason should not go unnoticed. Everyone has something they want to work on and this period of time is the perfect opportunity to do so. Student-athletes have the chance to get stronger physically and mentally. And even with the newer challenges that the COVID pandemic has brought upon these young athletes, it does not deter them from executing their goals.