To play competitively in some sports at the high school level, it can be important to train year-round. Because the high school sports’ seasons aren’t year-round, many students who participate in sports also take part in an off-season team for whatever sport or sports they do. Off-season teams allow athletes to stay in shape and continue to advance their skills.
Among students at South, junior Sam Harper participates in a sport during the off-season of his high school sport, soccer. Harper has played soccer competitively since age nine. During the time period that high school soccer is not in session, Harper plays for the Minneapolis United U17 team, a local soccer club. “Participating in a sport during the off-season is very beneficial to your play,” commented Harper.
Christopher D. Jensen, a nutrition and epidemiology researcher, says in his article “Off-Season Training and Sports Nutrition Advice for High School Athletes”, “For most high school athletes, a full summer of no training is at the very least a missed opportunity — and pretty much guarantees a difficult return to the rigors of high school athletics once the school year resumes.”
Besides keeping athletes in shape, Harper notes that off-season training also helps athletes because “during the off-season the focus is on you. It’s all about improving your skills and improving yourself as a player.”
South freshman Natalie Rummel, who plays volleyball off-season for Club 43, agrees that participation in a sport year-round is beneficial. “You’re not taking a break,” she said. “[You’re] always gaining skill.”
However, playing a sport year-round may not always be necessary in order to compete as a high school athlete.
This year, sophomore Signe Rudrud plans on participating in three school sports, swimming, cross country skiing, and softball, leaving little time to play for an off-season team. Rudrud commented, “Sometimes to be a well-rounded person you need to be well-rounded in sports,” giving her reason for not partaking in the same sport year-round. Rudrud added that she does worry about injuries to some extent, but she would also get bored of a sport if she did it all year.
Joe Mauer is one example of a multi-disciplined athlete whose success proves that you can be competitive without doing a sport year-round. Mauer participated in multiple high school sports, making it impossible to play one sport all year. Coming out of high school, he was recruited to play baseball for the Minnesota Twins and to be the quarterback for Florida State University football team.
According to thebaseballpage.com, Mauer played football, basketball, and baseball in high school. In addition to being great at baseball,which he now plays professionally, Mauer was named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year in football and baseball, the Parade and USA Today Player of the Year for football, and a Reebok/ESPN High School All-American in football. He was also awarded All-State honors in basketball for his junior and senior years.
Playing sports in the off-season allows for much personal growth in a particular sport. However, for some, it is not always necessary to play off-season in order to perform well at the high school level. Plenty of students choose to do either and still achieve success.