Athletes are people who put their health on the line in the name of sports. Their dedication to their sport drives them to continually raise the bar, to be better than last time or last season. And no matter what their sport, the off-season is a critical time to raise their game.  It’s a time to get faster, stronger, and better as an athlete. This is why off-season training is considered the most important phase of a sports-specific conditioning plan.

While the off-season is a time to step away from the game, it does have three objectives that specifically help an athlete’s game: aerobic conditioning, improving functional strength, and fine-tuning athletic movement patterns. Off-season training allows the athlete to return to the game healthier: able to sprint faster, jump higher, or throw farther. The off-season is where athletes establish a base for future success.

Athletes can’t improve functional strength and correct muscle imbalances when they’re competing because quick movements and maximal muscle contractions of high-intensity competition break down muscle tissue. It’s no secret that training and competing can take a toll on an athlete’s body. Movements like running, swimming, jumping, tackling, kicking, and pivoting, done on a regular basis, can lead to wear and tear on muscles, joints, and bones. Additionally, an athlete’s mind needs time to rest after a long season, as well. Mental stress is an avid component in the risk of injury. It can affect metabolism, sleep and repair.

The off-season is a chance to recover and improve athleticism by training at lower intensity and improving neuromuscular efficiency. Appropriate preparation is paramount for athletes to deal with the constant specter of injuries, both in-season and off-season. In order to truly develop maximum power and speed, and to enhance overall performance, athletes use the off season to prepare themselves physically, mentally and tactically.

Recently, a gradual shift has emerged in coaches’ tactics for training their athletes, as well as athletes taking care of themselves: the athletic community is turning away from reaching for cortisone and anti-inflammatory medicines for every injury and turning towards other, more natural treatments. Massage therapy and acupuncture are effective alternatives to healing practices such as anti-inflammatory medications and other medicines.

Practices, such as Anjuna Medicine, can help athletes, in-season and off-season, by accurately assessing the mechanism and severity of musculoskeletal issues brought on by current injuries, or lingering injuries from a past season. Anjuna Medicine uses a combination of orthopedic tests, range of motion, manual testing and palpitation to correctly identify an injury. The objective is to address the athlete’s healing potential, strengthen the athlete, decrease injury rehabilitation time, enhance performance, prevent re-injury, and help the athlete get back to their sport through treatment and education. All these things are accomplished through the practices of massage therapy and acupuncture, and each session can be specifically, individually designed to assess the needs of any patient.