It is no surprise to athletes that as a college athlete, the majority of your training happens in the offseason. So if you thought that the offseason was an actual “off” season, you would be mistaken. This goes for most sports, but let’s talk DIII softball. Here is a breakdown of when your offseason actually is and what you should expect.
It’s no secret that softball season is in the spring and once spring hits you should be conditioned, strengthened, and prepared. Don’t forget, once you’re in season you will be playing upwards of six, sometimes seven or eight games a week, and this includes double headers. By the time you’re in season, the days in between games are for practice and maybe light lift and recovery days, it depends on your program. The point of the offseason is to prepare your body for the intensity of your season.
The first bit of offseason training you will be exposed to is fall ball. This begins right around the time classes start up, maybe a 2 week buffer. During fall ball you will get back into your lifting regime with your team. Although, most coaches will expect athletes to be lifting and conditioning on their own during the summer to be prepared for fall ball. During the fall you will begin practice, practice truly depends on what division your team is in. Different divisions are allowed a certain number of practice hours. Lifts will typically involve team and group lifts, with one or two days off depending. Fall ball will also include some unofficial scrimmages and tournaments. Fall ball typically ends around October/ November. Now commence the true offseason.
When it comes to the actual offseason, mandatory practice with coaches is not allowed. The offseason for softball is when fall ball ends up until January/ February. Off-season training must be “voluntary,” so coaches will at this point encourage “captain’s practice” (a term now banned by the NCAA). This basically means that you as a team are responsible for practicing and training, and trust me you will be held accountable.
This is the time that your team will lift and lift heavy. This time is all about getting bigger, faster, stronger. Even when winter break rolls around, you will be responsible for your lifts and conditioning. Many coaches will require that you log your workouts, so the winter is absolute grind time. Once the end of January hits, you should be prepared for regular season practice, spring training, and regular season games.
Don’t let the idea of offseason training overwhelm you. The commitment is what it’s all about being a college athlete. Embrace the offseason and embrace the grind.
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