We’re into the second week of September and already sports teams around the UAE are preparing for their opening matches of the season. It’s a dreaded time for some, and for others, it’s exciting to get back involved with a sports team after a long idle summer.
If you’re aiming to improve as a player over the next few weeks then break down the different areas of your game and your fitness before the season gets into the thick of it over the coming months.
There’s no worse feeling than being the player slumping at the back of the line during training runs or dropping balls during skill work. Make 2017 the year where you iron out those areas of your game that have previously been poor.
Every person will have different targets for the new season, but for us, here are three areas to help you get ahead of the chasing pack and have the perfect season.
Get the balance right
Irrespective of your sport, it is important to maintain extra fitness work off the training ground. If you are back in the gym looking to build strength, for example, don’t start lifting heavy weights or you’ll increase the risk of injury.
The key for now is to build it up and do less but with intensity (this could be 8-12 repetitions of lighter weights). At this stage it is beneficial to do lighter weights as your muscles are adapting to new movements after a summer of under-use.
If you’re tired then take a day off and don’t feel guilty about it either. Rest is crucial for your muscles to recover.
What to work on?
This varies depending on the player but each season will bring different areas of your game that need improvement.
Whether its flexibility, speed, fitness, skill work or particular muscle groups, this is the perfect time to improve before the season gets too hectic.
If it’s flexibility you need to improve then try yoga once a week, if it’s something leg-related then include an additional leg exercise in your workout, if it’s speed then practice sprints, and if your objective is to improve upper body strength then consult a personal trainer for some advice.
This is the best time to get a head-start on teammates so use the next few weeks wisely and be honest with yourself on and off the training ground. You can’t expect to improve your weaknesses without hard work and consistent training!
Eat well and feel good!
If you’re looking to have a strong start to the season then begin with small changes to your diet. It’s a great feeling eating well and this will reflect in your positively around the work place and the training ground.
One small change to make is reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, whether it’s through fewer sugary drinks, chocolate, dairy products or sweets. There are other healthier foods equally as nice like fruit, dark chocolate, nuts and gluten free pasta or rice!
In addition, eat a lighter lunch as you’ll feel more productive in the work place and not hit that mid-afternoon lump that generally affects most people on a daily basis.
One thing to remember is that we all work hard so it’s important to enjoy your down-time with friends and family. Enjoy your few nights out, have your cheat meals, but if you are motivated enough to want to get a step ahead of your teammates then be willing to make some sacrifices in your daily life!