In this day and age, I think there are entirely too many athletes who are over training. For those of you out there who think over training is not a "real" condition, I think you are making a huge mistake. I believe the rest an athlete is receiving is just as important as the work they are doing and as such, needs to be a carefully calculated piece of an athlete's training program. Often times, coaches disregard the rest component and their athletes are over training, which causes overuse injuries. This all stems from the notion of coaching holistically. As coaches, I think we need to understand that athletes are put under extreme stress all the time, not just when we see them. Rest is important to relieve some of this stress and help an athlete work at a higher intensity in the long run.
I have compiled a list of my 3 R's for athletes to guide them during the off season:
Rest- First and foremost, rest, as discussed earlier, needs to be abundant during the off season because of the many stressors that accompany a season.
Recovery- Recovery is a bit like rest, although I look at it as an athletes ability to return to a resting state. In that sense, recovery during the off season allows for an athlete to achieve a "rested" state in preparation for intense activity again. In the off season, it is critical to get back to that level of rest before the next season begins.
Recreation- The off season should not be competitive. An athlete may compete in a completely different sport as a means of cross-training, but experiment with new sports, play for fun, enjoy yourself, and try new things. Repeating the same movement patterns year-round will lead to overuse injuries without a doubt and limit an athletes potential in the upcoming season.