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What College Athletics Are Like During The Offseason

Drazen

“Offseason” is an ironic word to describe a period of time in college athletics when you are contributing over twenty hours a week to your sport and doing intense training, but you technically are not in season.

The offseason varies for every sport. For example, soccer and football players are required to be at their schools all summer. Some winter sports are required to be there a couple weeks before school starts and others are not. Most spring sports aren’t required to be there early at all—such as my Oregon lacrosse team—but other coaches make arriving early mandatory. Regardless of your offseason, time management and obligations may vary, but work ethic must remain the same.

'Offseason' is an ironic word...

My college lacrosse experience has been a little bit different than most because at Oregon we are on the quarter system, so we don’t start until the end of September. At that time, most other schools have been in session for over a month. This means we jump into twenty-hour weeks right off the bat and have a month less of practice than many other teams. For those who aren’t aware, in Division I sports there are allotted periods of time where teams are allowed 20 hours a week to practice and condition; likewise, during the rest of the time, teams are allowed eight hours a week of practice and conditioning. 

So what’s the offseason like? Does it mean you have way more time on your hands and less practice?

Not exactly.

In lacrosse, our offseason is in the fall and we are practicing for 20 hours a week for majority of that time. Given the fact that we share a field with the soccer team, this leads to 6 AM practices for two and a half hours every morning except for Sundays. Along with that, we have two hours of weight lifting a week and all of the other regular obligations such as treatment, recovery, extra stick work, etc. In the offseason, the NCAA doesn’t allow student-athletes to miss school for sports, but that doesn’t stop us from travelling for fall ball trips. We usually take about two travel trips for two weekends during the fall where we participate in play days or tournaments with other teams around the country.

It may be called the offseason, but it doesn’t feel like much of an off season at all.

It may be called the offseason, but it doesn’t feel like much of an off season at all. One of the most difficult parts to remember is that every little thing you do during the offseason will help prepare you for your actual season. Although it may be hard to stay motivated, it is essential to keep in mind your end goal and maintain a strong work ethic. It’s a strange concept to be practicing in September for competition that won’t arrive until February, but it is a concept that every team deals with—no matter your sport—and it takes intense training to stay focused and come prepared for season. That looks different for every coach, every team and every sport.

We spend our offseason lifting heavy weights (to build strength), running numerous sprints (to maintain endurance), and working tirelessly on skills and stick-work that’ll be essential during games. Practices consist of specific position training as well as full-field scrimmages and large game play. The coaches are constantly reminding us that the work we put in now will carry over to our play during season—which is four months away. So, as we wake up at 6 AM to run our sprints and hustle during practice every day, we keep the thought of winning a PAC 12 championship constantly in the back of our minds to push us during this so-called “off” season.


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