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October 05, 2018

Recovery and the "Off Season"


Managing transition is a key skill in the sport of archery. For many archers and coaches, now is a time of transition from the outdoor season to the indoor season. The archery events calendar determines the season and every archery organization has taken full advantage of any open weekend in the year to add events. Similarly in the PGA, there is a tour event almost every weekend of the year. Whether you are in the game to have fun or wanting to be the next Olympic medalist, managing these transitions season to season and year to year plays a major role in long term development for athletes and coaches.

In my experience, a large percentage of people transition season to season without contemplating the consequences of missing a key step: recovery. Recovery is a very big part of training, development, and long term growth. In fact, a key concept in training design, periodization, focuses on the planning and executing of a training load AND recovery.

Why Recovery is Important

Recovery is important because it allows the body and mind to adapt to the physical, mental, and emotional stress placed on the athlete or coach through practicing and competing. Recovery also provides an opportunity for the person's muscles to repair and for their body and mind to be re-energized. This is extremely important in preventing burnout.

Imagine what would happen if you worked at your job every day for 8 hours or more per day. Even if you absolutely loved the job in the beginning, over time you may start to resent your job, the return on your performance would start to decrease, and eventually you may leave that job.

Burnout and decreased performance is exactly what we would like to prevent. For both athletes and coaches, we want to continually improve our development and growth. This has been a major point of concern and focus for many sports and sports organizations such as The Aspen Institute. The Aspen Institute reported in 2017 that there has been a large decrease in participation in sports in the last 10 years. Baseball and other sports also identified year-round "professionalized" youth programs such as "travel" teams have led to early burnout in some of the most talented athletes.

Decreased performance can also result from lack of planned recovery. As a former national team member, I always felt the need to train more when things weren't going well. Sometimes this is necessary, but as an athlete I never actually factored recovery into my training. When I transitioned into coaching, I had to help athletes manage this expectation and understanding. Lanny Bassham from Mental Management Systems preaches the concept of taking a break. In his book, Winning in Mind, Lanny explains how taking a break allows the mind to forget the bad habits and improve performance.

Planning and Executing Recovery

The key is simple. Purposely plan and execute recovery. Athletes and coaches, regardless of performance level, should plan and execute recovery. Just as vacations and weekends are essential to the work-life balance, planning recovery and rest is important to athlete and coach performance. The transition time between outdoor season to indoor season is an excellent time for archers of any level to take a couple of weeks to an entire month off training. Younger athletes may even benefit from longer breaks which will be highlighted in the release of USA Archery's Long Term Athlete Development Plan later this year.

Next Steps

Start planning your recovery now. It is important to note that recovery does not just include rest. Recovery can also include other activities, sports, or exercises that rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.


USA Archery High Performance Newsletter

This article was originally published as part of the USA Archery quarterly High Performance Newsletter. To subscribe to the free newsletter, please send an email to [email protected]

USA Archery Coach Symposium

Today is also the Last Call to register for the 2018 Coach Symposium. This jam-packed weekend event is the most valuable opportunity to grow as a coach, parent or archer you will have all year and provides beneficial education for everyone. This year's Coach Symposium will be different than past symposiums in that it will focus much more on practical application of skills. Every person that attends will leave the Symposium transformed as a better coach. This year's symposium will feature a host of world class experts in coaching and archery. There will also be prizes available including a Hoyt Riser or Limbs, Vortex Optics, Easton Arrows, and other high quality products.

Register today!

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