“What exactly do you do every day during the off-season, besides tweet, play video games, and watch TV?” You would be amazed as to how often that question is asked. The fact is, yes, I do that a lot. However, that only takes up a small percentage of my off-season. Preparation for the next season begins not too long after the current season ends. Sure, there’s time to re-charge the batteries. There’s also time to engage in activities to keep us well-rounded individuals. The beauty of being an athlete in most cases is that there is down time. I know many athletes that are artists, sculptors, web designers, etc. We can’t possibly be in the gym, practicing on the field, or conditioning at all times. It’s just impossible. That would be the equivalent of someone spending all day and night at the office behind the desk.
After a few weeks of re-charge time, the training begins for the next season. This is nearly impossible without looking forward in excitement for the next season. Just like with anything else, the task at hand is easier when there’s something to look forward to. I feel that athletes, regardless of skill level, have something to improve upon. Being honest with ourselves, and filtering out the many opinions we receive, is key to realizing our off-season goals. Alternating the lower body and upper body lifts, producing an effective conditioning work out, and sticking to a strict eating plan are some of the mandatory off-season regimens. The gyms, training rooms, and running tracks are far removed from the bright lights of the stadiums we play in. Putting the hard work in there translates to success on the field. When it gets tough, I remember the saying: “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
I am currently in a phase of the off-season where much of my future is unknown. The sense of “what’s next” is heightened by the unknown world of free agency. My job is to train like I have a job, throw like I’ll be in spring training, and leave the rest to God. I truly believe that He is in control of my future, and the doors that open, or close, are all because of Him. Faith and belief, for me, have recently changed from HOPING that I can perform at the professional level to KNOWING that God has given me the gifts to perform at the professional level at this point in my life. It’s a great feeling.
Thank you all for the constant support and encouragement. I am blessed to have a platform from which to spread positivity, happiness, and share my career. On Twitter (@michael_schlact), I am blown away by your kind words. Thanks for reading what I write, listening to what I say, and understanding where I come from. While being a professional athlete truly is a dream come true, it’s also a tough lifestyle. Having people there for me throughout the journey makes it a bit easier! Until next time…