3 Things Athletes Must NOT Do During the Off-Season

Truly great athletes are great all the time, even in the off-season. Avoid these 3 errors and get an off-season workout plan.

I've coached basketball players and track athletes for years. Some of them have achieved amazing things. Some have not. The key difference? Those who are truly great are great all the time, even during the off-season. These are the athletes who retain their focus even when the goal is a long way off. The rest often fall victim to one or more of these three common off-season errors.

1. Losing Vision

The season is over. You may be happy or sad, but it's time to focus on the future. There's no better time than today to start preparing for future success. Get a chalkboard and hang it up where you'll see it every day, like over your bedroom light switch. Every time you leave your room or go to bed, you'll be reminded of what you want to achieve.

Write down one to three goals—e.g., 225 Bench Press, 315 Squat, 4.7 40. Include a few motivational photos and a quote. One of my favorite quotes is from the character Rocky Balboa: "It ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It's how much you can take. And keep moving forward. That's how winning is done."

RELATED: Reaching Your Goals: Set Waypoints for the Destination

2. Getting Lazy and Gaining Fat

Gaining weight is a good thing, but gaining fat is not. This off-season, try to limit distractions—like video games, parties and girls. That last one may be hard to imagine, but I've seen some of the best talent get wasted because an athlete gets a girlfriend and loses his vision (see No. 1). There's nothing wrong with having a girlfriend, but you need to set time aside for weekly workouts, analyzing video and learning more about your sport. You can still enjoy your high school days and stay focused on finishing strong.

3. Overtraining

The early off-season is a great time for rest and recovery. But after you take a week or two off, focus on adding size. A month before the season begins, implement more strength and conditioning training. I see a lot of athletes who push too hard during the off-season, get hurt, and compromise their performance for the next season.

Four or five resistance training workouts a week are plenty. If you find yourself constantly sore, sleeping poorly, losing strength, and/or consistently getting injured, take a step back and rest.

RELATED: Are You Overtraining?

Off-Season Workout

During the off-season, you need to train the right way. This workout plan will help you avoid injuries and maximize your sports performance.

Aim for three exercises for each muscle. Leave isolation exercises for the end of the workout. Do 4 sets of 8-12 reps, resting between 1-2 minutes between sets. Performing single-arm/single-leg exercises at the end will emphasize core development.

Monday: Chest, Back, Shoulders

  • Bench Press into Pull-Downs
  • Shoulder Press into Bent-Over Rows
  • Incline Dumbbell into Farmer's Walks
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows into Push-Ups with 1 foot elevated into Single-Arm Upright Rows

Tuesday: Legs and Arms

  • Hip Thrusts into Chin-Ups
  • Squats into Close Grip Push-Ups
  • Deadlifts into Preacher Curls
  • Pistol Squats into Tricep Extentions

Wednesday: Beach or Track workout. Sprints, Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Lunges

  • Dynamic Warm-up
  • Sprint 8 40's: Rest 2 minutes
  • Sprint 4 100's Rest 3 minutes
  • Sprint 2 200's Rest 3 minutes
  • Sprint 1 400

End with 3 sets of max Push-Ups, Pull-Ups and 10 Lunges per leg.

Thursday: Off

Friday: Full Body for 4 sets of 15 reps resting 30 seconds

  • Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Single-Arm Cable Rows
  • Standing Single-Arm Military Press

Saturday & Sunday: Off

READ MORE:  Rules Your Off-Season Training Plan Must Follow.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock