The College Athletes Guide to Off-Season Conditioning

Going to college is an exciting and life-changing experience. Being a student-athlete in college makes that experience even more exciting, but at times, more intense and more challenging. Outside of the many perks, a college athlete has to perform well on the field and in the classroom. Most fans and alumni are concerned with what happens with athletes during their game season. Coaches, trainers and some players know that the off-season makes a considerable difference in performance outcomes the following season. 

Some college athletes keep the same pace, schedule, and intensity year-round, but there are specific activities and practices that should occur during the off-season. The coronavirus pandemic has also changed the access and the way student-athletes maintained their bodies and skills. Now more than ever is a time for professionals like Nesfield Performance to offer best practices for athletes who have sacrificed and worked hard for years to perform at the college level.  Here is the college athlete’s guide to conditioning in the off-season: 

Create a Consistent Schedule 

Most college athletes have a consistent schedule because of multiple commitments from the classroom and their sport. Between lifting sessions, classes, practice, study hall, games, traveling, and attending a party now and then, it is crucial that you manage your time well if you want to experience it all.

The load may be a little lighter during the off-season, but maintaining a schedule is still necessary. Talk to your coach about what your training focus should be in the off-season. It is wise to ask a guidance counselor how you can strengthen your time management skills to achieve your goals as well. Try using a planner or Google calendar to map out a schedule and pay attention to your personal habits as well. Do you get more out of your workout in the morning? Do you read and retain class information midday? Ask yourself those questions and build a consistent schedule from there. 

The benefit of maintaining a consistent schedule is that you will get into the habit of getting up, training, and studying year-round. You will create good habits and make exercising second nature, so your transition from the off-season back to the field will be much easier. 

Be Strategic with Your Class Schedule

It may work out better for you, in the long run, to be strategic with your class schedule throughout your entire college experience. If you can, try to avoid having such a heavy class schedule when the season begins again so you can focus on your athletic performance. Although it may be tempting to slack off after an intense season, you cannot dismiss your academic commitments and responsibilities either. Consider taking one of your more challenging classes during the off-season. Calculus or Technical Writing may be too intense to take in your senior year during your final playing season. Again, work with a guidance counselor to create a map of what you would like your academic schedule to look like for the next few years so you can be successful on the field and in the classroom. 

Make a Strategic Workout Plan

The off-season is your time for making progress and making gains. There isn’t much time for your body to recover from intense workouts, intense games, and running mechanics during the season when you are consistently getting ready for the next match and practicing game plays. Your focus during the off-season should be to clean technique and concentrate on specialized training. 

Take the time to review the film from the previous season to figure out what skills and techniques you need to improve or change, then make a workout plan from there. Depending on your sport, agility drills, movement mechanics, balance drills, or proprioception exercises are techniques that can be maximized during the off-season and incorporated into your workout routine. These specified drills and exercises in your workout will sharpen your skills and prepare you for the new season.

Choose the Right Workout Environment

Where you choose to work out is just as important and what you do in the workout. You need to be in an environment that fosters a positive workout mindset, and you need ways to support the physical and mental fortitude required to perform at a high level. recommends that runners get off the track and into the grass by working out on cross country-like trails. The physiological and physical benefits are endless because it will afford the athlete to adapt when it’s time to get back on the track. Running on a different surface also helps to improve foot and shin issues. 

Play a Different Sport

Some athletes play an entirely different sport during the off-season. This can help an athlete broaden their athletic base. Sometimes football and basketball athletes run track during the off-season to increase their speed. How great is it to improve athletic ability and change the scenery? Talk to your head coach and strength coach before making this shift, but consider playing a sport (collegiate or recreational) that showcases benefits that will improve your abilities in your primary sport while giving you a fresh take on working out. 

Focus on Your Individual Needs

Being a team player and working out with your teammates or other athletes is excellent, but you may want to consider working out by yourself with a coach or trainer during the off-season. Working out alone will ensure that you are the coach or trainer’s primary focus. The off-season is the time to have tunnel vision to improve your individual performance and upgrade your personal athletic goals. 

Don’t worry — you don’t have to work out alone every time. If you and your teammates have similar goals or skills that need improvement, working out in a group can prove to be helpful. Just having a balance of solo and group workouts and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will also motivate you during your workouts. 

Improve Your Diet & Nutrition

You are what you eat, and you want to be strong and agile to be successful as a college athlete. The off-season is your time to get your body in the best shape. If you need to put on weight or muscle to play your position well, or if you need to slim down and make yourself leaner, your nutritional intake will help you to achieve these goals. Use the off-season to improve your nutrition by trying new recipes and meal prepping. You can also find easier ways to prepare food, like making smoothies during this time. Working with your new recipes now will help you get familiar with your new nutrition routine when the new season rolls around. If you need a little help, try working with a nutrition coach to create a plan. 


The most important thing you can do in the off-season is REST! Your season is likely jam-packed, and you need to give yourself a break and allow your body and mind to decompress and relax. Resting during the off-season also allows your body time to recover and heal from any aches or injuries you may have played through during the season. Use the off-season to train, bulk up, and get better, but use this time to give your body a much-needed break. 



Latest Posts

Thanks For Your Interest!
Fill the form below and we will contact you ASAP!

Fill the form below and we will contact you ASAP!

Fill the next form and we will contact you ASAP!