Whether it is your first or final Christmas break as a student athlete the feelings of being able to go home and spend time with loved ones remains the same. A lot of athletes spend time playing in summer competition so for many this is the first opportunity to travel home in nearly a year. During the festive period overindulgence and ‘cheat days’ become the norm, but the focus on the bigger picture needs to be present.
Athletes who compete during the fall (September-December) will have just finished their competitive season, these sports include: Men’s and women’s soccer, and football (plus many more). Christmas break for those athletes will be significantly different to the athletes who compete during the spring, these include: Men’s and women’s golf & tennis (plus many more). The fall athletes will use their christmas break as some well needed downtime and rest, this doesn’t mean they should have 4 weeks completely off but monitoring their workload after an intense season is hugely important. The athletes who will be competing for championships in the spring should use this time as a pre, preseason training camp. Just like the fall athletes do with their summer break. Each programme and their coach will provide athletes with the necessary training plans for their time off over Christmas.
Just because the fall athletes have had their competitive season does not mean they won’t be working everyday in the spring to make sure they become better athletes for the following fall season. The spring athletes will have also spent the fall semester working on strength and conditioning to make sure they have the right base to compete when their season rolls around. Many athletes find the ‘off season’ physically more demanding than when they are in competition. From lifting sessions to long runs and then technical work the workload in the off season is still highly demanding.
Either way being a student athlete is a year round occupation, there is very little ‘downtime’. If you are spending time relaxing and overindulging there will be other athletes who are using that time to be productive, and when the both of you meet there will only be one winner.