Maintain, Gain or Recover?

As the football season comes to a close players will be jetting off around the world. Dubai, L.A, Private Islands in the Maldives, Sardinia, Las Vegas or maybe Ibiza. Players of all ages will have different views of what they need to comeback better players next season. Even those who have crucial games in the upcoming weeks will have contemplated what they need during off-season to hit the ground running on their return to their club.

As a player I made gains in off-season, I limited loses by just maintaining after playing most fixtures and I also made big mistakes along the way. My advice for any professional athlete is to get a complete team of specialists around you that know the game. A team that have your career progression and personal well being at the forefront of their priorities, people that you can trust. It doesn't have to be us but our opinion doesn't falter. Having a personal team that looks for opportunities to optimise the athlete and the person in tandem is the best way to progress in the modern game.

Players at all levels have many different managers, coaches and team mates throughout their career. Some of those relationships will be beneficial and some less so. While coaches want to increase the performance levels of individuals their focus has to be spread across the squad, recruitment, press commitments, their own career vision and other responsibilities. This leaves a gap for a private team to spend time focusing purely on what is best for the player with the player always making the final decision without the other distractions and time limitations managers and coaches have to deal with on a daily basis.

At Lit Within we work with our clients to bring them everything they require to gain, maintain or simply recover during the off-season. Here are three examples of professional players that require different approaches in the off-season.

International Premier League Player

Playing nearly 50 games during the season including International appearances this player requires nothing more that rest and six mindset coaching session. They are spent looking at his reaction to losing possession/other mistakes during games which hinder his reaction time for the defensive phase of play that follows. During the sessions the player came to realise the cumulative impact this habit can have on his career, he saw that even with frustration blaming teammates for errors was impacting his ability to perform at his best. He also concluded that the niggling injuries towards the end of the season were a result of playing just too many games. He decided it was the right time to retire from international football allowing more rest throughout the season.

Championship Academy Player

After being released from a Premier league club his first season saw him included in the first teams league cup squad. After a two week holiday his drive was such that he wanted to improve in every area of his game. Mindset, nutrition, strength, mobility and specific technical skills were developed in conjunction. We sourced a set-piece delivery specialist and a former international player/coach to go through video analysis of his off-the-ball movement. This is all part of his vision to increase assists and to develop the best set-piece delivery at the club. We're sure he will secure a regular place in the first team over the next two seasons.

League Two Player

After missing a large part of the season with a persistent knee-ligament injury we assessed his season. He'd played just under 20 times and was still unhappy with how his knee was feeling. During an open and honest discussion about fear during big tackles since the injury he also decided he needed a confidential second opinion away from his club on his knee. We sourced a Premier League physio for a private consultation. The physio recommended a consultation with a leading specialist . The specialist's opinion was that more surgery was unnecessary. He outlined that stability was a problem that needed addressing during the off-season and continually throughout pre-season. The player followed the physio's programme and the knee wasn't a problem throughout the following season.

One of the concerns we talked through was the added personal cost of these consultations but when the conversation moved to the benefits long-term of playing 40+ games a season we both agreed the investment would yield more game time and less missed training sessions. The player has aspirations to play at the highest level so game time and training time are as always integral to his development towards that. He may or may not meet those goals but he will give himself every opportunity to continually improve, maximising his career and well-being in unison, knowing that whatever happens he is free to enjoy both his game and personal time.

These are three different aspects of what maybe the best use of the off-season for professional athletes. The athletes we work with are always looking for an edge while still enjoying the game and their personal life. We know the best information comes from open and honest discussions on what they truly want and what is standing in their way.

Once players are clear on exactly where they are in their career phase and what is important to them they have license to see things as they are, taking the action they know they need is a natural progression from there. They are able to look closely at what can be learned from the best players in the world and fit that into their vision of playing the game. They can talk openly about their technical, physical and psychological strengths as well as their weaknesses. This is something many players find difficult as that level of trust and honesty is not there at their club and sometimes a fear of looking weak or giving a club a reason to move you on can be a concern.

That is why we are here for athletes at every point in their career and beyond. We have a genuine and transparent service that keeps the best interests of our clients in first place. We maintain privacy and confidentiality at all times unless agreed upon.

If you are looking to gain, maintain or recover during the off-season then get in touch at for a FREE Off-Season Online Consultation (30 mins).

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