Off season sports and games for cross training and skills development

Encourage them to play various off season sports and games

When I ran my basketball skills training business, I gave all of my athletes a list of off season sports and games they could play that would help  them develop their skills.

These weren’t the obvious sports or games you might think about.  For example, a basketball player might also play baseball in the spring and summer.

That is fine.  And I actually encourage players to play other sports if they are interested.

Instead, I wanted to give them different ideas that didn’t take a lot of time to do if they just wanted to have fun while being able to keep their skills sharp.

Avoiding burn out and injury

I think players need a break from their favorite sport to avoid both injury and burn-out.

Most players might only want to focus on one sport though. 

That’s o.k. as long as the training they get (the training that you are providing) is varied enough that it prevents the overuse of certain muscle groups (to avoid injury).

It is also helpful to stimulate the brain in various ways so the athlete stays mentally sharp.

This is why I like to give this list of simple games that are both fun and challenging.

List of games

These can be played during the season too, but I encourage athletes to do a few of them during the off-season. 

These games might seem a lot different from the sport you coach, but they are excellent for developing and enhancing hand-eye coordination, which is important for most sports (except for  soccer, but soccer players can still benefit from playing these).

  • Air Hockey – to develop quick hands and reflexes
  • Table tennis – to develop quick hands, reflexes and rhythm
  • Darts – for developing concentration, steady hands, and focus
  • Horseshoes – for developing coordination…you must use the right amount of arc and distance to place the horseshoe as close to a specific target as possible. The distance remains the same for every throw, so once you develop a reliable system for “pitching”, you can get predictable results. 
  • Foosball – sort of like air hockey, for developing quick hands and reflexes
  • Miniature golf – for developing steady hands, focus, and taking shots at a target
  • Bowling – Concentration, hitting targets. Also, good bowlers develop a certain rhythm (just like good free throw shooters, for example, or baseball pitchers). They get comfortable with their ball, get set up in a relaxed stance, focus on their target, and proceed with their shot. Again, a consistent, reliable system will produce predictable results.

Along with this list, I would tell players to try to get good at these games with both hands.

This will help the brain to develop it’s own “muscle power”.  Getting good at various skills becomes a habit.

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