Whether it was the off-season and you were on break, you sustained an injury or became sick and had to take time to recover, or the world literally stopped because of a global pandemic, preparing to officiate again can be an anxious experience from a physical perspective.
You may have worries about becoming injured due to the long period of inactivity you just went through, or perhaps you’re concerned you’ve lost your progress from before and are frustrated with efforts that now seem fruitless.
Don’t worry. With the right plan and attitude, you can bring yourself right back to game-ready status. If done right, you might even come back better than before.
That said, the degree of detraining that you encounter is dependent upon both your activity level and your sport. For example, officials who run constantly during games can keep their fitness form longer without training than the strength and stamina-based officials who must hold position for long periods. 2
Don’t Go From 0 to 60
You’re understandably eager to jump right back into training, but if you’ve been inactive for several months, the truth is you’ve probably lost strength, flexibility and stamina. The transitional time from inactivity to game-ready fitness is when most injuries occur. 3
You know you will need a transitional period of re-adaptation to remind your muscles, your lungs, and your heart what they used to be capable of. If you jump right into training without letting your body adapt, you could find yourself burdened with injuries and illnesses. 1
Your main fitness goal during the transition time should be to acclimate your body mindfully and with care, listening to your body’s warning signs (excessive pain or stiffness) and allow yourself to take time off if you experience those warning signs.
Pushing through them may cause you more delay down the road if you get hurt, which is completely antithetical to your goals! Give yourself enough time to gradually increase your training so you don’t need to rush.
It may seem like you will never get there, especially if you’re taking necessary breaks. But trust the process. You’ll not only be consistently improving your body, but you’ll also be minimizing your risk of injury.
When returning to training or officiating after an extended break, you have to make sure that you are not putting too much on your plate all at once. 4
How to Start Again
Properly managing the load that is being placed on you during transition training will not only help reduce overexertion and prevent injuries, but it will also positively affect your performance when you return to the sport in full.
When you are ready to start training again, begin with low-intensity drills to reacclimate yourself to exercise and the specific movements that are required by your specific sport. When you have adapted to this lower intensity, slowly progress to more intense exercises.
Watch your heart rate, listen to your body’s warning signs and rest when necessary. You will be back to your old self (and perhaps better) in no time. Patience and persistence always pay off.
And Don’t Go From 60 to 0
You know the saying – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Once you’re back in shape and you’ve spent an entire season being fit and performing at your best, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to stop training. Unless you’ve been injured, there’s no reason not to continue the “in-season” workout mentality or a modified version of it.
The reality of leagues dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may also cause a sudden stoppage of play and unexpected downtime. You should make up your mind to never go from full throttle to couch potato ever again because the longer you go without exercise and training, the less your muscles will be able to retain the effects of the training you’ve done. 2
“Muscular detraining,” is when muscles are not able to maintain fitness levels, so if you haven’t been training (whether due to injury or another reason) your muscles have effectively “detrained”. 2
You worked hard for the strength, speed and endurance you need to work a full season. By staying active, sports officials can minimize muscular detraining, because they never fully let their body go without some type of training stimuli. That’s why it’s better to do something rather than nothing, even if it’s not your regular, intense training regime.
When the time comes around to work again, you’ll be in a much better place when training resumes rather than just starting from zero all over again. 2
TRY AN ONLINE SPORTS OFFICIALS’ FITNESS CLASS FOR FREE
With many gyms closed or at limited capacity, it’s harder than ever to stay in shape or get back into shape. With a return to play on the horizon, now is the time to try a fitness class, tailored to sports officiating, in the comfort of your home. Try a free class or purchase a package today. LEARN MORE
- Halson, Shona. “Monitoring Training Load to Understand Fatigue in Athletes.” The Journal of Sports Medicine. 9 Sep, 2014.
- Inigo, Mujika., & Sabino Padilla. “Muscular Characteristics of Detraining in Humans.” Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” Aug 2001.
- Caterisano, A., Decker, D.., Snyder, B., et al. (2019). “CSCCa and NSCA joint consensus guidelines for transition periods: Safe return to training following inactivity.” Strength and Conditioning Journal, 41 (3), 1-23.
- Drew, Michael., & Caroline Finch. “The Relationship Between Training Load and Injury, Illness and Soreness: A Systematic and Literature Review.” The Journal of Sports
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