I believe in rest days and BREAKS especially during the Holidays!
In fact, I build optional homework plans for my pitchers to perform over break at a 60%-80% level of energy. As for rest days, I encourage them to sleep, eat and some active recovery like walking, yoga and even swimming. As for Mondays after throwing in a tournament I encourage them to communicate with their coach before Monday and let them know they need to go light as their arm is still in a healing process from the micro tears that happen to the muscle (like lifting weights)
FUN FACT: Communication is always key!
Let’s talk about those Holidays breaks.
As a coach I know this can be a very grey area for some because they make be experiencing FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out on both side of a Holiday break.
On one side there is the optional homework that your coach has sent you and then there is the other side of just leaning into the Holidays. Whichever one you choose to do, OWN IT!
Just like each batter you face stepping up to your plate, they should have a plan of action.
So should you!
**I do know most College Athletes have a workout plan for Christmas break and it isn't optional. If by chance they don't do the workout and come back from and they aren't better...well you already know what is going to happen to that colligate athlete.
Actions will always speak louder than words.
REST DAYS VS.HOLIDAY BREAKS
So how do you as a pitcher own your rest days?
No really, how do you own your rest days?
Do you just veg out in your room, or do you sleep in and then wake up and eat a hearty breakfast then take a walk? I know some of you out there, if you are like my daughter who is a pitcher too, plays first and loves to hit, she re-coups by taking an Epsom salt bath, eating some of her favorite foods then she hankers down in her bedroom and watches movies.
Resting isn’t not just a key to allowing your body to recover physically but it also allows your mind, and your emotions recover. It allows you to process your performance as the pitcher with the ability to step away from the mound, while protecting your joy for the position with RECOVERY in mind so that you can perform to your best in the next moment (practice and games).
What do you do on breaks, especially Holiday breaks?
Well, I am a fan of 4 weeks completely off a year. This can look like several days put together that equal 4 weeks or taking 2 weeks off over Christmas break one week off during Spring break and one week off during Fall break (if you have a Fall break). The biggest thing to remember is WHY you are doing it. If you do it because you are choosing to be lazy then there is a breakdown in your setting goals system, this is another discussion on another day.
If you are choosing to take a week off during Fall break because you are traveling with family, then do it. I know it sounds silly but in order to own your moments in the intense part of the position you play you also must be able to own your rest days as well.
Another tool you can add to your toolbox of Holiday break or rest days in general is journaling. Speaking of goals maybe you would like to set some or maybe you did 6 months ago, and you need to check in on your progress. One of the journal prompts I encourage my pitchers to make are Post Tourney Brain Dumps with 4 simple questions from your position to how your team did.
So, with that being said if you are taking a week off during Thanksgiving, I hope you ate your favorite food, took naps and even went for a walk or too.
This next paragraph you are about to read might blow your mind...