As the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) looms, the adrenaline and anticipation for the elite 1% of rodeo athletes are palpable. However, what about the other 99% during this so-called off-season? In the world of rodeo, where there's essentially no dedicated off-season, finding a balance becomes crucial for long-term success.
In a recent podcast we discussed how rodeo athletes can navigate this unique challenge. I want to emphasize the importance of breaking down the continuous season into manageable parts, understanding what needs attention during each phase, and creating purposeful goals to avoid burnout.
One key aspect we discussed was the current decrease in competition volume during the winter months. Wrapping up circuit finals and taking a moment to reflect on the past season is crucial. It provides an opportunity for athletes to reset, recover, and plan for the upcoming year. It’s important to acknowledge the toll a full year of constant competition takes on the body and mind. Create and work a plan that allows you to recover from that.
Here’s a tip for you, one that I recommend to my athletes during this period. After wrapping up circuit finals, take a week off. Or at least step back and focus on mobility to help your body reset. Reflecting on the past season and setting goals for the future becomes a priority during this time. For those without immediate competitions on the horizon, utilizing this time as a traditional off-season is crucial.
The off-season is a chance to address the catabolic nature of the rodeo season. Athletes experience breakdowns, both physically and mentally, during the intense competition periods. Without a dedicated off-season, the risk of not recuperating from these challenges becomes apparent. So I implore you to a break, allow the body to recover, and you can even focus on building muscle during this time.
Your off-season is a great time to gear your workouts toward hypertrophy (muscle growth). This is a unique opportunity for rodeo athletes to focus on higher training frequencies, with the aim of building lean tissue. I promise you won’t get “too big” by adding one 8 or 12-week hypertrophy cycle into your plan.
This is also a great time to really improve the mental aspect of your game. Techniques like visualization, goal-setting, and maintaining a positive mindset, can enhance your mental preparedness leading to success in the arena. Athletes who use this time to work on these aspects without the pressure of immediate competitions will be better for it come next spring.
The off-season is also a time to hone in your nutrition, prioritizing protein and carbohydrates. Getting around one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight will help you replenish the lean tissue lost during the busy summer run. Carbs are an important fuel source for our bodies in sport. If you plan to hit the gym hard this winter, make sure you don’t skip the carbs.
In conclusion, the off-season for rodeo athletes is not just a period of rest; it's a strategic phase to set the foundation for the upcoming season. By focusing on consistency, addressing weaknesses, and creating healthy habits, athletes can maximize their off-season and position themselves for long-term success in the competitive world of rodeo.
Til next time.
To listen to the full episode where we provide more tips and tricks, check out Champion Living Podcast episode 145.