For athletes in their off-season, summer is the time to grow as a player and competitor, both mentally and physically. It’s where the good dig deep into their focus and toughness — and become great.
Summer off-season training camps offer student athletes the opportunity to stay active and develop skills that will help them in the heat of any moment. Athlete Training and Health (ATH) works with individuals and school programs during the summer to provide athletes with structure to continue to grow in their sport and build mental toughness during the hottest months of the year. “I think there is value in toughing it out,” says ATH Sports Performance Coach, Sean Willix. When a player has to battle in the heat, it’s a challenge to stay mentally focused, but once fall or winter hits, you have already exercised that discipline to stay focused amidst pressure from external factors.
It can be difficult to hold yourself accountable during the summer when friends and classmates are taking time off. Sometimes it’s necessary to take some time away from your sport during the off-season to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind before starting up again, but greatness can also arise from the sacrifice.
Putting in the time and work into your sport, instead of with friends, can be difficult. However, the payoff and edge an athlete can gain competing and honing their skills during a summer training camp will not go unrewarded during the sports season. Off-season work teaches student athletes the patience it takes to prepare. When you attend a summer camp, you know when your season starts and you’re able to map out, and see your plan of what you need to focus on and prepare ahead of time.
As a Performance Coach at ATH, Willix has also been tasked with working and collaborating with school programs and coaching staffs. He is currently working with the athletics program at Grand Oaks High School in Conroe, Texas. “I sit down with their staff and have a conversation about what they have available to them, what they are expecting, what they want to get done, and then I go back and create a program for them,” explains Willix. Together, Willix and the coaches at Grand Oaks are conducting a summer performance camp for over 450 junior high and high school athletes. The entire program is focused on building culture and helping athletes improve performance during the off-season.
Coach Sean Willix coaching with Grand Oaks athletes at York Middle School. The new 6A high school will open its elite facilities later this summer.
There are a number of benefits to bringing in an ATH coach to work with a program. Maybe the most important benefit is that it simply frees up the coaching staff’s time. This allows them to direct their focus to the laundry list of other tasks they have to worry about on a given day, and still be confident that, when it comes to strength and conditioning, their team is in good hands. “Strength and conditioning is obviously a priority for coaches, but strength and conditioning is what we do, so we can take the weight off of them when it comes to that,” says Willix.
Each program designed by one of our seasoned Performance Coaches is tailored to the specific and individualized needs of high school programs. Communication with the team and staff is an integral part of developing and refining a program that encompasses the needs and wants of each team to help make good programs great.
Strength and conditioning camps are not just designed for football athletes. Young female athletes are also part of these camps and learn important technique in the weight room to help prevent common female growth injuries.
The framework to a great program doesn’t stop with a team’s starting lineup. A great program has depth in their roster, and that depth is built in the off-season. During an ATH summer training camp, ATH works with the second- and third-string athletes, whose development can sometimes be neglected, and give them the attention they need to get bigger, faster and stronger for the betterment of the whole program.
Working to develop an individualized program that develops each player on the roster takes more time than is typically available to a team during the season. “During the school year, kids are rushing to and from class to practice, trying to get changed quickly, and end up with only 30 minutes in the weight room. That’s not enough time to get anything done,” explains Willix. In the summer, with two-hours to dedicate to getting bigger, faster and stronger, teams are able to get a lot more done.
And the good teams getting it done become great – ahead of the new season.