All athletes, no matter the sport, have a training program that changes throughout the year. There is a base period (pre-season), a build period (in-season), a peak/competitive period (post-season), and an off period (off-season).
Strength, agility, and plyometrics should all be included in sport-performance training. As a complement, yoga should be included as a recovery tool to improve flexibility, decrease chance of injury, reduce fatigue, and help keep the mind sharp. However, just like an athlete’s training regimen changes throughout the year, so should their yoga practice.
In other words, if your athletes are not practicing season specific yoga, their training program could be undermined.
During the pre-season, athletes are in preparation mode. Practice times increase and training intensifies. The focus during this period should be on building a solid foundation of strength and stability.
With yoga, athletes should work on maintaining a consistent, dynamic flexibility practice in order to build strength around the joints, prevent injury, and improve stabilization. Yes, yoga is about increasing flexibility, but it also is very effective at helping build strength safely.
Dynamic yoga, or Vinyasa, should not be “power flow” for elite, competitive athletes. It should be a mindful flow that teaches how to maintain control of the breath, build determination, and intensify the yoga practice. Standing postures, warrior sequences, and sun salutations may be included to keep the body moving, build heat, and increase strength.
It only takes 20-30 minutes each week of athlete-appropriate dynamic yoga to start seeing the benefits.
During the season, an athlete’s focus is on getting more specific with training (both in the weight room and with technical skills) as well as participating in the intense work on the court/field. This leads to incurring ample repetitive movement, which is necessary for elite play but doesn’t come without issues like imbalances and overuse injuries.
In order to prevent the damage of repetition and likelihood of physical asymmetries, keeping up with an appropriate yoga practice is necessary. Maintaining recovery and stretching protocols will help keep muscles and tissues healthy and performing their best.
Yoga that is appropriate for the season should be consistent and mellow, with the goal of maintaining all the flexibility gained during the pre-season. It should not be too dynamic, encouraging fatigue, nor too static, encouraging injury.
When in doubt, a short athlete-appropriate yoga class can be added to the end of a practice or training session just 1-2 times per week. Athletes will move better and recover faster, so they can go back to playing the next day stronger and more refreshed!
When athletes are participating in elite play (such as nationals, qualifiers, playoffs, and championships), their goal should be restoring the body and mind in order to maintain focus and prevent burnout. The most effective recovery methods for athletes to use to get through the post-season, and ahead of the competition, are breathwork, meditation, and restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga creates a state of deep relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest system) with long-held, prop-supported poses that gently stretch the muscles. This type of passive stretching allows for muscles to relax and not surpass their edge. Unlike yin yoga, restorative yoga has been found to stimulate collagen and encourage healing over time.
Taking time to rest and restore is essential to being a healthy athlete, especially during times of intense competition. It can reduce fatigue, decrease stress, boost performance, and keep the mind sharp.
For every sport, there is an ending. When that ending is temporary, we consider it the off-season. There may not be games or tournaments but training is still essential for returning to the court/field healthy and performing optimally. It’s a time for athletes to focus on what will give them the competitive advantage for the next season.
Generally speaking, there are two types of off-season athletes. Those that are completely healthy and those that need to recover or repair an injury.
Athletes who feel completely healthy and have no limitations given by a medical professional can continue to do light training in the gym and pick any style of yoga to practice. It all works (as long as it’s athlete-appropriate)! Off-season is the time for exploration.
Athletes who have unfortunately suffered injury during the season must first be cleared by a doctor. Then it would be best for them to complete a Functional Movement System screening and a personalized corrective exercise program in addition to some recovery-focused yoga. These tools will get the athlete back to the playing field in a safe, more timely manner.
Off-season is also a great time to incorporate breathwork and meditation. Athletes can always benefit from working their respiratory muscles and mind. Practice these techniques helps athletes become more resilient for the next season.
Make your life easier with YAX Online!
Yoga Athletex offers the perfect solution: YAX Online! You can easily incorporate season-specific recovery for volleyball athletes into your current team training using this on-demand platform.
YAX Online features 200+ videos of recovery methods such as yoga, breathwork, mediation, SMR, and more – all designed to improve performance, decrease injury, and increase playing time.
How to get started:
- INQUIRE: Fill out the form to get a quote. You’ll receive a proposal with discounted team pricing and you’ll have the option for a complimentary Zoom call to go over any questions.
- REGISTER: Sign up and submit payment.
- ONBOARDING: Provide your athletes’ names and emails so they can be sent their logins to start using YAX Online! You’ll get an onboarding Zoom call with your team or club to help your athletes get started.
Make the next season the best yet by incorporating season-specific recovery for volleyball athletes. Take the first step by getting a quote on team pricing here.
Free Recovery Guide
This Recovery Guide provides a clear blueprint for incorporating recovery methods (such as yoga, meditation, and breathwork)into into training depending on the athletic season (pre-season, in-season, post-season, and off-season).
For each season, it gives you a class type for:
Yoga Athletex would be happy to answer any questions you have! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you shortly.