Snow is starting to blanket the ground and baseball fields are stark but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be preparing for Spring Training. The offseason can throw you a curve ball if you aren’t careful so take the time to set a routine that enables you to take care of your body and be properly prepared come spring.

Here are five recommended tips on how to maximize the off season.

1. Up your mental game – How mentally tough are you? Do you get frustrated quickly or does the game speed up on you in certain situations? If so, it’s time to hone in on your mental skills, which play a huge part of your athletic performance and success. Authors and industry leaders on the mental game: Brian Cain, Angela Duckworth, Ken Ravissa and John Maxwell to name a handful. Educate yourself. Remember, the mental game can be a learned trait with discipline and belief in the process. A handful of my favorite motivational speakers are Eric Thomas, Les Brown, the late Greg Plitt and Tony Robbins. They all talk a lot about how to grind and stay focused on long term goals realizing that every day is an opportunity to get better. Find some speakers or authors you can relate to and listen to them often.

2. Create a training schedule – It’s critical to make sure you are consistent in your physical training. Work with your teammates and coaches to determine your strengths and weaknesses and then use the time to make improvements as necessary. Once you lay out what your routine should look like weekly, stick with it. And don’t just do what’s tried and true like weight training only. We highly recommend additional exercises like yoga and flexibility/stretching. Pitchers too should especially use this time to continue strengthening their core. Remember “dreams without a plan is wishful thinking.”

3. Compete with no one – When you are off the field, you should only be competing with yourself. This is not the time to compare yourself to other players. The off season should be a time of personal growth and development and improving your performance. Nothing else. Always measure your activities and try beating them with every workout.

4. Pay attention to nutrition – Tis the season for comfort food, which is ok every now and again but be mindful of what you put in your body because if you eat junk, you will feel like junk. Eat power foods that are going to help fuel you through your day. Stay away from energy drinks and sodas and use supplements that will help build your immunity during the cold and flu season. Stay disciplined to your nutritional plan and you will reap the benefits later.

5. De-stress and rest – Often times, the holidays bring unneeded anxiety and chaotic schedules. Take time to pull back and rejuvenate. While it’s easy to want to say yes to everyone, try to take some nights to yourself while you are at home.

Following this protocol will definitely help you properly prepare during the offseason, and come Spring, you’ll be ready to bring your “A” game to the ball field and off the field as positive habits create great results.