The Covid-19 pandemic has become especially draining mentally for athletes and coaches with no practices or games to take part in right now or in the immediate future. They're now trying to find ways to prepare for an uncertain future.

While athletes wait for the day they can play again, many are trying to keep in shape by lifting, swinging a bat or throwing a ball at home.

While that's important, Monmouth County Mental Performance Coach Michael Huber in Rumson, who has worked with a number of High School Coaches and Athletes during the pandemic quarantine, is concerned athletes spend too much free time working out so he cautions them to think about the long term consequences to your body.

"If somebody is working out four times a day on their own and then all of the sudden things open back up and they start playing summer ball or they get back to the fall when they're in the school routine...they're not going to be able to operate under that heavy workout load so I encourage them to taper off so that as you get closer to participating again, you're not going from 100 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour because you've got other things to do," Huber told WOBM News/Shore Sports Network.

Huber recommends slowing things down, practicing mindfulness, finding balance and staying in the moment by taking note of your progress and goals in a journal.

With a lot of uncertainty and not much guidance on when sports will resume again by the state many athletes may be feeling anxious over what the future holds for their playing days.

Huber recommends focusing on the things that you can control so you don't burnout mentally or physically.

"For a lot of people sports are a big part of their lives and identities," Huber said. "I think keeping things in perspective is the number one thing but continue to work on the things that you can if you feel like you need to work on it. The last thing I would ever want anybody to do is feel burnt out or move towards a burnout in a situation where they're not actually participating. I think everybody has to find their way. This is a totally unique situation."

There's also a range of emotions for athletes especially the high school and college seniors as well as the coaches who are preparing for a season this year that may not be allowed to happen.

"For some of the (high school) seniors that are not going to go on and play in college, this might be the last time they're going to play organized sports," Huber said. "I think the coaches know that they're (themselves) are going to be back at some-point but I think that they are clearly frustrated. I think though as adults they understand the gravity of the situation."

Self-motivation is key for athletes playing the waiting game right now because when restrictions are lifted you'll want to be ready physically and mentally.

Jamie Costanzo, a Mental Game Coach based in Manchester Township, explains that you want to sharpen your skill sets but be sure to practice things like dribbling a basketball or soccer ball with a full 100-percent effort.

"Don't just do it to do it and get it over with," Costanzo told WOBM News/Shore Sports Network. "If you're not into doing it figure out why that is and maybe just do some exercises to build up your endorphines and get the endorphines moving in the brain because that'll help you get motivated ant help you focus on your skills."

Costanzo says athletes should also try visualize their kicks, swings and throws to stay game ready.

Another good way to stay mentally and physically prepared for an unknown future on the field is to speak virtually with your coach to know how to prepare and Costanzo says also get feedback on your developing skillset.

"They can make the changes immediately, then they can go and change it and the come back and show the coach what they did," Costanzo said.

She also explains that reading about sports, watching them on TV especially professional athletes and even dreaming or thinking about sports help to stimulate the mind and keep you game ready.

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