Coaching Academy: off-season or train through?

Coaches are often confronted with this question at the end of the season.

We therefore asked Marc Pschebizin aka “Mister Inferno” about the topic. Marc is a three-time coach of the year in the Trier region and has a clear answer: “Season breaks are just as much a part of training as, for example, the taper phase before a competition”.


The whole year is about how athletes move their bodies ideally to their top form. The focus is on targeted training, optimal nutrition, sufficient sleep and individual regeneration. – But everyone knows the feeling that at some point we want to let ourselves go. Not wanting to move and not having to go out. A very natural and human need arises. Especially on these colder days and rapidly approaching darkness. Your thoughts turn around: To simply exercise in an unstructured way and to go a bit overboard. Exactly then you are ready for the “off-season”.

Goal of an off-season:

To give the body and mind a well-deserved rest, review the past, cultivate other social contacts, make new plans, slow down, don’t make any appointments, and then reach your new performance level for the next season at full throttle.

During the transition period, Coach Pschebizin sits down with his athletes together and reviews the past.
How long should an off-season last?

There is no general answer to this question and it varies greatly depending on the athlete, age and sport. For Pschebizin’s athletes, the fire for the next season is sparked again after two to three weeks of “dolce vita“.

Off-season does not mean doing nothing

Marc Pschebizin recommends that his athletes keep the amount of training to a minimum, especially during this time. The off-season is also valuable for trying out new forms of exercise. Due to professional life and a tight training schedule, social contacts usually come too short. “Do something with family, friends and people you haven’t seen for a long time”.  

An important focus for athletes in this phase is to forge new plans for the sporting future, in addition to the “train as you go” principle.

Goals make the path clear

All beginnings require a goal. Therefore, it is also the most important prerequisite for our motivation. Because:

” Who does not know the harbour into which he wants to sail, no wind is the right one for him.”

Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD) on the need to set goals in life.

The goal should be realistic, challenging and in the best case measurable. In the off-season or transition period, Coach Pschebizin sits down with his athletes together to sketch out the future. Here, he is asking them about their goals for the coming athletic year:

  • “Where exactly do I want to go?
  • By what means can I get there?
  • Where do I see myself in the foreseeable future ?
  • What does my future target state look like ?”


Visualisations and writing down key data help in this process. “AZUM is my wonderful helper for this, to record the goals and make them tangible for the athletes in the training planning. The tool makes it so easy and at the same time motivating to visualise your thoughts clearly,” Pschebizin tells us.  

Success becomes more tangible with partial steps.

Many start highly motivated and slacken off until the final phase. Some lose the desire and motivation to continue on their way after a short time. To prevent this, ambitious, challenging goals should always be broken down into sub-goals. 

In a survey of Olympic and world champions, it was not those who focused exclusively on one big goal who were particularly successful. Rather, success lay with those for whom the path to victory was the actual goal.

  • Therefore, Pschebizin developed process goals with his athletes and records them in AZUM by means of training cycles. The intermediate goals guide the focus on the present moment and the task required in the here and now. With this strategy, his athletes remain sustainably motivated over a long time, which paves the way to the main goal and thus to success.

Understanding between coach & athlete creates trust and encourages

As is well known, self-perception and the perception of others can often diverge widely. A coach gives his protégés a sense of security and encourages them. Thus, dealing with perception is a must for every athlete.

A good coach always focuses on the realistic goal and then picks up his athletes where they are. The coach should therefore always ask how the athlete is feeling at the moment and check, either in conversation or using the monitoring function of AZUM, whether intermediate goals or the end-of-season goal has/have been achieved. In this way, coaches can intervene, communicate, slow down or motivate at the right moment.

Finally, “Mister Inferno” shares a quote from one of the greatest athletes and role models of our time. It has become his personal motto in life:

” The one who is not brave enough to take risks will never achieve anything in life.”

(Muhammad Ali)


With this in mind, we wish the winter athletes a good start to the season and the summer athletes a relaxing off-season.

Your team AZUM


Marc Pschebizin – Mister Inferno Marcs sporting achievements are impressive: He has been doing competitive sports since he was 12 years old. Marc started in track and field in middle and long distance running before touring the world as a triathlon and duathlon professional for 20 years. During his professional career he has won prestigious awards: he counts 10 victories at the Inferno Triathlon, is Duathlon and XTERRA World Champion, besides being Ironman and Gigathlon winner. Today, Marc brings athletes to top performances with great success, including Jens Roth (5-time German Champion Cross-Triathlon, German Champion Cross-Duathlon, Vice European Champion Cross-Triathlon). He is also head coach of the triathlon national league team PSD Bank Tri Post Trier. Since 2019 AZUM system supports him to plan training programs and to monitor and analyze the progress of his athletes. His performance alongside the athletes is excellent: For three years in a row, namely from 2017 to 2019, he was recognized as “Coach of the Year” of the Trier region.

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