An athletes' training year should be divided into 5 different training phases. Off-season, Pre-season, In-season, Post-season(playoffs), and Recovery. Each phase should place different but appropriate demands on the athletes and will garner different results. Within these phases training cycles should provide periodization which allows progression while eliminating common plateaus. In this blog we will take a look at In-season training which I believe is one of the biggest black eyes in sports from youth to professional athletes. Many athletes get out of their playing seasons having lost excessive amounts of weight and strength which greatly effects performance and puts your Off-season goals far away.
GOALS of any in-season sport program are nearly identical and very simple: Maintain strength and power (Varsity/ Upper classmen) or improve strength and power developed in off-season programs (freshman/JV/Redshirts). You have to look at an athletes progress to be measured in years not weeks. Bottom line: It's much easier to get stronger in the off-season when you MAINTAIN strength during the season. It's a waste to spend off-season time regaining lost strength. The other GOAL is injury reduction. There is no injury prevention but you can guarantee to give your athletes the best shot against it. Stability / Anti-rotation core maintenance is great for injury reduction. If done correctly your team will look stronger and faster at the end of the season but the truth is, everyone else is slower and weaker. Here are a few rules for inseason training:
TRAIN CONSISTENTLY. A good Inseason program lifts minimum 3 times per week for freshman/JV/Varsity/Redshirts. It should be a priority to build the program and the athletes over the course of their career so my belief is that all varsity athletes should lift a minimum of 3 days per week. In addition, sub varsity or redshirt athletes may lift 4-5 times a week because thier development is more important than on field performances on the practice field or JV game field. One of my most respected colleagues is Jim Radcliffe who serves as the head of strength and conditioning at Oregon. I have observed the Ducks lifting three times a week regardless of game schedule or opponent. In the course a year those workouts add up and in the context of four years- they mean everything to a program.
MAKE IT COUNT. Mandatory training sessions should target no longer than 30-40 minutes. 30 minutes is target with low impact movement prep/ Prehab, Strength, Regeneration(stretching, Mobility, etc). More is not better. Better is better. Intensity & Volume. Strength training(aside from power benefit) will help boost testosterone levels in guys and help the ladies with the health of their bones and joints. Don't do speed weights- It's a joke and your players will not get stronger. They will get skinny, weak, and really good at going 83% intensity. Being good at going 83% of your max intensity is a good way to get your butt beat, another reason I am against the popular "burnout" or "As Many Rounds As Possible" programs for athletes. Condition your athletes by setting the pace at PRACTICE. Build strength, power, and speed in the weight room. Staying strong and keeping your training residuals is your best case scenario.
NO WHINING. If you "save" legs in September they will fail you in November. Athletes don't like to lift inseason but they like to win. MAKE them. Too injured to lift is too injured to play.
PROGRESSION. Even though its Inseason- progressions should happen. Mix in Upper, Lower, bilateral, unilateral, Push, Pull, Stability, Rotation, Antirotation, and even minimal Plyometrics. After 2-4 weeks of a system, you should advance or change.
STAY IN SHAPE. What kind of conditioning are they getting from practice? Implement mild energy systems training in other areas to help keep the anaeorbic alactic, anaerobic lactic, and aerobic systems feeding each other for optimal performance.
Stay Strong this Season!
Bobby Stroupe FAFS FMR CSCS PES CES USAW