An appropriate in-season training program can be the key to maintaining the performance gains made in the athlete’s Off-Season. Athletes want to avoid overtraining when their seasonal sport begins. Your in-season training program’s goals should be to preserve strength gains while controlling volume and frequency.
Depending on their Off-Season commitment, our athletes just spent 3-6 months working hard and stressing their body to new limits they never thought they could reach. All athletes have different training goals. Some want to be bigger. Some athletes want to decrease their body fat. Some athletes want to be stronger and faster with hopes that their new capabilities will help them perform at a higher level in the upcoming season.
Unfortunately, a lot of athletes (and coaches) stop strength training once their season begins. Is it a distress of being too tired from a workout? Or is it a distress that it will cut into practice time? The former comments previously mentioned are common excuses athletes will usually use to avoid training during their season, while the latter’s a common reason a coach may provide for why their team doesn’t do in-season training.
Unfortunately, strength and conditioning is the number one aspect of physical preparation that becomes neglected once athletes enter their season regardless of the sport. Between practice, games, film, and meetings the weight room is always the last part of the equation (sometimes it isn’t even in the equation).
SO WHY DO ATHLETES NEED TO TRAIN IN SEASON?
- Maintain Performance – Missing scheduled/organized lifts in the weight room in-season can be detrimental on an athlete’s strength levels. The stronger the athlete is, the more force they can produce. Being more forceful means that they will be able to continue to run faster, jump higher, and hit harder.
- Durability – The two most important qualities of an athlete are durability and availability. Is the athlete available to play their sport? Is the athlete durable enough to continue to play and adapt to the stressors within their sport?
- Long term development – For lasting development of your physical abilities, strength training in-season is extremely important Year to year athletes want to improve, but if you let your off-season gains disappear every time you enter your sport (in-season), it will be difficult to sustain your strength.
- Manage fatigue – Managing your in-season fatigue is extremely vital to success. What matters the most in-season is optimal performance on game day. The right amount of volume in the weight room along with the right amount of rest, and proper nutrition (fuel) is the crucial antidote athletes can lose track of In-Season.
- Limit muscle soreness – Muscle soreness becomes a commonality for all athletes in-season. The athlete can experience decreased ranges of motion in the extremities, reduction of power and strength, and changes in their lifting technique (if they train). Keeping workouts simple and straight forward with minor progressions will allow the athlete to train without having any negative effects on the playing field due to “overtraining”.
- Nutrition – Eating with purpose over pleasure 85% of the time. At the most basic level, nutrition is important for athletes because it provides a source of energy required to perform activities. The food we eat impacts our strength, training, performance and recovery. Not only is the type of food important for sports nutrition but the times we eat throughout the day also has an impact on our performance levels and our bodies ability to recover after exercising.