The baseball off-season is coming to an end. We had a bunch of baseball players work their butt off during the last couple of months at Endeavor, and they’re looking forward to taking all the gains they made with their training out on the field.
The way I write programs, I usually separate the off-season into 3 different phases where each phase has a different focus; the early off-season, the mid off-season and the late off-season. The early off-season is usually the shortest one of all 3 phases and puts almost all the emphasis on recovering from the previous season, fixing imbalances, recuperate, etc. The mid off-season is usually the longest phase and is where the heavy lifting comes into play, and we keep the focus on increased maximal strength, power, and muscle mass for the players that need to put on size.
The late off-season phase, which is the one our players are currently doing, focuses on speed, power, and essentially maximizing the transfer from the weight room on to the field. The max strength volume comes down quite a bit during that phase to make sure the players don’t end up overtrained. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, lots of speed and power training puts a lot of stress on the CNS.
One thing that I focus on during that late off-season phase is to maximize the amount of training in both the frontal and transverse plane. If you think about most classic lifting exercises they all develop strength in the sagittal plane (squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses, rows, etc). The reality is that on the field athletes almost never need to develop force exclusively in the sagittal plane, whether it’s when they throw, when they chase a ball, or when they hit.
There is an increased need for baseball players, just like athletes in most other sports, to develop force in the frontal and transverse planes. This is something you might not have noticed if you don’t really include multi-planar exercises in your programs, but most athlete have a really hard time developing force in the frontal plane. It is not very natural for them, yet, it can boost their performance on the field like crazy!
So let’s drop the theoretical concepts of frontal plane and transverse plane. What does that mean concretely in a training program?
There are different ways to help develop force and explosive power in the frontal plane. My 2 favorite exercises for that purpose are probably the lateral sled drag and the lateral bound (with or with resistance).
As for the transverse plane, you can get pretty creative with all the med ball throw variations and speed drills with changes of direction.
These are just some examples, but there are plenty of other ways you can include exercises and drills to optimize force production and explosive power for your athletes in the frontal and transverse plane in order to have maximize transferability of your gains made in training out on the field.
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It’s no surprise that playing sport at a high level takes a toll on your body. Sports with a particularly long competitive season like baseball, hockey and basketball are even more subject to leading to overuse injuries and causing shoulder, hip, knee and lower back issues, and decrease in performance as the season progresses. If you did things the right way growing up, you didn’t specialize too early in your sport, and you played a variety of other sports and activities. If that’s the case you’ve definitely done your best to avoid overuse injuries while developing general athleticism.
General athleticism: being able to give the Attitude Adjustment to a 500lbs giant
At the higher level though it becomes more important to focus on one sport. More often than not it means a lot of practices, a lot of training, and a lot of games played. To ensure optimal performance during long grueling seasons, you must do the right things. Here are 5 very important things to care of during the season.
1. Maintain your range of motion. This means a LOOOOOOOT of mobility work, and stretching. Putting yourself through the same repetitive motions for full seasons over the years will create some serious imbalances that need to be taken care of to stay away from overuse injuries. Way too many athletes consider hip flexor, groin and shoulder pain “normal”. It’s not. Your body is trying to tell you something is wrong and if you don’t take care of it, it will turn into an injury that’s gonna keep you on the sideline.
2. Take care of soft-tissue quality. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. I always go back to Mike Boyle’s band analogy. If you try to stretch a band that has a knot in it, it will only tighten up the knot. That’s why you need self soft-tissue work on a daily basis. And getting manual work done by a professional on a regular basis becomes increasingly important as you play at a higher level. It’s not a coincidence that every pro sport organization have manual therapists on their staff.
NOT that kind of manual therapy
3. Keep you strength up. As the season progress, everything usually go downhill– energy level, performance, etc. One of the reasons is that athletes lose strength throughout the season. Why even work on getting stronger during the off-season if you’re going to lose it all during the season? That’s why maintaining your strength is very important during the season; it will be a big factor in minimizing any decrease in performance. For younger athletes with less strength training experience you can even expect gains in strength during the season.
4. Nutrition. As the season progresses, a lot of athletes get more and more tired, they don’t have energy, they’re weak, etc. Is it a coincidence that most of them hardly eat 1 serving of vegetables per day? When you have to get up early for practices, you’re on the road a lot, and with everything else you’re trying to juggle with in your life, nutrition takes a back seat more often than not. That translates into a lot of “quick fixes” when it comes to eating. If you don’t fuel your body right, you can’t expect it to perform at the highest level; it’s direct correlation! Given that traveling doesn’t help an athlete’s cause at all, your best friends during the season should be: a good protein powder, nuts, fish oil, and a greens supplement. Also try to opt for healthier options when it comes down to restaurants.
5. Sleep. That seems to be another thing athletes don’t see too much of during the season. With the crazy schedule it’s not always easy to get enough quality sleep, but this is another factor directly related to performance. Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you get any less than that because of your crazy schedule, consider taking naps. This is a very efficient way to make up for the lack of sleep in your life. You could be surprised at how energizing just a 30 minute nap can feel. You might also want to consider natural sleep enhancers such as ZMA and Z-12. This is not something you should be taking every night, but when a much needed quality night of sleep is required, they might provide some help.
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No matter athletes from what sport you train, chances are their strength training will all have similarities. After all in the weight room you’re training qualities (speed, power, strength), not sport-specific movements. Sure there should be differences whether the sport is more linear, lateral, or rotational in nature, and there should also be differences in injury prevention strategies and conditioning. But overall there might be more similarities between programs for different sports than most people would think.
That said, training hockey players requires some very unique considerations because of the nature of the sport. Don’t get me wrong, hockey players still do reverse lunges, RFE split squats, deadlifts, chin ups, and chest presses. There are however things you should know when designing hockey strength training programs and training hockey players.
1. FAI. That stands for femoroacetabular impingement. This is something I have wrote about in the past, but is worth mentioning again. It’s basically a bony overgrowth of either the the femoral head or the acetabulum that restrict the range of motion, especially in hip flexion and internal rotation. It looks like this:
There are 3 types of FAI as you can see in the image above; Cam, Pincer, or mixed. Cam is when the overgrowth is on the femoral head, Pincer is when the overgrowth is on the acetabulum, and mixed is when there is a combination of both. The reason why this is so important is that it’s a limitation in range of motion that is non-modifiable– unless you get surgery. And it’s not like this is something uncommon; a previous study revealed the presence of FAI in over 70% of asymptomatic professional hockey players. You read that right, 70%! It’s over 2/3 of the whole hockey population at the professional level. If you train hockey players, and ignore this, or simply don’t know anything about it, you’re putting your players at greater risk of injuries. Athletes with FAI who force range of motion that they don’t have risk serious labrum damage. This is why assessing your players, and modifying their program accordingly is one of the top priorities.
2. Concussions are growing into an epidemic in hockey. I have also written about this in the past, and have wrote a full blog post on the subject, so make sure you check it out HERE. Not having any data to support this, I would guess that concussions are the number 1 most common injury in hockey players. Most concussions are largely unpreventable since it’s a traumatic injury. Concussions often times get worse and linger around for way longer than they should. One of the reasons: the neck. The poor posture (forward head) that most hockey players walk around with, which creates overly tight occipital muscles, and weak and often inhibited anterior neck flexors is a perfect set up for recurring headaches following a concussion. The rectus capitis minor specifically attaches to the lining that encapsulates the brain, and can be a very probable source of headaches if it’s overly tight. What’s the take-home from this point? Address the posture of your hockey players, and spend some time working on anterior neck strength and deep flexor stability.
3. Skating puts a tremendous amount of stress of the hips. It’s probably one of the most unnatural motions that the body can go through. And sure enough hockey players have a tendency to overdo it– showcases, clinics, summer leagues, etc. This is probably one of the reasons why structural problems such as FAI develop overt time. But even for players who don’t have FAI, it’s still very important to take care of the hips by foam rolling (and lacrosse ball), do a lot of mobility work, do prehab exercises and get manual work done on a regular basis to prevent further hip problems.
If you train hockey players and want to learn more, make sure you get Kevin Neeld’s book Ultimate Hockey Training. It’s by far the best hockey specific book out there.
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Speed-strength seems pretty self-explanatory, as a muscular quality. You want a good mix of speed and strength, but the emphasis should be a little more on speed than strength. Strength-speed, which is a different quality, also is a mix of speed and strength, but with a little more focus o strength. They’re both an expression of power, but with a focus more on strength, or speed, depending on the one you’re focusing on.
Strength-speed uses heavier weight and focuses on recruiting motor units. Speed-strength focuses on speed of movement and is closer to the actual speed of the sport.
In the end, both are important, but as you’re getting closer to competition you want to get closer to the speed of the sport- i.e. more speed than strength.
As you can see in the chart above, loads for speed-strength development are kept under 60% of 1RM. If you’re familiar with the application of percentages, you know that below 60% is pretty light. The focus should always be on the speed at which you’re moving the load. The quality of every single rep is important. You usually don’t get very tired from this type of work, and you might even feel like it does nothing.
Granted, it doesn’t create a lot of localized muscle fatigue. That’s why I always tell my athletes when doing this type of work that they shouldn’t expect a lot of fatigue, and that they should focus on QUALITY; every single rep should be done as explosive as possible.
One good way to develop speed-strength is to use timed sets. This is a very simple training method to use. You simply program sets for as specified duration, rather than a certain number of reps. This might look like this:
A) DB Chest Press 4 x 5sec Rest: 90sec
In this example, you would basically perform as many reps as you can in 6 seconds. Simple enough, right?
The thing that I really like about this method is that it challenges you to do as many reps as possible every time. If you’re even just a little competitive or have any will to get better (ehh…who doesn’t?) you’ll wanna try to do one more rep every time. Doing this will ensure that you’re moving the bar at the greatest possible speed.
As a warning, I wouldn’t advise that to anyone that is not an advanced lifter. There are obvious risks with this method. First of all, moving a load at a high speed is simply not safe for someone who doesn’t master the major lifts perfectly. Also, one might be tempted to “botch” reps simply to be able to get more reps in (compromise range of motion, use sub-optimal form, etc). When using this method you MUST understand that in no circumstances it is OK to sacrifice form for more reps. If you’re smart you’ll get it. It is not supposed to turn into Crossfit.
You know what I’m talking about….
The other thing I like about this method is that it can also be used to progress into speed-strength-endurance. You simply need to modify the prescribed time for the set to make it closer to the duration of your activity. For a hockey player you would prescribe 15 seconds per set and try to perform as many reps as possible.
Timed sets can have other purposes as well. It’s all a matter of how you incorporate it into your programs.
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Continuing education is one of the most important things to pursue when you’re in the strength and conditioning industry. We are in an ever evolving industry, that quite frankly has a lot of gray areas. That means that a lot of things are changing, new studies come out every day, things you thought were true sometimes turn out to be not so true, and new training methods turn out to be more effective than old ones you were using for some time.
You get the point. Things change. You can’t be satisfied with your current level of knowledge because it will catch up to you sooner than later.
No time to sit back!
This is something that I’ve found especially true if you’re training hockey players. The nature of the sport puts a very unnatural stress on the hips (think about the skating stride for a minute; there’s a constant external rotation at the hips, combined with a hip extension and abduction. Then the recovery stride is going in the exact opposite direction; flexion, adduction, and internal rotation). Although a lot of high velocity sports like football put high stress on the hips, I don’t know of many sports that place such a “weird” stress on the hips, if I could say that.
Not exactly the most natural movement for your body
This exact skating stride is reproduced thousands, and thousands of times over the course of a season, year after year, and more often than it should be, all year round as well. That leads to structural adaptations taking place as the kids grow up. Some of those structural adaptations are bony in nature, and are becoming more and more common, as we live in a world of early specialization in sports. If you have ever heard of femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI, that’s exactly what it is.
The different types of FAI
The thing with FAI, is that not a lot of people in the hockey community, including strength coaches and physical therapists, are aware of what it is. It wouldn’t be a big deal if this wasn’t a common issue, but according to a recent study, 64% of asymptomatic hockey players present with some level of hip structural abnormality(1). Yes, you read right, 64%!! FAI usually limits range of motion in hip flexion, and internal rotation. From a practical application standpoint, this means that range of motion would be limited for a lot of lower body exercises including squat variations, deadlift variations, lunge and split squat variations, just to name a few. Think of the implication of not knowing about FAI and training hockey players for a living. You would pretty much be putting your athletes at risk of a serious potential season-ending injury! And still, only a handful of strength coaches are aware of FAI and its implications.
Believe it or not, this is not a post about FAI. This is just to make you realize how important it is to stay on top of new information coming out. Sometimes it’s more than just new training methods or a new revolutionary supplement coming out. Sometimes it’s about the health and security of your athletes!
The good thing is that with the age of the internet, it’s very easy to have access to high quality information. If you’re involved in the hockey community in some way, things are even easier. Some of the greatest minds in hockey run a hockey specific continuing education website. Sean Skahan from the Anahiem Ducks, Mike Potenza from the San Jose Sharks, Darryl Nelson from the USA National Team Development Program, and Endeavor’s own Kevin Neeld have joined forces to create HockeyStrengthAndConditioning.com.
It is the biggest hockey specific resource you’ll find on the web where all these great strength coaches post new information, videos, and programs every single week. There is also a lot of material from contributors (including me!), and great forum discussions that are just as valuable as all the articles on the site. Again, if you’re training hockey players, you need to get a membership for this site. It’s less than 15$ a month, and it’ll be the most valuable resource you’ll have access to!
(1)Silvis ML, Tosher TJ. High prevalence of pelvic and hip magnetic resonance imaging findings in asymptomatic collegiate and professional hockey players. Am J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;39(4):715-21. Epub 2011 Jan 13.
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Although an imminent lockout will probably delay the NHL season for a couple months (dammit!), hockey seasons at the amateur level are still getting under way all around the country.
The beginning of the new season also means performance testing for a lot of those teams at the youth level. Performance testings have been around for a long time as a way to monitor progress, and (whether it’s right or not) to compare kids to each other. The goal is to monitor the progress throughout the season, but also to monitor the progress the kids made during the off-season, assuming they have been tested on those same performance tests at the end of the previous season.
If you look a little more in depth at what “monitoring progress” means, we want to ask ourselves the question: what are we measuring in the first place? Performance is way too vague of a term in this situation to limit the answer to that.
This could be looked at from 2 different perspectives (and I’ll explain what I mean a little later).
The first perspective we can take is the one of the performance enhancement coach, which is the most obvious one for most of you reading this post. In this situation, what we measure is different factors, or qualities that affect performance. This is where we need to get more specific because this is ultimately what will dictate the actual tests that we’ll use. For example, one could decide that strength, power, anaerobic power, lactic power, and aerobic capacity are the most appropriate performance qualities to measure with a given team in a given sport.
Based on those specific qualities you’ll then want to choose tests that will give you data that will appropriately represent the qualities you are measuring. Once you have your system in place (performance qualities, and specific tests to use), the next step is to perform those tests on the players, and establish what intervals you want to test your athletes at. For example, you might want to test your athletes at the beginning of the season, mid-season, and at the end of the season every year. That would give you a good idea of the in-season, as well as off-season progress for all of the players.
After running players through the performance tests, the next logical step is to put together a periodization plan, as well as designing specific training programs to improve those qualities, since they are the ones you judged relevant to your sport. It’s a lot of work, and there are hundreds of ways to go about this when you take into consideration all the different periodization models, and training methods out there.
Periodization can look a little confusing at times…
It’s by trial and error that you’ll find out what works well for your athletes, what needs to be adjusted, and what needs to be eliminated from the program. As you get more experienced, you’ll refine your approach; that might mean changing the qualities to develop, the performance tests to use, the periodization model you’re using, the training methods, the exercises, etc, etc, etc.
This approach seems pretty simple. And as Dan John would put it: simple doesn’t mean easy. What I mean is that all you’re trying to do is improve specific, measurable performance qualities in your athletes. It’s a simple, but not necessarily easy.
The man. The legend.
Now let’s take it from that other perspective I was talking about earlier. This is often going to be the perspective of a coach.
You want fast, strong, powerful, and well conditioned players, but ultimately you want players who perform well on the ice! And this is when performance enhancement becomes a little more tricky. There are other factors who come into play when we talk about on-ice, or on-field performance. Your skill level, the players you play with, the role your coach gives you on the team, and the psychological factor are all important factors that directly impact the game.
So what exactly is performance enhancement? Is it improving specific qualities in the hope that everything will fall in place once the athlete steps on the ice, or the field? Or is it simply improving performance (goals, assist, touchdown passes, etc) in a sport-specific context?
In the end, this is what matters.
Realistically developing specific qualities will contribute to develop a better athlete that has more chance to perform well in a sport-specific context, that’s a no-brainer.
But what if you have a player who keeps getting stronger, and more powerful in the weight room, but doesn’t seem to be improving on the ice. What can you do as a performance enhancement coach? Is there something you can do to help your athlete? Can we bridge the gap?
Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is…My will to help my athletes make me not want to stop there and say: “oh well he needs to work on his skills (or his mental skills, or whatever); he got stronger, I did my job.” Ultimately I want all of my athletes to do well in their sport before anything else; I could care less that he can deadlift 450, if he’s a healthy scratch for a half of the season.
I just know that there is more to developing an athlete than just developing his physical qualities. And I don’t want to sit there and wait to see what happens.
I would appreciate your thoughts and feedback on the subject. Please leave a comment below!
There are a lot of different schools of thoughts, and even more different opinions in the strength and conditioning community about what’s best, what’s optimal, and how you should train athletes.
There are a lot of people who think they hold the absolute truth on how to train athletes and that their way is the only way. Everything else is garbage.
Way to keep an open mind….
If there is one thing I learned throughout my years of training people is that everything is relative. Maybe it’s my very diverse background that lead me to think like that, but the more I learn the more I realize that there’s nothing (or almost nothing) completely wrong, or bad.
For example, as much as I dislike Crossfit in general, and how people who are in it think they’re so much better than everybody else, I will be the first one to admit that there are things good about it.
Yep, I just said it…
There are not many training methods that will create such a strong camaraderie and will make people push each other as hard as Crossfitters do.
The biggest problem with Crossfit is that it’s a sport in itself; an extreme sport that is. Just because of that I will never recommend it to any of my athletes. Just like I would never recommend MMA as a way of training; it’s not specific and the risk/reward is not worth it. But I digress.
My point is that it’s very easy to judge something with an outside perspective without really understanding what’s going on on the inside.
As strength coaches, we all have different backgrounds, level of experience, types of clients (sports, training age, skill level, etc), and settings we work in. This is why we have such different ways of implementing our own programs.
I don’t know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to train athletes. There are better ways, and less better ways, but I don’t believe someone who’s been in the industry long enough, and makes a dedicated effort getting better at what he does, can be doing everything “wrong”. If you have an open mind, you’re open to critiquing yourself and changing how you implement things, you can’t really be bad at what you do. As Todd Hamer, one of my mentors, once said: “if you’re successfully training clients or athletes, you’re doing something right.”
I learned a lot from this man.
Once in a while you’ll come across a trainer or a strength coach who’s been around for many years, yet it looks like what he’s doing is completely retarded. Even if I hate it, I’ll be the first one to admit that the guy is probably doing something right.
That’s why it’s important to keep an open mind about everything. If you read something or see a coach talking about stuff that you don’t necessarily believe in, try and find out more about the why and the how of those ideas. You might find out that you agree more than you’d think with those ideas once you understand the context. And who knows, you might even end up using parts of them in your own setting.
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I’m currently reading See to Play, a book written by Michael Peters, the optometrist for the Carolina Hurricanes. The book is about the importance of vision in sports, and how it can get trained. I’m not even half way through the book right now, but I’m already learning so much about the importance of vision in performance training.
Let’s be honest, vision is an aspect of physical preparation that gets highly overlooked. I just realized that although vision in any sports is arguably the most important aspect that directly relates to performance, I don’t know of many strength coach (including myself) who trains the visual system. And still, if vision is not developed to its full potential, we might be holding our athletes back.
How did we miss the boat on that one? I don’t know…
That being said, one of the things Dr. Peters mentions in his book that struck me is that all athletes have a a dominant eye, just like they all have a dominant shooting, throwing or kicking side. A lot of people are dominant on the same side as their shooting/trowing side; that’s called same-side dominancy. If you’re dominant eye is the one opposite from the shooting/throwing side, it’s called cross-dominancy.
Athletes who are same-side dominant are usually better at sports where aiming or shooting is required (e.g. soccer, basketball, hockey, etc). Athletes who are cross-dominant have a better advantage in a sport like baseball, where the ball comes from the opposite side of batter’s hitting side (think of a right-side batter- his bat his on the right side of the body, but the ball is actually coming from the left-side of the body).
Think about all the implications of same-side dominancy and cross-dominancy in athletes’ performances. If you’re cross-dominant in a sport that favors same-side dominant athletes, your accuracy might be off- and probably always missing on the same side. There’s plenty of examples in all sports of how it could affect an athlete’s performance. Golf would be the perfect example; in a sport where precision and perfection in the swing has such a dramatic impact on the outcome. Golf is a sport where same-side dominancy is more advantageous because of the way you line up over the ball. If you have a golfer who’s cross-dominant, he will need to readjust the position of his body over the ball so his dominant eye is in a better position to focus on the ball. That might mean tilting is head more, shifting his whole upper body back, etc.
This is just one example of why addressing vision as part of physical preparation would be so important. Making sure your athletes get checked for high-performance vision by a qualified optometrist is definitely the place to start. But there is much more you can do.
If you want to establish if you’re same-side dominant or cross-dominant, here’s a neat trick: extend your arms in front of you and place your index and thumb of each hand in a diamond shape. Move one hand slightly in front of the other one and make that diamond smaller until the middle is about 2-3 inches wide.
Stand in front an object that’s about 15 feet away. You want to see all of it in that small diamond created by your hands. Now close one eye. If you still see the entire object in the diamond, your eye that’s open is your dominant one. If you can’t see it, that’s your non-dominant eye! Hopefully I just blew your mind…
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Static stretching is an important part of any training program to help improve or maintain elasticity in muscles and range of motion around the joints. Depending on the sport you play, some stretching might be more important than others. In other words your post-workout stretching circuit might be different depending on what sport you play.
Hockey players, for example, usually have pretty stiff hip flexors (especially the TFL), posterior hip muscles (glutes, piriformis, etc), and posterior neck muscles due to the way they skate. These will be areas that you’ll want to focus on in their stretching circuit.
Here is the post-workout stretching circuit that we use at Endeavor with most of our hockey players at the end of every session:
1. Lateral Hamstring w/ Band
2. Prone Glute
3. Lying Knee-to-Knee
4. Rectus Femoris w/ Internal Rotation
5. 90 Degree Pec
6. Cross-Body Lat
7. Diagonal Neck
Notice how their is no groin, or adductor stretches. The reason is that it’s an area that hockey players are already overly flexible in. In fact, they need a little more tightness in the groin/adductors area, and more tissue elasticity in the posterior hip muscles.
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We live in a funny world, don’t we? Most athletes, parents, clients and a lot of people around are judging your work as a strength coach by how tired you can make them during training sessions. Following a Crossfit, P90X or other non-sense training system, people always seem satisfied with the results because they work hard. After all, isn’t it what it’s all about?
These quotes make plenty of sense, don’t they…..
As a strength coach or a personal trainer it’s very easy to exploit these training systems or use other training methods to make yourself look good to the uneducated crowd out there, who always believed that working hard is the only thing it’s about.
Since that stuff sells and attract a lot of athletes and weekend warriors, it’s not easy to drift away from those training methods and still make your athletes and clients feel like they’re accomplishing something, even though they don’t crawl out the door with not an ounce of energy left.
Let’s face it, what’s easier?:
- Beating your athletes to the ground every training session, and leaving them with the feeling they’ve worked hard? Or;
- Letting your athletes leave the weight room with some energy left, and sometimes even feeling refreshed, and having to sell to them why it is better than beating them to the ground when they’ve been led to believe otherwise all their life?
It’s an art to periodize your athletes’ training, and even more of an art to stick to it. When you’ve planned to back off the weights at the beginning of the off-season to give your athletes some time to recover and take care of the imbalances they’ve created during their season, do you really stick with the plan? Or do you get overwhelmed by the feeling that you should work them to the ground?
Managing training loads and volumes is critical, especially with high level athletes. If you think that training hard and crushing your athletes is the way to go, you’re going to have a serious problem working (and being successful) with College and pro athletes. I think I remember Sean Skahan, strength coach of the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL, saying that he feels more like a “recovery coach” than a strength coach at times. I couldn’t agree more with him.
There are times during a training year where it’s all about maximizing recovery and handling training loads so the athletes can still perform at the highest level and avoid getting hurt. Overtraining will drastically affect your performance level and make your risk of injury skyrocket. The in-season and early off-season phases are perfect examples; athletes have a lot of stress put on their body with a lot of games, practices every day, travel, school (in the case of college athletes), etc. That’s why they need a lot of recovery, injury prevention and corrective strategies during those times. A certain level of strength can be maintained, but the volume must remain pretty low.
Make sure you don’t take the easy way out. Do what’s right for your athletes, plan accordingly and resist the urge of just crushing them for the sake of it. They’ll become better, stronger and more injury resistant athletes in the long run.
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