I was just talking to a parent of a young promising track athlete and they were mentioning how it was surprising that the spring season was almost over and their son didn’t have the results he wanted. They wanted him to work on his strength and power but haven’t been able to find the time to commit to that.
Our schedules these days are so hectic, time is our biggest enemy. Especially for sports parents.
Always fighting the clock in the midst of trying to fit everything you need and want to do in a 24 hour period. What tends to happen is that we have so much going on, we look forward months in advance to plan our lives. Rarely living in the moment.
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”
My point is to recognize that we are busier than we’ve ever been but when it comes to athletes, we can’t let their busy schedules get in the way of their training. Let’s face it. Most athletes are playing sports year round. The families in those situations may claim they can’t find the time to train on top of the practices, games, and everything in between. We say,
THEY CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO TRAIN!
According to Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 75% of athletes do not receive adequate physical training from playing their sport alone.
Still, many athletes and coaches think that playing their sport will develop or maintain the strength and speed that the athlete needs in order to perform at their optimal level. This theory has been tested by many researchers and proven false.
One NSCA study found significant decreases in upper body strength, flexibility, lower body power, and agility when 28 college football players were studied during their 16 week competitive season. The same study showed strength decreases in 12 year old boys and girls averaging 19.3% in the upper body and 28.1% in the lower body after taking time off, following an 8 week strength program.
A major misconception is that in-season training will hinder performance and/or overwork the athlete. However, in-season training is:
Performed lighter and focused on being more explosive that will be transferrable to the field/court. We call this the “concentric” phase of movement.
Focused more on recovery. When recovery is not addressed in-season, athletes become fatigued during their practices or games and are more prone to injuries.
Addressing issues/imbalances before they become injuries. Common Imbalances can be right and left leg strength differences that occur from kicking or jumping off of predominately one side. They could also be from a weak posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) and occurs when an athlete either isn't training or isn't focusing on the proper exercises.
That is why the best athletes train in-season.
Taking every in-season off and only training for 6 weeks between each season is not enough to develop sound movement mechanics or maintain any strength gained during those short weeks.
Muscle atrophy begins after about 2 weeks of not training and within 4-8 weeks you see a significant decrease in strength and muscle mass.
After knowing all of this, ARE YOU READY TO TRAIN? Our in-season program is not just a maintenance program. It is designed to build strength so our athletes are peaking come tournament/playoff time. It includes higher volumes of recovery and flexibility work to combat the workload of in-season practices. It also includes our signature Active Dynamic Warmup, foam rolling, SMR, mobility, and muscle activation exercises to allow for adequate recovery.