Pre-Season TrainingThe best athletes are made in the off-season. When the season rolls around and you are about to start your first game or event, it is too late to prepare. That is why it is essential to take advantage of every opportunity you are given in off-season training and workouts. Progress should be constantly strived for to reach your goals. Each day you are either getting closer to reaching your goals or farther away, you have the power to make off-season success happen. Here are a couple of things that coaches, players, and parents should keep in mind with -training:
Training does not mean over-trainingAlthough it is important to strive for improvement every day throughout the off-season, this should not be confused with training every day which will likely lead to over-training. Recovery is just as important, if not more important, than the time spent training. Over-training can lead to increased fatigue, decreased performance, increased risk of injury, as well as several other physical and psychological side effects. On the other extreme, that does not mean sitting on the couch all day with an XBOX controller on off days. Active rest and mobility work will be the best way to prioritize time outside of training to set the body up for success the next time training.
Leave your ego at the doorProper technique is the most important component for improvements in performance and reduced risk of injury. Regardless of what off-season training program being used, performance will be greatly hindered if ideal technique is not prioritized. However, this is often a sacrifice in the amount of output produced in the short-term and requires some patience as new movement patterns are learned. In the long-term, this is a critical component that needs to be mastered in the controlled environment of the weight room before it is translated into competition.
Don’t get fancy
Master the basics. It is critical to be very proficient at basic movement patterns and have the required strength through the muscles required to stabilize before progressing too quickly through a program. If the program requires progression in intensity or difficulty of movement before an athlete is ready, the athlete will be limited in reaching their optimal performance as well as being put at an increased risk of injury. Programming throughout the off-season is key and is the coach’s responsibility to put their players in a position to succeed while keeping their players healthy and on the field.
It should be FUN!Training should never be boring, and while there are certain necessary components to an off-season training program, athletes should constantly be challenged in order to grow physically and mentally. Training isn’t always synonymous with fun, yet still something that should be enjoyed as it is a great way for teammates to bond and grow more disciplined as a team. Provide an environment for your team training that players enjoy showing up for!
There’s only one important measure when it comes to pre-season training, and that’s the results you see when the season is finished. Are you doing everything you can now to succeed later?