As summer draws near and many athletes transition into their off seasons, parents are left awry with how to keep their kids busy and entertained before the next sport season hits. More often than not, one of three things happen: 1.) athletes are put in a completely different sport 2.) athletes continue training year-round for their primary sport or 3.) complete rest.
Indeed, sport specific practice should be the meat and potatoes of their time spent, but one big consideration is supplemental training. Understanding that training ONLY for sports grossly falls short of reaching full athletic potential is an issue that must be highlighted. Enter strength and conditioning.
The aim of this article is to educate on the importance of an off-season, pre-season, and in-season strength and conditioning program.
While most know that strength training is a superb additive to performance, many do not understand that strength training for sports is a year-round endeavor encompassing an off-season, pre-season, in-season, and post season. The purpose and importance of each stage of training is as follows:
1.) OFF-SEASON: This is the time where the athlete’s strength and conditioning levels get pushed to new heights, and athletic performance is heightened. Being in the off-season, the athlete and strength coach can now find more time to work on weaknesses and develop strengths. This stage last 8-12 weeks.
2.) PRE-SEASON: Strength training volume decreases in preparation for the beginning of the season, but intensity stays the same. Here, there is a focus on sport specific speed & conditioning, power, flexibility, speed, agility, and strength. This stage last 2-4 weeks.
3.) IN-SEASON: Perhaps the most overlooked and important stage is the in-season stage. The goal here is to maintain strength gains made in the off-season and pre-season so that the athlete maintains peak performance during their competitive season. It is important not to skip this stage to keep the athlete highly conditioned and strong for the playoffs and post season, where performance matters most. This stage lasts as long as the athlete’s season (3-9 months).
4.) POST-SEASON: This phase of training is the rebuild/recovery stage. This is the time to re-condition underactive muscles that have been de-conditioned due to the nature of the competitive season. Because sports are highly repetitive and injury provoking, it is important to take time to restore the body to prepare for the next upcoming season. This stage usually lasts 4-8 weeks.
Only through exercise can we expose the body to all sorts of different movement patterns and stimuli to bulletproof our athletes. Knowing each phase of a well-rounded strength and conditioning program, parents can now develop an action plan for growing and developing their kid’s sport performance.
It’s tough finding the proper program for your athlete. Our fitness experts would love to help in any way we can. Always feel free to stop in with any questions or if you need some guidance.