Benefits of an In-Season Training Program
Benefits of In-Season Training
Over the past couple weeks; I have been receiving many questions of various topics, but many pertaining to my thoughts on in-season training. Many of our athletes are baseball players and will train in the offseason for 3 or 4 months. After the offseason, traditionally they will then go off and play high school athletics, followed by summer ball, followed by fall ball, and 8 months later they are back. These athletes work maniacally for those 3 to 4 months in hopes that those gains will carry them through the next 8 months. In reality, the season wears us down and does more damage to us than good. The solution to the breakdown is in-season training.
Mobility and Recovery
If we are honest, when a game is done, the majority of athletes take their cleats off and head to the car to go home without doing any sort of post game recovery or stretching. There is no focus on the recovery aspect of their sport or body, which is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy body throughout a season. As important as warm-ups are to keeping a body happy and healthy for a game, the recovery is just as important to preventing a breakdown or injury.
One of the biggest benefits of in-season training is going to be the opportunity to keep the body healthy, mobile and a continued focus on recovery. As you throw and play a season, the body begins to compensate and will tighten and loosen in areas that we don’t always want it to. An in-season program allows us to keep our athletes focused on the importance of them doing their soft-tissue work and mobility exercises. There is a lot more time placed on these types of exercises during an in-season program.
Strength and Power Levels
Our athletes work hard in the offseason to build up their strength and power so that they can excel once they hit the field. They are pushing big weights, pushing their limits and breaking down those barriers so that they can compete at the highest possible level. Once season comes, many times lifting is forgotten about as coaches and players think that simply playing will keep their numbers up. The reality of this is actually the opposite. Researchers in Boston (Faigenbaum, et. al. 1996) studied the effect of detraining, or taking time off of training. What they found was close to a 20% reduction in upper body strength and close to 30% in lower body strength!
I don’t think it needs to be this way! In-season training is changed in its intensity and will look more similar to what some would call a “maintenance” program. There isn’t a need to worry about being sore or not ready for a game or practice because the training strategy is changed to accommodate this. Generally we are spending time doing 2 full body, multi joint exercise workouts in a week so that the athlete can maintain the power and strength they worked so hard for in the off season. There are less working sets, and as I said before, there is more time spent on making sure movement patterns are solid, mobility is good, and soft-tissue work is being done. Not only does this help them from a physical standpoint, it leads me into my next benefit of in-season training.
Confidence and Mental Edge
There can’t be enough said about what this does for the mental edge an athlete receives. While an athlete is in the offseason, they feel strong, fast, quick and they take those same feelings out to the field in the early parts of the season. Ultimately, for anyone who has stopped a training program knows, there is the letdown where you don’t feel as good as you did. You begin to beat yourself on body image and wishing that you felt the way you did back when you were training. These negative thoughts often carry over to the field, diamond, court or pitch whether we know it or not. Instead of these negative thoughts, we want our athletes to have that overwhelming confidence when they step in the batters box that they can get around on a pitch, even if a guy is throwing smoke! We want them to be filled with the confidence that they can step out in any environment and know that they aren’t there just to compete, but to step out with a dominant edge on the competition.
The training also keeps athletes in an environment that is filled with positivity and success. They are still around people who are pushing hard to be the best they can be. When you keep yourself around thoroughbreds, you push harder! If you keep yourself around donkeys, well…
Being around motivated thoroughbreds and coaches helps keep that head trash out from between their ears and keeps them in the right mindset for success. To be successful, we must put ourselves in environments that allow us to thrive! Keeping this mental edge allows athletes to step onto the field with a dominant advantage in an area that is huge in athletics. We all know that it isn’t just the physical that allows for success, it is that mental toughness that is needed!
In-season training is key for anyone who wants to keep their body healthy and performance at high levels throughout the season. We want to maintain our mobility, strength, agility and mental edge that we worked so hard to get in the offseason. Be that thoroughbred!