5 Reasons You Must Train During Season
With most spring sports right around the corner, I have been receiving lots of questions on in-season training and whether it is a good idea or not.
Short answer: IT IS IMPERITIVE to train during your season!
If you wanting to be successful long term, you MUST train during season. With that being said, I see a lot of people drop all training once season begins. I think this is for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is time.
The second reason is parents trying to do the right thing, but with a lack of information.
Actually, I think that these two are related, but that is for another article to write! I believe the sports industry has moved more towards the act of performance and “showing how good you are” at younger and younger ages. There are countless “Travel Teams” at younger and younger ages going all over the country to play, only to play at team that’s 20 minutes from you.
There is more time and money spent traveling and playing than there is in the act of improving and getting your mind, body and spirit right for the next level.
For these reasons, I have come up with my top 5 reasons on why you NEED to train during the season.
1. On field work isn’t enough
The number one reason I hear of why athletes don’t train during the season is that they don’t have the time, or that their body needs a break from training based on the number of practices and games they are doing.
While on field work is necessary to improve the skills of your sport as an athlete, there simply isn’t enough physical demand to improve or maintain as an athlete. Fielding a ball, playing catching and taking BP improves your skills in those areas, but not your strength, power and stamina.
Research shows that power and speed begin to decline without proper training after 2 weeks.
Simply put, the work you do in the offseason will not be enough to carry you through all the games and practices that you play until next winter. Why do you think by the end of “Fall Ball”, athletes arms are sore, injuries are on the rise and everyone “can’t wait to be done”?
There is 100%, no doubt, that you will be sacrificing performance if you don’t have an in-season training program. We must flip the script! Instead of “Performing” for 9 months and only training for 3… We must Train for 9 and Perform for 3.
2. No Progress
If it feels like you aren’t making progress, you probably aren’t! We have had some athletes complain that they are “stuck” at the same weights every offseason. They can’t seem to get past 315lbs on a squat, or can’t quite get to 225lbs on bench.
Why do you think this is?
You do an amazing job working hard in the offseason getting bigger, faster and stronger to get ready for tryouts. You walk in feeling amazing and ready to go!
But then season comes, you stop doing the things that make you feel so good, and take a step back right to where you were.
I just had an amazing conversation with a fellow gym owner who used to be an AMAZING dancer in London. She said the same thing is happening in the dance industry. She would train all the time in preparation for a couple shows a year. She would perfect techniques, learn new ones, and push herself to grow to be ready for those big performances.
Now, dancers are performing all the time. The have shows constantly and only their “natural talent” carries them. She mentioned that there always comes a point to where the dancer’s natural talent is no longer good enough to keep going on, and they must stop.
You aren’t meant to perform constantly. You must prepare relentlessly for the moment and your time to shine. The reality is you aren’t preparing to perform if all you do is perform.
3. Your Season Wrecks Your Mobility
Ever had an injury? Towards the middle or end of the season? That shoulder and elbow discomfort? Feet, shins and calves seem to hurt a little more for “no reason”. Your hips and back just cant seem to get loose and you feel like you can’t explode or don’t have that “pop” you had at the beginning of the year?
When you do the same thing over and over, your body begins to compensate. You are generally doing something with one side of your body over and over and over again. When this happens the problems don’t get better, they get worse.
Muscles start getting tight and begin pulling on other parts of your body for extra support. Not to mention that 99% of athletes do next to nothing after a game. They clean up their equipment, hop in the car and they are off. This is just like cooking an amazing meal for Thanksgiving, but then never cleaning the dishes… except you have to cook with those same dishes again tomorrow!
Your next performance starts as soon as the first one finishes. You MUST take care of your body in the ways that it needs. Part of that is by working on an in-season program designed to keep up the mobility demands that your sport has, along with the strength and power aspects.
You can’t expect to cook a world-class meal with dirty dishes.
4. Improve Performance
Just because you train during season, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to perform during practices or games. We don’t train with the same type of intensity or volume that we do during the offseason.
A good offseason program will have set you up to feel great walking into tryouts or a season. You should feel great in your body, mind and spirit.
When we train during the season, our goal is to keep you feeling that way! We don’t want to leave you feeling like your gas tank is one empty. That doesn’t do anybody any good. A proper in season program means exactly the opposite. It means that you will be feeling good once playoffs come.
I also like to look at what the best in the world do. Are they training in-season? Are they getting their conditioning in? The overwhelming answer is yes they do! The most common response is “Well of course they do, they are pros”. The truth is, they had to act like a pro before they became a pro. They had to do what pros do before they could become one.
Want to be a pro? Start modeling your actions after them.
5. Maintain Amazing Mindset
Let’s face it. The majority of coaches show up with a great heart of service and wanting to help. Their son or daughter may be on the team and they stepped up to help as the Coach. This is (or can) be a great thing, but many times ends up not being the greatest experience for kids or parents.
True coaching and mental development as a young athlete is just as important, if not even more important for their long term development. You want to make sure you are surrounding yourself or your kids with the best people possible to help them grow.
When youth athletes are growing and maturing, their mental toughness, grit, decision making, values and integrity is growing as well. Keeping them around a great coach who understands how to pull the best out of them is imperative if you want your child to grow long term. Keeping that influence in their life is one of the most important things you can do, even if it is tough to schedule in!
Keeping their confidence at a high level is becoming ever more important as navigating school is becoming tougher and tougher. Keeping them in a great environment that empowers them to make great decisions when it is toughest to make them is becoming more important at younger and younger ages.
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When all is said and done, there is no down side to training other than it being difficult to make the time and fit it into the schedule at time. But, what do we already know? We know that we don’t grow unless we are being challenged and pushed out of our comfort zone!
There is also nothing wrong with having a conversation with the coach about training. Emphasizing the importance of your athlete’s training is an important conversation to have with your coach. Play the long game. Understand WHY you are deciding to train in season.
Food for thought… World renown strength coach Mike Boyle even spoke to his daughter’s hockey coach and let them know she wouldn’t be making all 4 practices during the week. He let the coach know that should would be practicing with the team twice, and she would be getting her strength training in twice. Fast forward and she is now a collegiate hockey National Champion. Again, something to consider.