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Why YOU Should Be Training While You Are In-Season

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Let’s face it, when you are in-season, your practice and game schedule are hectic. You try to balance that with school, work, a social life, etc., and adding training sounds counterproductive. But how you train in-season should not be a burden to you. It should actually create a competitive advantage for you against your competition.

It starts with understanding that your training intensity and volume need to shift depending on what part of your season you are in. In-season training should be more about lower volumes, higher intensities, and high skill movements specific to your sport. That means you should be leaving the training session feeling great, not like you are burning the candle at both ends. If you are training this way in-season, you have the ability to maintain strength, mobility, defend against asymmetries, and ultimately that allows you to be more resistant to the risk of injury.

Throughout the season, strength becomes more than just how much you can lift. It is also about ensuring your body is resilient against the demands of your sport. Can I jump high enough to get that rebound? Can I throw hard and accurately enough to get the runner out at first? Am I strong enough to not let this person knock me off the ball? In-season training is a maintenance of strength you developed in your off-season. It ensures that you can remain a commanding force even in the midst of your competition.

A coach of mine told me that every time you trained in the off-season, it was like making a deposit at a bank. Every time you have a game, a meet, or a competition, you withdraw some of the “funds” from training. You can continue making deposits during your season, that way, you never run out of “money.” But much like any other bank, once you’re out, you’re out. That means over-drafting, or in this case, injury, something every athlete wants to avoid. 

Now consider mobility. Through the trials and tribulations of the season, your body gets banged up. It is easy to consider doing nothing as recovery because your body is sore. Among the foam rollers, massage guns, cupping therapy, etc., mobility is the most underrated recovery tool. You may feel like your body is always moving, so more movement is going to make everything feel worse. But movement is the key to recovery. 

Another reason mobility is so important is that in sport, split-second decisions matter. An athlete with a foundation of mobility geared toward their sport can make those split-second decisions and trust that their body will not fail them as they plant, cut, twist, and explode into their next move. 

Next, in-season training addresses the asymmetry that usually comes with repeated competition. When your season starts, you naturally start cutting to one side more than the other. You rotate to one side more than the other. You jump off one leg more than the other. You get away from your baseline. In-season training addresses these and allows you to check in with them constantly. Think of it this way, would you rather be able to use your dominant hand in your sport only, or have the ability to use both freely? Working on those asymmetries in-season gives you the upper hand. Those who do NOT are actively helping their competition by limiting their own level of performance. 

All of these components lead to a decreased risk of injury as a byproduct of training. It is important to note that in-season training cannot stop injuries. Collisions happen, fields are not always perfectly tended to, so they can get uneven, etc. The secret to in-season training is that injury risk is not the primary goal but it can be a natural consequence. Training in-season allows you to adapt to the unpredictable challenges you will face in competition.

So remember this, each training session is an intentional move, creating a body that can endure your season’s ups and downs. It is not just about playing the game, it is about playing it to your fullest potential. Your “Peak,” if you will.

If you want to learn more about how to become resilient enough to handle the strains of competition in-season, please reach out to me at: athletes (at) peakhumanperformance.us

About the Author

Rob is the Athlete Program Director at Peak Human Performance. Shortly after receiving his Bachelor of Exercise Science degree from The Ohio State University and his Master of Exercise Physiology from University of Dayton, he earned his CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) and found Peak in the fall of 2017 and has been a coach with Peak since then. In the spring of 2021, he was approached to step into his Director role. 

He is a coach truly enamored with the success of any athlete he comes in contact with. He openly states that he is equal parts a coach and a fan of every one of his athletes. From training sessions, to mindset and preparation talks, to showing up to his athletes competitions, Rob is willing to go above and beyond for any athlete at any level of competition. If you want to gain more insight into what makes Coach Rob such a gravitating force, follow him at @robsmaldinophp 

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