Do you, or does your child play a competitive sport? If you answered yes, then training during the sport’s season is crucial. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, it’s unfortunate to see athletes lose strength and mobility and, sometimes, get injured, simply because they stop their training program during their sport’s season.
Unfortunately, there’s a stigma with training during the season, it’s viewed as overkill and detrimental to the athlete since they are already doing practices, training, and games with their sports team. While this is a valid concern, if the training program is managed correctly it will actually benefit them in the long run.
We train a lot of soccer players and soccer teams here at the South Chandler FAST location so I’ll mention soccer a few times but the material translates to every sport. Year after year, we see athletes or teams return to us weaker, slower, and less powerful after their school season is over compared to when they left us at the beginning of the season. Of course, this is usually right after they just had high school playoffs and when most athletes should be at their strongest, fastest, and overall best physically.
Most sports are year round and soccer is no exception. The club we work with goes from August to May, and sometimes into June if they make it to regionals or nationals. If athletes are only training during the off-season, then that would mean they only have two to three months (during the summer) of the year where they actually are working on improving their bodies. Their time is further restricted during the summer as most athletes take vacations with their families or have camps that take up a lot of their time during this season.
The bottom line? At FAST, we make great improvements in strength, speed, agility, and power with our athletes during our summer training programs, but we’re often missing a lot of gains that could happen throughout the year. Below are three reasons to train during your season.
1. Increase Your Strength
If you’re already in a training program and continue a sound program of strength training into your season, you’ll definitely maintain your strength, and, typically, at the end of your three-month season, we’ll actually see an increase in your strength.
Think about this scenario: you’re playing your rival team late in the season and you see them across the field, looking very tired. You think to yourself, “I just had my last workout three days ago. They had their last workout three months ago.” This thought gives you that extra boost of confidence and ultimately ends with you playing your best and your team sealing the victory.
2. Achieve Higher Levels of Mobility and Recovery
The recovery is just as important to prevent a breakdown or injury as a warm-up is to prepare the body to do work, but, unfortunately, most athletes will immediately walk to the car and head home after a tough game or practice.
An in-season training program will have time allotted for foam rolling, stretching, and mobility exercises, all items that aid in athletes staying mobile and stable in the right areas.
3. Prevent Injuries
While avoiding harm from contact injuries is, unfortunately, difficult to avoid, you can lower the risk of non-contact injuries by staying strong and mobile. An example of a non-contact injury is when an athlete tears their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after landing from a jump or changing direction. Most soccer players are quad dominant due to the demands of their sport. If the last time you did a posterior chain (low back, glutes, and hamstrings) exercise was two to three months ago then your muscles are not going to be firing in the proper sequence.
I consider this the most important impact from continuing your training program through your season because it can impact the future of a high school athlete. The athlete with fewer injuries or no injuries is going to be more valuable to college scouts compared to a kid who has had to miss games or seasons due to major injuries.
In conclusion, continuing your training program into your sport’s season is important because it allows our athletes to maintain or increase strength, mobility, and recovery. Also, the athletes are less likely to get injured. Find a FAST location near you and schedule your training with one of our 10 valley-wide locations today!