I hear a lot of athletes asking “what kind of training should I do once we start the season?” or “I don’t have much time to work out when the season starts, so am I going to lose the strength and explosiveness that I developed in the off-season?”
Luckily there are easy answers to these questions, and others relating to in-season athletic development. First, you must remember that there are times of the year to emphasize skill development and work a little less intensely on athletic development. There are also times during the year to emphasize athletic development and work less intensely on skill development. There is NEVER a time during the year when you should be doing all of one, and none of the other. In fact, it is extremely important that you maintain a high level of fitness, strength and power during the season, and just as important that you work on training your skills in the off-season. So, how do you do these things? Well, after you have realized that you need to continue to work on your strength, power, mobility and stability throughout the season, the first thing you should do is to set aside some amount of time (45 min to 60 min) two times per week to dedicate to your athletic development. The most important part of being a strong, physical, explosive player is consistent dedication to these aspects of your game. If you can incorporate some time right before or right after practice, it may help you stay on schedule.
So the next question would probably be “What things should I do to maintain and improve my athletic ability in-season?” What you want to do is emphasize the movements you aren’t training through your sporting actions, so as to keep a balance in your athletic movements. You should decrease the amount of agility, jump training, and plyometric exercises, since you are probably doing enough of those movements on the court or field, but increase the amount of injury prevention, mobility, core stability and ground based strength exercise. A good routine may include a dynamic warm-up, 3-5 ankle, knee and shoulder stability exercises, some lunges (all directions), bear crawls, bodyweight squats, push ups, and 3-4 core exercises. These are just suggestions, but you should include similar movements. If you want to stay explosive, you must continue to train explosively. Remember, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it,’ so don’t let all that hard work you put in to your offseason training go to waste!!