ARE YOU READY FOR BATTLE – OR READY FOR WAR?
By Derek Fry MS, ATC, NASM-PES, NASE
As we jump into winter sports, one thing sticks with me – levels of preparation. When I prepare for competition, I like to prepare for the long haul. I do not only think day to day or practice to practice; every bit of activity drains our energy. So I must pose a couple of questions:
How are you handling your time?
What are you doing today that will impact tomorrow – or next week – or further down the road?
Do you understand the difference between the battle and the war?
You see, a battle is a single encounter, whereas a war is a series of encounters. We can look at strength and conditioning training for the big “in-season” in a couple of different ways:
A. Season = battle – looks at the season as the final product of training; they tend to stop structured programming, go through the motions and sometimes lose sight of their training goals.
B. Season = war – views the season as an on-going aspect of training; they tend to stay focused on their levels of fitness, adjust week to week/day to day behavior and factor in everything, as if they are still training.
You may think that you are B, but look deeper.
Do you adjust your volume during the season from week to week based on tournaments rather than games? Do you train heavy and hard all “off season” just to stop strength training all-together during the season to stay “fresh?” Are you going through the motions in the weight room just to say you were there and just to keep attendance? Do you continue heavy periodized programming during the season, regardless of conditioning and nutrition levels?
Truly look at your program and define the reason for doing the “Navy Seal” style workout every day to prove toughness, just to have athletes starve themselves to make weight or pass out on game day; did this accomplish what you wanted?
If ANY of the above scenarios describe you, then my friend, you are missing the big picture – you are losing the war.
The reality, once again, is that we are using energy in all that we do. So we must put some thought into our programs and understand that not ALL things can be accomplished at the same time. Strength and conditioning is not an “all-or-none” science, it involves “give-and-take.” So understand when and what to “give” or when and what to “take.”
Here are some key points to help you get started this winter:
1. Come up with a monitoring system – How are you keeping track of fitness levels? Are your athletes going to fade out at the end? I’m talking about nutrition, strength, injuries, focus, etc. – ALL OF IT.
2. Ride at least some of the wave – Find your base aspects of weight training and conditioning and maintain them; no need to abandon all of your hard work or skip out on the fun stuff!
3. Set limits/rules/guidelines – Recreation basketball during wrestling? Snowboarding during basketball? Come up with the scenario and think about it…
4. Set goals outside of obvious goals – Yes, “win the game,” but what about leadership development, understanding the game, teamwork development. There are many things to be worked on that contribute to the BIG PICTURE.
5. Look at the whole picture – What is today sacrificing in the future? Are you creating a fragile foundation? How is your worst athlete performing? What are you doing about your weakest links – individually/team-wise?
As we get mixed up in the commotion of the season, we tend to lose sight of what is important. Stick with at least a couple of these ideas and you should be able to maintain some of the hard work from the off-season.
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