We are half way through the summer (wow) and that means that a variety of athletes are involved in some kind of captain’s practices or skill sessions (soccer and football comes to mind). At Endeavor, we try to make sure our athletes inform us when they’ll be headed back to school, or when their sports start. Sometimes we even have the opportunity to write extra programming plans for the athletes if they only train with us 2x/week (the majority of our clients). I am specifically talking about “extra” conditioning programs or basic strength templates to follow at home. I had the opportunity to write a 8-week conditioning protocol for one of our high school soccer athletes prior to her 2-mile testing and preseason.
What to consider before programming extra?
#1 What is the goal of the program that we have created for her (or anyone) when they are at our facility?
One of the more important concepts is understanding first what do we have her doing at our facility. For the majority of soccer (2x/week), we will have them working on a variety of things such as…
- Acceleration/Deceleration speed and power work
- Rotational MB throws (power)
- Strength movements (making sure we are hitting every movement pattern each day)
- Core Stability
- Specific mobility drills
- Conditioning: Short explosive intervals (ex: heavy sled drags 10s on: 45-60s off)
#2 How many days do they have practice/What are they doing in these sessions?
What the athlete does outside of the training session (not with us) sometimes helps us in determining the program needed for the individual. With soccer preseason or captains practices, skill work will turn into a lot of moving, sprinting, and changes of direction (from what I was told, and another reason I need to get out to see the practices to know exactly how the intensity is).
#3 Knowing what kind of athlete he/she is
Understanding what type of athlete he/she is which can help with programming. Is he/she more explosive and strong, more aerobic, have a big list of previous injuries? These are important qualities to understand and something I want to become better at understanding, especially their aerobic ability, repeat sprint performance, etc.. (if anyone has good ideas for assessment for the private setting please let me know!!)
Listen, if you’re in middle school or high school and train 2x/week plus soccer 2x/week, have a captains practice 1x/week, and want extra conditioning to do, I would probably say go enjoy part of your summer! Part of summer is enjoying it, spending time with family and friends is a must. It is important to understand that sports should still be enjoyed at these ages. Preventing injuries and developing as an athlete requires recovering adequately and not overworking oneself. Realize that if you are always playing, training, and “working” everyday of the week, that you may (and probably will) run into issues later in your career which will end it before you’d expect.
With the athlete that I specifically mentioned, I only gave her 1 conditioning session to do per/week to practice for her 2-mile test and improve her aerobic capacity. We can see how there are many factors to consider and the reasons how it may affect our programming. One half of the summer down, the other half we are ready to get going!