More and more athletes, at all levels, are beginning to take advantage of opportunities in their respective off-seasons to work on their speed, power, strength and agility along with developing and refining their specific sport skills. The days of just showing up for tryouts without putting in significant offseason training time are over for most competitive youth athletes. The offseason is a great time to make significant strides in strength, speed, power, mechanics, agility and skill. Our mission at TCBOOST is to utilize the development of these qualities to maximize the athletic potential and positively impact the lives of the athletes we train.
The question is, once the sport season begins, what happens to the qualities that have been developed through all the hard work in the offseason. The short answer is that they will all diminish unless specific work is done to maintain them. Athletes lose significant levels of maximum strength within 30 days and significant levels of speed within only 5 days after training for those qualities ceases (According to Issurin, 2010). The most important competitions are always at the end of the season. Playoffs, state meets, championships, bowl games, it all happens 2-3 months after the offseason training has ended. Athletes will be at their weakest, slowest and most inefficient levels at the times when they need to be at their best! This hurts their performance and even worse, can expose them to greater risks of injury.
The solution to this problem is being sure that a great in-season speed and strength maintenance program is in place. I know what you are thinking. How can you possibly fit in extra training during the season? I would argue, due to the stakes, how can you NOT fit it in? The good news is that to maintain your strength, power, speed and mechanics gains it takes far less time than it did to gain them in the first place. Even just 1x/week can be very effective in addition to the sport practice to maintain strength, speed and power. In season athletes need quality not quantity. A targeted speed, agility & strength stimulus with relatively high loads but low volumes will keep an athletes speed & force producing abilities from diminishing as well as keeping their movement mechanics sharp. This will help to keep them strong, fast and injury free.
Don’t lose your gains during the season. Have a plan in place for how you will maintain your speed and power levels so that you can be your best when it matters the most.
Issurin, V. (2010) New horizons for the methodology and physiology of training periodization. – Sports Med, 40: 189–206