“I can’t work out today. I have a game.”
I hear this all the time from my athletes. I can’t workout today because I have a game. Here are four reasons why this argument does not hold any weight.
1: Off-Season vs. In-Season
If you worked out all off-season like you should have then your in-season workouts should not be a problem. The Off-Season is the time to make gains. In-Season workouts are designed to maintain what you have gained from your off-season. By using high Intensity but low volume you can maintain your off-season work. Most players atrophy during a long season so being able to maintain muscle mass is critical for an athlete.
2: I’ll be sore or tired
Going back to high intensity and low volume you should not be sore from this type of workout. If you are sore after every workout you are doing something wrong. A good strength and conditioning coach will know how to program in-season workouts accordingly. As for being tired, several athletes have a routine of working out on game day. Perhaps the most famous was Michael Jordan who always lifted on game days when he was playing for the bulls. In fact you should feel better after a workout. When you get up and get your body moving it primes the central nervous system for activity which gives you energy. Have you ever slept in really late and you feel even more tired throughout the day? The reason for this is because you are being lethargic. Workouts give you energy not take away from it as long as they are programmed accordingly.
3: What games are important?
I often have athletes tell me that they can’t workout out of season because they have a club team game. In today’s culture where athletes often play year round they have a hard time distinguishing between what games are important and what not. They can’t see the big picture. You can’t spend all of your time playing without training. That is the best way to get an overuse injury. Scrimmages during pre-season are another example. As a coach I am trying to get my athletes to peak. The question becomes when do we want them to peak? During the pre-season or when the games really matter.
4: Training to offset overuse injuries
Overuse injuries are at an all time high amongst young athletes. A good training program doesn’t just train the muscles and movement patterns that an athletes uses during his or her sport but they train the muscles and movement patterns that he or she does not use. This is why the concept of sport specific training is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. An example of this is a cross-country runner who only runs straight ahead and doesn’t move laterally. Part of my programming would be to give them some lateral work to counteract what they do in their sport.