I'm in the process of going over stuff with my GA's concerning our In-Season stuff. There are a few things that cross my mind when I think about In-Season lifting:
- Athletes that get more game reps will absolutely get weaker than those that don't play as much (this is common sense).
- You can't build strength during the season, but you can try to limit strength loss due to game reps.
- Keep them healthy! Always err on the side of caution during the season.
- Find the happy line for the redshirt/non-travel team kids (mostly just a football thing). These guys practice, but don't play so their workload can be higher during the season. In my experience, football is the only team that does a good job of making sure these kids get in the extra work they need.
- Keep an eye on the kids who are rehabbing from injuries. We have a few recovering from injuries last spring. Designing a workout for them that gets them what they need, but doesn't interfere with the regular workout (I have limited space).
As I try to take all of this into account, plus try not to overthink all of it I start to become one of those fitness idiots that makes things much more complicated than it needs to be. I wrestle with this for a little while (the time on this varies depending on how focused I am) and then I realize this is all pretty simple.
For any high school strength coaches who are fighting similar battles with your mind, here's what I would say (do):
- Keep it very simple.
- Train 2 days per week, if possible.
- Make sure to Squat or Deadlift and Bench 1x per week
- Make sure to use a variation of the Squat/Deadlift 1x per week (DB Squat, DB RFESS, RDL, Back Extension). Don't go nuts with a ton of variations. Pick 2-3 of the BEST ones and stick with those.
- If you Squat or Deadlift do it as far away from competition as possible (football is a weird one based on my schedule). Put the Bench (upper body focus on the training day closer to competition (Saturday game: Tuesday Squat or DL and Thursday Bench).
- All workouts should be Full Body (Squat/DL (lower focus) with some easy/light upper and Bench (upper focus) with some mobility/bodyweight lower. Personally, I don't do a lot of single-leg work In-Season because they are running a lot and that is single-leg work (in my opinion). I don't use a lot of single-leg work In-Season because they do a lot of running.
- If they are suffering from patellar tendonitis I will do more single-leg work (RFESS, Single-leg squat to bench - focusing on a slow and steady eccentric phase).
Hopefully, this was an interesting read and maybe it helps with some ideas. I have a notepad with some points I want to expand on as I get into the season. Until then, train them hard and smart.