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:

  1. Athletes that get more game reps will absolutely get weaker than those that don't play as much (this is common sense).
  2. You can't build strength during the season, but you can try to limit strength loss due to game reps.
  3. Keep them healthy!  Always err on the side of caution during the season.
  4. 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.
  5. 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):

  1. Keep it very simple.
  2. Train 2 days per week, if possible.
  3. Make sure to Squat or Deadlift and Bench 1x per week
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.