High School Athletics: Phases of Training

Why are phases of training important? When we consider the big picture, an athlete should transition through Pre-Season, In-Season, and Off-Season training. This may look different for athletes if we consider travel ball or other league play. We are speaking specifically to sport as it reflects the High School or Collegiate season. 

The different phases of training allow an athlete to progress and improve performance on and off the field or court. Most athletes want to perform better and be more competitive in their respective sport. This may look different for each athlete based on the specific sport. The only way to be better at a sport is to play the sport, most sports require specific skills, such as handling a ball, throwing a ball, or kicking a ball. Outside that athletes are required to perform specific skill sets based on position or assignment in their specific sport. These skills may look like running backwards and turning to defend an opponent, jumping to block a ball over the net, or jumping to get a rebound from a missed shot. 

The different phases of training allow an athlete to progress and improve performance on and off the field or court.

Strength and Conditioning and Athletic Development allows an athlete to develop better attributes such as:  coordination, strength, speed, power, explosiveness, etc. this in return can help increase their performance in a specific sport. Phases of training are important to help guide the athlete in their training to help prevent injury, increase athletic performance, and continue to progress for what comes next. 

Pre-Season Training

Pre-Season training should consist of prepping for the upcoming season.

Typically this will be the tail end of a progressive cycle wrapping up and developing strength, speed and power. As we close in on the season starting, an athlete will transition to more skill and conditioning specific needs and a maintenance state of strength and power. 

This allows the athlete to take any performance increases from off-season training and apply them to sport and skill, increasing performance and conditioning needs to a level that the sport demands. 

In-Season Training

In-Season training will have a high focus on sport and skill, these are practices and games specific to one’s sport. 

With the demand and stress of the sport, the second focus should be recovery and injury prevention work. This allows the athlete to recover and bounce back faster from games and practices. 

Injury prevention work allows the overstressed ligaments and tendons to stay healthy and decrease the risk of injury. 

The third focus will be maintaining strength and power throughout the season and not going backwards in terms of gains made in the off season.

 In this phase an athlete’s state of overextending must be closely managed. The overall goal is to keep the athlete healthy and playing at a high level of performance. 

Off-Season Training

Off-Season Training should first have a restorative focus on rest, recovery, and healing. 

This will also allow the athlete to regroup from the mental stress of competitive sport. 

The upcoming phases in this cycle should focus on rebuilding and progressing strength, speed, and power from the previous season. 

This is where gains are made to progress performance into the upcoming pre-season and season.

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