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5 Reasons to Prep For Football During Baseball

I got a great question from a parent the other day I wanted to share with you:
 
“What are your thoughts about strength and conditioning during baseball season to prepare my 14-year-old son for football?”  
 
I think every parent has an assumption about this topic that is either rooted from their personal experience as an athlete and what they were exposed to and/or what they have researched on the internet.   
 
What is your assumption?
 
The truth is, if your player is in a good program that is tailored to them, then strength training and conditioning can be powerful in helping their performance in-season on the field or court.  In breaking down this parent’s question as it pertained to her son, here are five reasons why I said “yes” he can and should be training.
 

football, baseball glove and baseball
5 Reasons to Train For Football During Baseball Season

 
1. Helping to maintain body weight
 
Often baseball players will lose weight over the course of a baseball season. Some of that weight will be water volume and some will be lean muscle tissue. Losing body weight via water or lean tissue loss will negatively affect performance.  A dehydrated and thinner body will not produce the same power and explosiveness as a healthy, hydrated body. This parent’s son will be transitioning right from baseball season into football. This transition time is not enough time to likely restore the body to where it was prior to baseball season.
 
2. Maintaining strength
 
Maintaining strength directly ties to the first point.  Strength training is the stimulus the body needs to continue to build lean muscle tissue and reverse the natural decline that happens when strength training is stopped.  Maintaining strength really is not the most accurate way to phrase it.  In reality, we are either gaining strength or losing strength.  For this parent’s son, to walk into a football season in the “losing strength” mode is not going to lead to the performance outcome he is looking for.
 
3. Helping the body adapt to football demands faster
 
Football and baseball are very different in their physical demands and athletes transitioning from baseball to football will have a shock to their bodies that they will have to overcome.  That shock comes from the lack of preparation of the specific physical intensity football creates.  An in-season program has the opportunity to progressively build the athlete’s body up to those more intense requirements without overtaxing them physically for their in-season sport.  This preparation will help the athlete adapt sooner, be less sore, and perform closer to top performance right away when football practice starts.
 
4. Preparing the athlete to get into “football shape”
 
The fitness demands in football easily exceed that of baseball.  In baseball, there could be upwards of a 1:20 work to rest ratio whereas in football the ratio is closer to 1:6.  In football, a 1-way player will have about 70 plays while in baseball there might be 30 balls put into play in a 9-inning game.  In football, a player will run twice as many plays with 70% less time between plays.  An in-season strength and conditioning program will help the athlete’s fitness to be gradually built up so they will be at or close to “football shape” when making the transition between sports.
 
5. In-season training should not affect your performance
 
The first goal of in-season training is to make sure the athlete can continue to perform when it matters at a high level.  An athlete cannot do that if they are sore. 
 

Soreness comes from inappropriate exercise selection, inappropriate progressions in volume and/or intensity, and an inability to recover from previous bodily stresses (which could be exercise or sports induced).   

 
In a youth baseball season the schedule can be erratic, so the in-season program has to be constructed in such a way that takes into consideration the weekly volume and intensity as well as game and practice schedules.  
 
If an athlete normally trains Monday and Wednesday and this week only has games on the weekend, then our volume and intensity could be a little more intensified as the athlete will have time to fully recover.  On the flip side, if a makeup game is scheduled for Tuesday then we know we need to have less volume and intensity Monday but on Wednesday we could amp it back up and focus on those key area needed to prep for football.  
 
In-season training is something that many parents and coaches tend to overlook the value in.  For a multi-sport athlete who goes from one in-season to the next, they inevitably will see a drop in performance.  
 
Remember, your athlete is either “gaining” or “loosing”. 
 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, Owner & Founder 

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1

We can all probably imagine what an off season training program looks and sounds like. It is probably something like this scenario:

You walk into your training facility and you are greeted with the familiar sound of weights clanging off of platforms and the ‘sweet’ smell of sweat in the air. You see someone in the corner desperately trying to catch their breath after setting a new personal best. All the while you can barely hear your own thoughts and the conversations of people talking around you because someone is blasting their favorite “pumped-up” Pandora station.

This scenario just comes with the territory of many off season training programs. Off season training programs are no secret to athletes and to sport coaches, but what about the benefits of in season training programs?

Today, we will reveal the 1st of 3 benefits of training while in season and why it is important to continue to train during this time.  

A well-disciplined, dedicated athlete has already conditioned their body to be ready for the season. But it never ceases to amaze us coaches that once their season starts the athletes suddenly stop their training programs all-together. It is understandable as their schedules fill-up with games and practices.

But as their season progresses, they start to notice that their muscles become sorer with each game and they begin to lose the advances they made during the off-season. Why is it that?

With all the work that athletes’ put in during the off season, it is assumed that everything that they worked on should carry them through their season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Why In Season Training? 

During our in season programs we turn the intensity level down. An athlete should be able to devote at least two hours a week for in season training outside of their sport practices, just ask any Division 1 or professional athlete or coach. The answer to feeling and playing your best all season long, is to incorporate a strength and conditioning program!

With that in mind, let’s look at the first benefit of training while in- season. 

Benefit 1)

Maintain off season gains

During the off season, athletes are building valuable strength and power to improve their performance. It wouldn’t make sense to work so hard on your speed, power, and strength development during the months leading up to your season and then completely stop doing those exercises that gave you the advances you needed. 

That is why the goal of in season training is not to improve upon those adaptations, but rather to maintain them.

“Some strength, speed, and power abilities can decrease in as little as two to three weeks, so if you refrained from in-season training for months you will for sure fall behind your opponent later in the season.” – Trenton Clausen

Because of this, the length of sessions and exercise volume (number of repetitions performed) can be reduced. Perfect for the busy in-season athlete! 

As athletes and as performance coaches, we understand that it is difficult to know the right training program, frequency, and duration to continue performing at your best with training in-season. I would recommend that you find a strength and conditioning professional that knows exactly what to do and has experience training high level athletes during the in-season.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we reveal the 2nd and 3rd benefit for training in season. 

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

Written By, Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, NASM-CPT, FMS-L1, Performance Coach 


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How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

The importance of off season training is no secret to athletes and sport coaches, but some don’t fully understand the importance of in season training. Training during an athletes in season provides valuable time to maintain off season gains, reduce the risk of in season injury and aid in faster recovery from practices and games. 

In our previous blog, How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1 Trenton ClausenMike Servais and Gus Thiel discussed the 1st benefit of training while in season – maintaining off season gains.

Today, we will dive into the 2nd and 3rd benefits of training while in season and why it is paramount to continue to train during this time.

Athletes train hard in the off season to ensure they are at their best by the time the season rolls around, but once their season arrives they suddenly stop training as their schedules fill up with games and practices.

As the season wears on they might start to notice that their bodies become more sore with each game and their nagging aches and pains just won’t go away.

Why is it that? With all the work put in during the off season they should feel great all season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way. The 2nd benefit of training while in season is to aid in reducing the athlete’s chance of sustaining an injury. 

Benefit 2)

Injury prevention is another key factor that we work on in our in season training programs. We must continue maintaining our strength to prevent soft tissue injuries. We can do this through strength training and active recovery methods such as self-myofascial release (i.e. foam rolling), stretching, icing, and rest.

If we are able to maintain our strength and tissue quality during the season we will fend off injuries that can be prevented and keep us on the field of play.

“Athletes that work to maintain their strength, muscle tissue quality and joint health during the season are less susceptible to injuries because their body is more prepared to handle the stresses of the season.”

– Mike Servais

Benefit 3)

The final benefit from training in season is the ability to recover faster from games and practices. Over the course of a long season, athlete’s bodies take a beating. But fear not! A proper in-season program will not make an athlete feel worse!

In fact, getting back in the gym will allow athletes to address this issue by performing soft-tissue work (using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, etc.) to restore muscle tissue quality.

Maintaining tissue quality is vital for joint mobility (ability for a joint to move) and stability (ability to control joint position).

“Always remember that training in season doesn’t mean that your workout program should be put on the back burner. Be smart about your in season programs and your body will thank you later!” – Gus Thiel 

 

Here at Athletes’ Training Center, we want our athletes to be at their best once the season starts. However, it takes discipline and dedication to maintain peak performance throughout the year. We will make sure you feel your best come game time!

Tip: Interested in our in season programs?
Ask about our maintenance memberships or our Free Trial Sessions!

Written By Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, FMS-L1SP, Performance Coach 

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.