Don’t Empty The Tank of Your Athletes!
It’s almost like a badge of honor. You know -when a coach gets a high off physically destroying their athletes with punishing amounts of conditioning!
The problem with this approach is the athletes rarely recover from that kind of workout and don’t have enough left in the tank for tomorrow’s practice.
I believe in volume- meaning I want it complete over a period of time and not in one shot or every day.
I want my athletes to come back the next day and still have some energy in their tanks so we can have a great practice and gradually build up their capacity to work harder over time.
If every practice is physically demanding, eventually, the well will run dry, and you’ll have sick and beat-up kids unable to concentrate and stay healthy. Never a great option.
Plan for the Long Haul
If your athletes are not in that great shape to start the season off, plan for that. Plan your weekly practices, so they get the tough demanding days when the next day is either an off day or a very light short practice.
This process builds your athletes’ capacities at a safe and comfortable level, which builds confidence in your players that you will not physically destroy them for no good reason.
Let’s take the development of speed and power as an example. If you notice your team needs more speed and explosiveness, why would you destroy their bodies, requiring several days of recovery? It makes no sense.
If you want fast athletes, run fast and recovery long. Figure out creative ways to build in fun and productive exercises during the recovery, so it doesn’t seem like they sit around for 3-minutes while recovering.
For example- My basketball players would shoot foul shots while waiting for their next sprint. Be creative!
If you need to improve your athletes’ overall conditioning, do you really think you will gain in all-in-one practice?
This is how it looks when I evaluate coaches’ programs. They put so much volume and difficulty in one session it makes it nearly impossible for the athletes to gain value from it- they are too beat up to gain much.
Plan Over Time
Look at your entire month and plan the days you want to increase the intensity and volume of conditioning. Consider what you want to do the next day in practice if you wish to a severe, highly focused practice the day after a hard conditioning session- good luck with that one! It’s not going to happen. Do your tough days on a day before you are given a day off. Do your highly focused days after a speed day or off day, so the athletes’ bodies and brains are fresh and energized.
Planning is about planning- wait, WHAT? You know what I mean. If you want to be great at planning, you have to look at your schedule and plan what you want to have accomplished. Conditioning is no joke. It can make or break your practices and seasons. I’ve seen way too many athletes get chronic injuries from over conditioning- so plan it well.
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