A productive training session should not be determined by how sore you are after, how hard it was to finish, or maxing out.
A productive training session is individualized and helps an athlete progress toward specific goals on the field.
If you are a baseball player working to get better at your sport in-season, it’s not the best idea to feel dead at the end of your training session.
From a microscopic view, it may seem important to push it in the gym, regardless of how you’re feeling.
In-season training is necessary to maintain strength BUT it must be applied correctly and not be overdone, otherwise it can cause more harm than good.
In the entirety of the baseball player’s training, there is skill-specific training along with sport/game-specific training as well.
This makes three parts to the global training the athlete is going through.
Baseball training in-season: 3 parts
1. Briefly, skill-specific would be working with your pitching or hitting coach.
This is where the athlete masters specific and high motor control-demanded movement, like hitting.
2. Sport- or game-specific would be a team practice where the actual sport and strategy involved in games takes place. This involves more mental concentration vs. physical.
Even though different physical attributes come into play, they are done at game-like speed.
3. And then your in-season strength development.
An athlete’s schedule must be assessed when programming for athletes to make sure they’re progressing instead of getting burnt out.
If you are an athlete, be able to monitor this as it will impact your ability to improve strength and better perform on the field.
To come back to the big idea, “What is a productive training session?” take the discussed variables into account along with the athlete’s current abilities, physical limitations, and their overall goals.
Then, using this model, you can make an outline of the athlete’s program.
Example of ideal in-season training
1. High school pitcher: Pitches in one game a week and has practice on days he doesn’t have games.
If you pitch on a Wednesday, you should be tailoring your workout schedule to be around that.
In the days before your start, prepare your body. This would be more power-based exercises with lighter weight moving with good intent but not taxing yourself before the big day.
In the days after, assess the state of the body and choose a workout that will restore the wear from the game you played. Then through the week, build back into that power day throughout the week.
2. High school position player: Has been lifting for 4 years.
If this is you, assess how sore you are on a consistent basis from games and practice. You can then take this information and apply it to how hard you can go with lifts.
If you are able to bounce back and recover, it would be feasible to still lift with a higher intent but volume would be something that would need to stay down.
Maybe a deadlift for 3×4 is the main exercise for the day but then not adding more volume at the end of the lift because you hit the strength/power (depending on the athlete) already, no need to over do it.
3. College player: Pitcher or position
The general response would be similar as the above one depending on the position, with a few differences.
These athletes would be older and likely have a higher training age. So, with them, you can push the intensity more than you could with the typical high school player.
Also, the schedule of a college athlete varies from a high school kid including more traveling for games. Additionally, depending on the college, you could have less practice time.
All of these factors should be looked at when forming strength training plans for athletes in season.
Regardless of position, the various types of practices should be considered, as the total volume an athlete experiences matters.
If practice/game volume are high and kids are smoked coming into the weight room, it is important to adjust. If practice was a cake walk, then let’s push it a little bit.
Variability is okay. Plans can change.
Don’t be stuck to do it the way that was originally planned just cause it’s “by the book”. Also, maxing bench every other day with your bros isn’t going to help.
If you didn’t see a situation described that you think fits you and are curious for more information please reach out to us. We will elaborate on this topic and can help educate you on your path to your goals.
We aren’t saying that all extra work is bad or even that you shouldn’t have fun with friends in the gym; however, being smart about volume and staying focused on your goal needs to stay in the front of the focus.
Assess where you’re at in your training and come back to your biggest goal, peak performance on the field.
We can still train in season and make positive strides but data around the total volume of practices needs to be looked at. Listen to your body. Communicate with coaches if you are feeling run down.
These will help you stay healthy and keep you moving toward your goals.
Looking for nutrition advice for in-season? Read article by Nutrition Coach, Ashley Edwards here.
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