Off-Season Training: Overhead Athletes

Last week, we laid out some general guidelines for athletes heading into their off-seasons. You should read it, if you haven’t already. Today, we’ll delve into some specifics for overhead athletes (i.e. baseball, softball, javelin, shot put, swimmers (though it seems as if they never have an off-season), etc.). Shoulders are rather complicated and annoyingly fickle joints that can develop irritation easily which is why proper attention MUST be paid to shoulder mechanics and care during the off-season. There is nothing “natural” about throwing a heavy object (or a light one really, really fast) and shoulders can get all kinds of whacky over a long, repetitive season. I’m going to keep it sweet and simple. 1. Restore lost mobility and […]

Early Sport Specialization: Why This Needs to Stop (with a capital “S”)

Here in northern Virginia, and in other hub-bub places too, it’s not uncommon for an athlete to play a sport during the high school season, and then transition straight into the club season (which lasts f-o-r-e-v-e-r), leaving the athlete with maybe 2-3 weeks rest before try-outs for the next year’s high school season start. Does this sound familiar? Does this sound healthy? Today we’re going to address a growing (alarmingly so) problem with youth athletics: early sport specialization. As a strength coach, I see some messed up kids when it comes to movements, joint integrity, and muscle tissue quality (all = poop) who play year-round sports at young ages (that is, under 16-17 years old). I see year-round volleyball players who can’t […]

Why Train In-Season?: Strength and Power Gains

Hopefully by now, you’ve read about the signs and reversal of overtraining. Now let’s look at why and how to train intelligently in-season. A well-designed in-season program should a) prevent overtraining and b) improve strength and power (for younger/inexperienced athletes) or maintain strength and power (older/more experienced lifters). First off, why even bother training during the season? 1. Athletes will be stronger at the end of the season (arguably the most important part) than they were at the beginning (and stronger than their non-training competition). 2. Off-season training gains will be much easier to acquire. The first 4 weeks or so of off-season training won’t be “playing catch-up” from all the strength lost during a long season bereft of iron. […]