Summer is rapidly drawing to a close, and we are heading into preseason for club, college, and pro athletes. Athletes have been training all summer in preparation for their sports’ preseason. This blog post today is a simple reminder for trainers and coaches alike to realize that there is no need to immediately increase the workload on their athletes as they report to camp.
If anything, athletes need to ease into their preseason because the risk of injury becomes significantly higher when they haven’t been playing in competitive scenarios in months. Now that preseason is here, so are games. Therefore, coaches need to be that much more aware of where their players’ bodies are at training-wise.
Yes, it’s true that athletes have been training hard for most of the summer in order to prepare, but there is a distinct difference between strength and conditioning sessions than training sessions. An athlete may be stronger from strength training over the summer, but their body needs time to adjust to the new demands being put on it as they enter preseason. This doesn’t mean that coaches must make practice “easy” per se, but instead slowly ease into double/triple days when athletes arrive to camp. The first week would be a good way to ease their athletes in. This means not overdoing it on conditioning the first few days the athletes arrive, focusing more on technical aspects of the game, walk-throughs, maybe short-sided games/scenarios, and lower intensity training sessions. After the first week or so, athletes will begin to adjust and, as this happens, the coaches can start to increase the intensity of practice as they head into games.
All of this information should be discussed between the coaching staff and the team/program athletic trainers, strength coaches, etc. Being in constant communication with the medical staff will help to significantly lower injuries and keep the coaching staff aware of their players’ needs so they can adjust training sessions accordingly.
Taylor Rowden is a Strength Coach at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, California. Taylor graduated from the Master’s University with a degree in Kiniesiology with an emphasis on sports injury and exercise science. She was also a member of the Women’s Soccer Team.