Boys and Girls high school basketball seasons have kicked off and teams are into their conference schedules. Questions often arise concerning how often and how intense in-season training should be for teams. This is a topic that is worth hours of discussion.
Here are a few key things to consider:
- Hopefully the players trained hard in the off season to build up strength, speed, and reactiveness. This will better prepare them for the season. Athletes need to be stressed in the off-season so they can adapt to handle the new workload once the season starts. It’s almost like building up a strength ‘reserve’. Players that stress themselves to the point of adapting in the off-season will likely have a larger reserve to draw from as the season begins. However, the qualities built during off-season training need to be trained in-season as well. In order to maintain qualities in-season, players need to train their bigger strength lifts every ten days. That means finding a time within the game schedule to program intense strength sessions. The players will need to lift > 90% of their maximum lifts.
- Recovery and response to injury drives everything. For the players getting lots of game time, overall volume needs to be lower. For players not getting as much playing time, coaches need to be careful not to let them become deconditioned. The individualization of workouts within the team will really spread out as the season progresses. There will be players who can continue to progress strengthening during the season, and others that need to be dialed down.
- Sleep, diet, academic stress, and mood should all be monitored for each player during the season. The best strength training plan in the world will fall apart if these four areas are draining a player’s reserve.
- Track RSI (4 hop test), maximum vertical jump, and even how players are handing some of their bigger lifts (squat, dead-lift). This will give a coach a decent measurement of where the team stands in terms of neuromuscular readiness. If these numbers start diving, workload needs to be adjusted.
Overall, teams that enter the season having been properly stressed to handle demands will be the strongest. Those that are given managed stress during the season to help maintain important athletic qualities are the ones who are most fresh in late February and March. They’ll likely be less injured and closer to their peak physical ability as tourney time begins.