There is a kid's book that my son read in first grade called Have You Filled a Bucket Today. In short, “bucket fillers” give you good stuff and help “fill your bucket”. “Bucket dippers” “dip your bucket”. They do things to you that make you feel bad.
As I read the StrengthCoach.com forum the other day, there was a question about in-season programming. The basic gist of the conversation concerned what to do during in-season strength training for wrestling. The strength coach was concerned that the coach did a lot of conditioning (running the hallways and lots of calisthenics) that might detract from or disrupt from the in-season program. She was looking for advice on what to do in-season with these athletes.
My advice was simple. I said: “I guess my feeling would be to fill the empty ‘buckets' for lack of a better term. Don't fill a bucket that's already filled”. If we look at each quantity (strength, power, endurance, conditioning) as a bucket to be filled, the answer becomes simple. Even in strength and conditioning, we want to be bucket fillers. Fill the empty buckets, don't overflow full buckets. If the strength bucket is empty, fill it. If the muscle endurance bucket is already full, leave it alone. Don't complain about who filled it or how, just move to the next bucket.
Remember though, when I say to fill the bucket, I don't literally mean to fill it to the absolute brim. We all know what happens when you try to do that; it overflows as soon as you try to pick it up or move it. Instead, you want to leave a little room at the top to give yourself a small buffer zone to avoid spillage. And when in doubt, it's better to leave a little more space than fill it too high. The same can be said for in-season training. It's better to leave a little bit left in the tank than overdo it and run your athletes into the ground. You still want them to get stronger, but if you get greedy, you'll overflow their recovery capacity and create a mess.