I've written a bunch of articles on in-season training. There's a whole page of them on the Strengthcoach.com home page.
The other day I got a great question from a young coach. He is just starting a new job at the minor league level and, he's starting mid-way through the season.
He asked “what are a few things I should remember”?'
Here was my advice
- Realize it's in-season. Working out in-season is like going to the dentist ( The Dentist and the Ice Cream Man). Guys don't want to be there. Many may have never done any in-season training their entire career.
- All the players got to the pros without you. Respect that fact. Try to meet them where they are while still getting the big rock stuff done. If you have reluctant lifters, this is where bodyweight exercises like 1 Leg Squats and Skater Squats are great. The best way to get reluctant guys strong is to be sneaky. Start with no weight and add things like light weights vest, chains etc over time.
- Realize that talent and work ethic are generally inversely proportional in team sports. Your best players may have the worst work habits. Again, meet them where they are. Enlist the coaches if you have to but, try a personal appeal first.
- Have mandatory warm-ups. I cant believe that every professional team does not have a mandatory pre-practice routine. Kicking a soccer ball with your buddies is not warm-up. It's school yard play. I actually hate it because I have heard stories about guys having to miss games or practice because of muscle strains from a vigorous soccer warm-up. (obviously this does not apply to soccer).
Everyone foam rolls. This means actually working on sore areas, not sitting on the roller talking to the guy next to you. I often say “its foam rolling, not foam sitting”.
Everyone stretches. We make sure you hit hip rotators, hip flexors, adductors and hamstrings. You can add more stretches but, make sure you hit those four areas.
Everyone does a slow-to-fast dynamic warm-up. This means starting with things like walking knee hugs, walking leg cradle, heel to butt and progressing to skips, shuffles, cariocas.
Also, remember to connect! Connection is easy, but, it takes some work. When I went to work for the Red Sox I spent every morning reading the media guide for 15 minutes. I read every player and staff bio. I remembered where they were from and any other info I could stuff into my head. Were they married or single. Did they have kids. Had they been to college or signed right out of high school. So many details to absorb that could create some small connection point. I often connected with young guys over music. Some guys would play 70's or 80's and I knew right away their parents were my age. Often we'd talk about car rides or roads trips listening to their parents music. Success is about connection and relationships. Professional athletes have choices. Remember that.
Hope this helps both young and old coaches