Preseason training & training Camps are usually characterized by multiple practices in a day. In my experience this is the genesis of many more negatives than positives. The resulting residual fatigue carries deep into the season compromising performance and predisposing athlete to injury. Why do we do it? It is quite simple; it is a tradition, a vestige of times past when you used the preseason to “get in shape.” It usually starts with some arbitrary “fitness” test that often has nothing to do with the sport. If the athletes is found to be unfit based on the test results now what do you do? The season is three weeks away. Do you get them fit? Do you punish them?
You prepare in the off-season where you build a strong foundation. The preseason is a time for specific preparation for the impending competitive season. It is a time to refine technique, sharpen speed and top off speed and game fitness. I have experienced two sessions a day and in college as a football player three sessions. I learned that there is a better way. I have set up training camp scenarios where an athlete only had two sessions in a row and then a recovery session followed by short single sessions. Some of the shorter sessions were teaching sessions of twenty minutes in length with three to five athletes and three coaches. Any testing done was for information as to training status and readiness. A little creativity and understanding of adaptation and laws of learning allow for a better way. The goal is have the athlete “game ready” at the end of preseason not so beat up and fatigued that they can’t perform at their optimum.