A concerning issue has come up recently around the amount of time (or lack thereof) that athletes allow themselves between sports and/or training periods. One athlete I spoke to recently had the following sports calendar: Football (Aug-Nov) into Wrestling (Nov-Jan), then Rugby (Jan-Jun) and finally Rugby 7’s/All-stars (May-Aug), with other sports training and camps mixed in.
I’m a fan of multi-sport athletes for a number of reasons (eliminate overuse injuries, develop multiple skills, etc). But, in doing so, are you eliminating the opportunity to hit “Reset”, mentally and physically, between seasons or sports? Are you allowing time to overcome the small niggles that you carried throughout the second half of the season? Or enjoying a fun getaway with family/friends that does not involve hotels, tournaments or tight schedules?
SO WHAT CAN I DO???
For starters, look at your calendar (Sunday to Saturday) to see how much activity (weight lifting, sports training, games, etc) you may engage with over the course of a week. An easy measurement is to use a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1-10 to score each session based on difficulty, fatigue, etc (1 = no effort, 10 = maximal effort)
Then, look at the entire week to see how much variation you have from one day to the next. Here is an example of how that may look using a simple spreadsheet:
Now, imagine looking at this over the course of a few months. A number of strength and conditioning(S&C) coaches will schedule a deload week (less total volume to allow for more recovery) every 3-4 weeks. Do you have a series of weeks that stay at high levels? Or does your schedule allow for a few days off, allowing you to recover fully and be ready to go 100% for the next session?
To paraphrase what one coach said recently, the best ability an athlete can have is AVAILABILITY, referencing one's ability to stay healthy and fit to play rather than being unavailable due to injury or illness. Don’t let the fear of “getting out of shape” or "losing your spot" push you to the point of soreness or injury where you can’t participate.
Want to get the most out of your training without overdoing it? Curious about how best you can schedule recovery into your routine? Send us an email at email@example.com or direct message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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