Summer Training: Six Things a High School Athlete Must Do
As a strength and conditioning coach, our expectations are that all athletes from our perspective schools train year round. Our goal is that each of our athletes have the discipline, desire and work ethic to strive for greatness. One of our primary tasks is to instill those three attributes within each athlete we work with, and there is no better time to begin than summer.
- Goal Setting & Teamwork
Setting goals will hold athletes accountable to themselves and their teammates. Goals must be written down so they can be visualized. My suggestion is that each athlete writes down five goals related to training and their sport that they want to accomplish over summer. Those goals are to be handed over to a teammate that will hold them accountable on follow through. Do not hand goals to a best-friend who will cut breaks.
How do I set my goals? There is no one way to set goals. Summer goals, however, are short-term, not long-term, though they should play into an athletes long-term goals. For example, a long-term goal would be winning MVP in league. A summer short-term goal might then be working on a specific skill of one’s sport that is often performed during a match or game.
Here is an outline of how I have athletes set goals:
- Training Goal: area of strength you want to make stronger
Ex: improve Power Clean and Squat… set specific attainable numbers that can be measured
- Training Goal: area of weakness you want to improve
Ex: Squat ROM… video yourself doing a squat in the beginning and the end
- Sport Goal: an area of strength you want to enhance
Ex: dropped passes last season… catch 500 balls per day
- Sport Goal: an area of weakness you want to improve
Ex: slow off the line… work on acceleration drills three times per week, in addition to lifting
- Discipline Goal: one thing you need to do, but don’t do often, and do it every day. The task must take at minimum 20 minutes to perform.
- Determine a summer training schedule
The key is to set a schedule and stick to it. Attend all team trainings ready to perform both mentally and physically. If your team doesn’t train or train often over summer, set an additional schedule. Always work more then you rest. Make sure your training schedule has four to five days of work. Earn your rest days.
When setting the schedule ask yourself, are you a morning person or a night person? Plan your training times around that. Challenge your mind and set at least one day where you train during a time you do not want to. This will help build up your mental toughness while instilling discipline, desire and work ethic.
Mobility is the second most overlooked training skill. Without mobility, lifting weights can be harmful. Every coach must implement a movement analysis that looks at an athletes overall mobility and flexibility while evaluating any muscular imbalances.
This is the no. 1 most overlooked training skill. The best program in the world is limited if nutrition is not a part of it. Follow these basic rules: eat six to eight times per day, eat healthy carbohydrates (stick to simple carbs following vigorous training sessions and complex carbs at meals), eat balanced meals and snacks—you can go without carbs in meals and snacks but you can’t go without fat and protein, eat plenty of vegetables, limit sugary drinks and snacks and do not drink sports drinks throughout the day.
- Dial in your Weightlifting Technique
Understand that there are two types of training speeds, teaching and learning speed and competition speed. Learn the difference and be ok with going slow at times. Olympic weightlifting is the most functional training methodology of all time in regards to athletic performance. Why you ask? Because during the second pull of the lift we perform a triple extension that enhances hip speed and power. This power is utilized in nearly every sport and game on the planet.
The power starts in the quadriceps muscles, with some hamstring depending on the position, and drives through the glutes. The power is transferred throughout the body in a coordinative manner that highly activates the core. The core is utilized both for stability and transfer of power, which is how it is used in all sport activities.
By increasing load and speed with these movements athletes will get faster and stronger functionally. This training technique is not easily understood and is often performed incorrectly. For coaches who do not know the ins and outs of this training, find a weightlifting coach to learn from.
- Build a Base… muscular development & conditioning
What I am referring to is building the frame of each athlete. This doesn’t mean each athlete is going to get huge, but it does mean that each athlete will increase cross-sectionals while spawning more strength. Young athletes need more volume than older athletes. With immature muscle, spending time in higher volume training versus intense training is more beneficial.
High volume training means sets from four to six with repetitions at eight to fifteen. High intensity training means spending time with sets from four to eight with one to five repetitions. Intensity refers to the load percentage. Both forms of training are important, but spending time with volume for young athletes is more important. As a general example, spend one week on high intensity for every three weeks on high volume.