Athletes need to be prepared for the demands of their sports in order to perform well and to perform safely. One common mistake with training for sport competitions is not having a systemized approach. You need to know where you are physically, where you need to be physically, and how much time you have to prepare. Once you know all three, you can start to reverse engineer the process to determine the best approach to your training.
Here are 5 ways to safely prepare for competition:
1. MAINTAIN ADEQUATE TRAINING LOAD IN THE OFFSEASON (AND WHILE INJURED)
Exercising, specifically under load, during an injury or during the offseason will help maintain an athlete’s baseline capacity. It will improve an athlete’s ability to tolerate load during preseason and return to competition.
2. IDENTIFY CAPACITY NEEDED TO PERFORM SPORT ACTIVITIES AND ENSURE TRAINING LOAD IS PROPORTIONATE TO COMPETITION DEMANDS
Through the use of modern wearable technology, most sports have data (at least at the professional level) for the capacity needed to perform a sport activity. You may need to look up data or use your own wearable device to determine the necessary capacity for sport load, and make sure you train at a proper relative load based on where you are on your timeline in preparation for your sport (pre-season, in-season, off-season, etc.).
3. ASSESS INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN TRAINING TOLERANCE AMONG ATHLETES
Each athlete will have their own specific tolerance to training. Common reasons for variations in training tolerance are age, prior injuries, training history, musculoskeletal imbalances, and psychosocial or emotional factors. Different athletes will progress at different rates regarding intensity, overall volume, and necessary rest. Progressing too slow may impede progress. Progressing too fast may cause injuries.
4. IDENTIFY AND PREPARE FOR THE MOST DEMANDING ASPECTS OF COMPETITION
Training for the average demands of competition will leave you underprepared for the worst-case scenario. This will lead to either poor performance when it matters most or possible injury from not being prepared for such high demands on your body.
5. CONSIDER PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THE SPORT, PHYSICAL CAPACITIES REQUIRED, AND FACTORS THAT LIMIT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE
Progressive, gradual, systematic increases in training load allow athletes to safely progress, reduce injury risk, and enhance performance.
You do not want to rush the process. Using these 5 tips, you should be able to improve your thought process on training progressions and have a purpose for each modification. Failure to take into consideration any of these variables could result in either poor performance or injury. These tips can be utilized for any sport.
Looking to improve your performance? Need to get ready for the next season? Wanting to PR your back squat? If you need some guidance, connect with us to start a safe, but intense training program to achieve your goals.
Corey Hall, PT, DPT