As we approach the end of Training Camp in the NFL, I am reminded how rigorous and challenging a month of pre-season training can be on an athlete’s body.The month of August is filled with 2-a-day practices across the country.I thought I would take a second to sit down and describe some of the adjustments and different training techniques that we’ve incorporated to keep our players as healthy as possible.As coaches we are charged with a very important responsibility, we are expected to prepare our players to compete at the highest level possible, at the same time we must always keep each athlete’s health and well-being at the top of our priority list.When sitting down to plan a strength training program during 2-a-day practices one must first realize that they are facing two major concerns.These concerns are Over-Training and Under-Training. Although these two occurrences are on the opposite end of the spectrum from each other, they are both very harmful to an athlete’s performance and more importantly put their health at risk.The coach must realize that between Over-Training and Under-Training one is inherently more dangerous than the other.The negative effects of Over-Training can and will be much more detrimental to an Athlete than those of Under-Training.It can take upwards of 6 months for an athlete to recover from Over-Training.Over-Training is defined as excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training, resulting in fatigue.This can also be due to a lack of rest and recovery.Signs of Over-Training include a decreased desire to train and decreased joy of training.When performance begins to deteriorate this is a sign that Over-Training has occurred, and the athlete should be allowed proper rest and recovery.When an athlete is either Over-Trained or Under-Trained they become more susceptible to injuries.
Some of the adjustments that we have made to our program during Training Camp are as follows:
·No more than 3 weight lifting sessions per week (usually 2 total body lifts and the option of one extra upper body lift)
·On non-lifting days each player reports to the weight room for a “Therapeutic / Recovery” session.This consists of static stretching, dynamic movements, PNF stretching, and abdominal work.
·Closely monitor each athlete’s nutritional intake and give recommendations and guidelines for proper recovery eating.
·Allow athletes adequate rest time.The schedule should allow for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
·Allow enough recovery time after lifting and in between practices. As often as possible we schedule our total body lift on days with only one practice.We would typically practice in the morning and lift in the afternoon.
·Always weigh in and out of EVERY PRACTICE!Be sure that your athletes remain properly hydrated.