In-Season Programming: Comparing Stimulus to Success

By Sparta Science

March 13, 2014

lifts_web-11In-season training is notorious among athletes for inconsistency. This is understandable because the ultimate goal is to perform on the field on a daily basis as well as possible. As mentors and scientists, we are obligated to search for the trends between training consistency and sport success that help us identify risk for injury and opportunities for improved performance.

The first step to identifying trends is developing a trajectory. Trajectory is a concept we are learning from our stats team as we work to make the connection between training and performance.  Trajectory is the expected rate of change for a given stimulus. This evaluation is revealing because it sets the benchmark for comparing changes in training to changes in performance. In our case, we evaluate the trajectory of a training plan with the desired result of sport statistics (batting average, points scored, days missed from injury, etc.).

The first step is to define your training plan. The second step is to retrospectively evaluate the trajectory of training plan against the ultimate goal of sport success. Today we will focus on the most difficult part, building a plan you can stick to in-season.

Building the In-Season Plan

The best plans guide the training process, generally consisting of one of more prescriptions that are objective, reliable, and  specific to the athlete or team's needs. Furthermore, the best prescriptions are built with audibles in place that allow for modifications to be made based on injury or fatigue.

module_web-6With our goal in mind of being optimally prepared every day in-season, we can work towards building a framework based on the environment that we are dealing with. This plan starts with 4 complexes of exercises (2 upper and 2 lower). Each of these complexes takes about 15 minutes, and the framework is flexible in that any combination of complexes can be done on any day.

Two upper on one day and two lower on another... One upper and one lower two days a week... One quick complex four days a week... All four complexes on one day. The flexibility allows for coaches and athletes to make adjustments based on practice schedules, and playing volume. Moreover, we are able to accomplish everything we need in about an hour a week. This approach prioritizes time spent on regeneration , skill practice, and mental preparation.

Now that the plan is in place, check back next week when we talk about the objective, specific prescriptions that we use in each of our complexes. But without a plan, you cannot show a trajectory for your work and ultimately can only cling to values you have less control over, like wins and losses.

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