Most every sport has turned into a year round venture with very little off time between seasons. We continue to see athletes finish a season and take minimal time off as the stigma of ‘the more/harder you play, the better you become.’ To some that formula is clearly false and they know they need a true off-season. But to others, breaking a cyclical behavior and mindset of not taking a break is near impossible.
Now, this article isn’t about athletes taking 4 months off after the season is over to rest their body and mind. However, it is about realizing that mixing competition in a normal season, performing skill work, and competing in the typical off-season period isn’t the best thing to do in regard to overall performance and recovery methods. Let’s breakdown the typical year-round athlete and why too much stimulus makes no sense.
If an athlete is dosed with a stimulus in sport, such as jumping or arm extension from throwing, why would you continue to dose them with similar training in the weight room? Sounds a bit redundant, right?
This would be like a baseball player seeing his pitching coach once a week, while also throwing with his team twice a week. Oh, and he just did those activities while having a round robin tournament last weekend. Throw, throw, and throw some more. Or it could be the volleyball player seeing a skills coach or two, practicing with a club team, and practicing with a school team. That is A LOT of jumping. So, what are you to do as a coach? You do NOT want to overdose the body in the weight room, which means limited extension work and no extra plyometric drills for those athletes, respectively.
World-renowned strength Coach Mike Boyle calls over-stimulating the body ‘filling buckets that are already full.’ So, what do you do when buckets are already full? You fill the empty buckets. There are multiple aspects to proper training for an athlete and convincing me an athlete doesn’t need more than one bucket filled won’t happen. An educated coach will consider strength, power, endurance, conditioning, and mobility/stability and how they all have their own buckets. Continuously over-stimulating and filling only certain buckets leads to overflowing, aka some sort of injury or overuse. The idea that the athlete was competing and training in a smart fashion instead leads to time off due to overuse and improper recovery.
What About Me?
‘But Zach, I’m not an athlete or coach. I’m just a normal gym-goer or parent of an athlete.’
No problem. As a normal gym-goer you know which buckets are empty for you for the most part. You never do mobility work? There’s your empty bucket. You don’t do conditioning work? Empty bucket. You focus on getting strong with heavy weight and