Summer Conditioning

Conditioning in Sports: Key Principles and Strategies

Conditioning is a crucial aspect of athletic performance, yet navigating the myriad approaches can be overwhelming. As a football coach at the high school level, I've seen firsthand the importance of preparing athletes effectively. Here are some insights and principles to consider:

Getting into Game Shape

  • Pre-Season Preparation:
    • It's essential to use the off-season effectively to prepare athletes for the intensity of the upcoming season.
    • Avoid rushing into game shape during pre-season to prevent burnout and overtraining.

Types of Conditioning

  • Straightforward vs. Change of Direction:
    • Running straight ahead is easier, but mastering change of direction is vital for game performance.
    • Effective change of direction requires strength, explosiveness, speed, and balance.

Balancing Conditioning Components

  • Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training:
    • Integrate both aerobic fitness and anaerobic training into your weekly regimen.
    • Prioritize the dominant actions of the sport while incorporating secondary components.

Importance of Conditioning

  • Impact on Performance:
    • Fatigue significantly affects speed, strength, and explosiveness during games.
    • Incorporate conditioning into speed training to enhance cardiovascular fitness.

Change of Direction and Conditioning

  • Integration Benefits:
    • Change of direction drills naturally incorporate conditioning.
    • Design workouts that simultaneously improve agility and cardiovascular endurance.

Practical Tips for Coaches

  • Testing and Recovery:
    • Use simple yet effective conditioning tests to gauge fitness levels.
    • Ensure athletes experience test-like physical demands during training.

Conditioning Principles

  • Sport-Specific Conditioning: Tailor conditioning drills to mimic the demands of the sport.
  • Recovery and Variation: Incorporate active recovery and vary frequency, volume, and intensity of workouts.
  • Smart Approach: Know when enough is enough; avoid overtraining by monitoring athletes' responses.
  • Recovery Matters: Recovery itself is a form of conditioning; allow athletes to absorb and adapt to training.
  • Avoid Punitive Conditioning: Use conditioning as a tool for improvement, not punishment.


Recent Posts