Three tips to help you prepare for spring sport tryouts
To perform your best at spring sport tryouts, it’s important to avoid injury during the season and get to the postseason in the best condition possible. Coach Stephen Venugopal offered training tips so you can be at your best when it matters most.
Your body adapts to training depending on the stimulus you give it. When you train for speed, agility or plyometrics, your body improves its coordination and movement patterns to run faster and change directions. These adaptations are lost rather quickly once you stop training them. So, it is important to spend time on them during the season. The good news is you don’t need to spend as much time during the season training these qualities. Short speed sessions before practice or on an off day can do the trick.
Your body also makes adaptations to lifting weights and traditional strength training/resistance training. These adaptations include muscle size, bone density, tendon, and ligament thickness and strength. These adaptations are not lost as quickly as the neurological adaptations, but they do need to be addressed. Work on strength training during the bulk of the season, two to three times per week for 30 to 45 minutes, and as the season ends, two times per week for 20 to 30 minutes.
Focus on movement quality
You don’t need to spend as much time training or doing as many reps when training during the season. Focus on your movement quality and work up to executing 80% of your reps well to prevent your body from breaking down. For example, if you are training the squat, reduce the number of reps. As you work to 80% of your 1RM, perform 2–3 sets of 1–3 reps.
When it comes to speed, perform technical speed drills and build up sprints. Do 1–2 sprints at 80–90% of your max with a technique that is smooth and does not cause you discomfort or pain.
Adjust your approach according to your goal
Start preparing for the season by knowing when your tryout dates are and the demands that you will be asked to demonstrate. Some people already know that they will be on the team and will start. For them, tryouts should be seen from the lens of bonding with teammates and building team cohesion.
For others, just making the team is like winning the Super Bowl, these athletes need to be prepared to play as hard as they possibly can and demonstrate to the coaching staff and team leaders that they can play a productive role on the team. This means you should have a different approach to tryouts depending on your goals.
If you are going to be a team leader that the coach will not tax too much in tryouts because they are trying to evaluate other players, you are going to want to keep strength training and speed training as much as makes sense due to the demands of the tryouts. We recommend focusing your training to build adaptations a little bit longer prior to going into the season.
For athletes trying to make the team, you are going to need to focus your training on recovery and maintenance in the two weeks leading up to tryouts and add in more skill work and tactical training to understand when and where to apply those skills.
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