Summer Training & Performance
The Wildcat Strength and Conditioning Staff would like to address some training issues as they apply to the Summer months. Every year, we see many athletes struggle as they try to balance their time and energy over the 10 weeks of "vacation". So many of our athletes are multi-sporting which adds to the challenge of progressing safely. The volume and intensity of training and competition from June to the end of July can wreck havoc on a 15-17 year old's body. Too often, a multi-sport athlete becomes a single sport athlete by the time September rolls around, not because they aren't good enough, but because they either "flame out, blow up or burn out" in the Summer. It is our hope that these training and performance tips will help you guide your son or daughter through the upcoming "busy season", Summer 2011.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'm on campus from June 13 through the end of July.
Tony Calvello BA, CSCS, USAW Sports Performance Coach
Recovery: it's still work, but not under load and not at a high level of intensity. The best time to start a recovery workout is immediately after a training or competition session. Recovery includes rest and nutrtion, both of which will be discussed separately below.
Active recovery may include light jogging or other cardio routines at an "easy" pace to elevate heart rate, increase blood flow and elevate the core body temperature. Once the athlete is warmed up, dynamic movement drills may be incorporated. If the recovery session is immediately following a training session or competition, light static stretching may be incorporated in recovery routines, but only at end of workouts or if athlete is completely warmed up. Foam rollers are also useful for recovery, as deep tissue massage has proven to break down and release myofacial tightness that leads to post workout soreness. A basketball or soccer ball can also be used as deep tissue massage aides. Ice, cold showers, a dip in the ocean or cold pool are also helpful ways to minimize soreness that may set in after a tough workout or game. While a hot tub may be a relaxing way to wind down at the end of a day, long soaks in hot water can actually cause problems if the athlete has had a tough workout, game or has experienced an injury (especially deep bruises and sprains). Hot treatment (i.e., hot tubs, heating pads, icy-heat products) should be avoided for the first 36 hours after an injury as swelling may be worsened by their use.
Rest: it's not just sleep, but time off away from sports or training is a necessary component to healthy and successful training. It doesn't neccessarily mean shutting down completely,though. Active rest, also known as cross training, is a way for athletes to break up their routines, avoid slipping into ruts, and keeping a fresh and energetic attitude toward their training. Getting adequate sleep can be a challenge for adolecents, and it's not just because they want to stay up late. Their hormones and body chemistry prevents them from falling asleep at a normal "bed time". The challenge is finding the right time to go to bed and get 8-10 hours of quality sleep--which may be a very challenging endeavor indeed with morning workouts and afternoon/evening games or tournaments.
Nutrition/Hydration: the key to improved performance. Starting the day with a breakfast meal or healthy snack is essential to start the metabolism up. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, is a sure way to set yourself up for failure, frustration, illness and possibly injury. Drinking enough water throughout the day is also key to the healthy functioning of all of your body's systems, from your skin right to your neuromuscular system. Volumes have been written about sports nutrition...I will refer you to my Nutrition page for more links and a valuable Power Point presentation on Nutrition for the HS Ahtlete and a sample food log. Other topics covered: weight gain, weight management, supplements, energy drinks are all covered in links on the nutrition page. click here.
Bottom line, every athlete should shoot for 6 meals a day. Every snack counts as a meal...make every snack count!
Soreness/Pain/Injury...knowing the difference between them is key to progressing safely through the Summer months and beyond. Muscle and joint soreness is normal for teenagers as they continue to grow. High School athletes will experience some soreness as a result of their training and competition, and oftentimes it can slow them down. By following the recovery tips presented above, normal soreness can be minimized. Soreness that lasts for more than 3 days can be a sign of over training, dehydration, micro-tissue damage or more serious conditions if other symptoms exist. If you ever have a question or doubt about your son or daughter's condition, give us a call here at school. Typically, muscle and joint soreness comes on 24-36 hours after a tough workout and is a normal part of the bodys rebuilding itself.
Pain, on the other hand, will come on soon after a specific incident or activity. Pain isn't neccessarily a sign of injury, but the acute onset should be given attention to rule out the possibilty of injury. Twisting an ankle or bruising a thigh are examples of painful incidents that may or may not be serious injuries. Again, the coaches and staff should be able to offer guidance.
Injury may result from a sudden impact, collision or fall that results in acute pain and immediate swelling, discoloratation or deformation. Injuries range from broken skin from cuts or scrapes to broken bones or torn ligaments. Not all injuries require a trip to the hospital, but it's not a bad idea to rule out the worse case scenario by getting an X-Ray on a swollen joint. No matter what, always follow the principles presented in RICE: Rest off the injured joint until swelling is gone, Ice for first 36 hours (20 min on/ 20 min off every couple of hours), Compression wrap to help reduce swelling and to provide support and Elevate above the heart to reduce pain and swelling.