Oct 24, 2017
In-Season Strategies

When your athletes are in the middle of their season, it can be hard to motivate them in the weightroom. Yet in-season training is essential for keeping players healthy and making the gains they need to finish strong. In order to mix things up and get players excited about their training during the season, consider using some of the creative strategies offered by Mike Gentry, Ed.D., MSCC, CSCS, in this blog.

Let Players Lead

While you will be the one designing the training program and making sure that players are safe in the weightroom, it helps to let the players pick the exercises every once in a while. Especially when there aren’t weights involved and you’re working on foot speed or abdominal exercises, it can be a great opportunity to get athletes more invested in their training. Pick players on the spot and ask them to decide which exercises to do for a certain drill. And don’t always pick senior captains — be sure to spread out the responsibility.

Also consider choosing a player who has shown their proficiency in a certain exercise to be the leader of that drill. When there is a simple drill without much risk involved, the modeling process is a good way to give players ownership. Athletes are likely to be more focused and motivated when you give them more responsibility over their strength and conditioning gains.

Create Competitions

When things start getting a little slow in the weightroom, adding some competitions can quickly liven things up. Choose a low-risk exercise, such as bodyweight pull-ups, push-ups, or dumbbell bench presses, and split up your athletes into groups based on strength level. Then give them targets to strive for, such as maximum reps or most weight used on their last set.

The athletes within each group will be able to compete against each other, which will help get them excited about working hard. You can provide further motivation by providing prizes or incentives and reminding everyone that they want to be promoted to the most elite training group. One strategy is to have a board in the weightroom where you write the names of each player and what group they’re in. This will motivate those in the lower groups to work their way up, and it will keep those in the higher groups working hard to stay there.

Run Relays

It can be difficult to motivate athletes during conditioning exercises, especially after practice during the season. A great way to get them excited about in-season conditioning is to set up relay races. This type of competition will inject a new level of fun and enthusiasm to the training and can also help build team camaraderie.

There are a variety of relays that you can have your players run. This may vary based on their sport. Consider splitting them up into teams based on positions, and try to make the teams even so that the relays are competitive. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different things. The goal is to mix things up and have fun. Work with your assistant coaches to set up and organize everything, and keep encouraging and cheering on your players throughout the competition.

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