We have a lot of GAA athletes coming into us over the past few weeks to prepare for their next competitive season. Their main goal is (at least it should be) to head back into the competitive season in the best physical and mental condition possible.
If you’re an athlete, that is the single most important goal of your S & C program. It’s not to set a new personal best in the deadlift or to have a thicker back. These things may help depending on how the previous season has effected you.
Maybe your strength levels have seriously dropped off or you’ve lost a lot of muscle mass and need to put this back on in a way that it will benefit your sport. If this is the case then the goal is still to do this so that it has a positive impact on your GAA performance and not to make you bigger for the sake of being bigger or stronger for the sake of being stronger.
So how do you go about training for your next season?
I recently re-posted an old video discussing our approach to training athletes. You can view the video at the end of this post if you missed it but for now I’ll assume that you have seen it already.
To optimally prepare for your next season and to keep yourself healthy (which is an often overlooked aspect of sports performance) you need to start making your way through each level of the sports performance pyramid and cleaning up each block so that it supports the block above it.
After a tough competitive season, your body will have lost a lot of the qualities that it depends on for optimal sports performance such as basic movement skills, joint mobility, strength, power, etc. Your off season is your opportunity to rebuild these qualities.
The trick is that you need to do them in the right sequence. This is where the performance pyramid comes into play.
Firstly you need to know what your priority areas for improvement are. An example of this is that we always want acceptable joint mobility before we start to load that joint or movement pattern up. If you can’t comfortably raise both arms over head then how can you safely perform a barbell jerk or a chin up where your arms end up in the same position but with a lot more stress on them.
Or how can you hope to safely develop a powerful vertical jump if you can’t do a body weight squat. If you have trouble doing a controlled body weight squat due to restricted ankles joints and you try and blast through that restriction as fast as you can you are asking for an injury. Even if you don’t get injured, you are still missing out on a lot of jumping potential. The key here is to improve your ankle mobility for a higher jump, not simply jump more. That give you the potential to jump an extra 1, 2 or 3 inches.
Whether your sport is GAA, triathlon or MMA, you need to make use of your off season to rebuild your performance pyramid and then maintain it as much as possible in-season. Your previous season will have taken its toll on your body and you need to address this.
There are many great facilities and coaches around that have the structures in place and the knowledge to help you do this. Locate one of them and train smart.
If you are in the Cork area take a minute to check out our SPORTS PERFORMANCE MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM to see how we go about preparing our athletes to performa at their best.
Questions or comments? Post them below.
Enjoy the video.