It’s that time of year, high school athletes are getting ready for “2 a days”. Whether your sport is football, soccer or field hockey you need to start to “train” to get ready for camp. Some kids will come into camp in great shape. They will have trained this summer and they will have properly trained their body for the demands that will be placed on them. Other’s will run a couple of days but for the most part they will try and get in shape during camp. This, as we all know is a BAD IDEA. If you are a high school athlete you MUST get ready for camp. The coaches of your respective sport expect you to be in shape when camp starts. Here is the problem that many kids are asking? What should I do? Should I run, should I lift, should I get a personal trainer? Ok, I have good news and bad news. First the bad news, if you have yet to do anything you are at a very high risk of hurting yourself in camp. Most injuries to athletes occur in the first three weeks of camp. Ok, now for the good news, you still have time to get in decent shape.
Here are 10 quick tips if you have yet to start your training program:
1. Get out a calendar and see how many days you have until camp starts. You need to know exactly how many days you have until the 1st day of camp. Circle the date and get to work.
2. Find out what tests your coach will use to test your fitness on day 1. Most coaches will do either a 1 mile or 2 mile run (football coaches will focus more on sprint/shuttle work as well as strength training). If you need to run a 6 minute mile than I recommend that you go to a track tomorrow and after a good warm-up (future blog) run 1 lap. DON’T SPRINT. Stop after 1 lap and see what your time was. If you ran between 1:25-1:35 than you have a good shot at making the mile in 6 minutes. If you ran 2 minutes you have some work to do. Over the course of the next2 weeks work up to a mile (FYI, that’s 4x around a track) and see how you do. This will give you a baseline of where you are and where you need to be in a few weeks.
3. Get an assessment from a qualified coach/trainer/therapist: Ok, what does this mean? Most high school kids have poor posture as well as several muscle imbalances. This can be a result of sitting at a desk playing video games, computers or daily repetitive motions (Tip: sitting down for an extended time is really bad for your posture). If you want to REDUCE your chance of getting hurt in camp or in your training work with a coach who can tell you what areas you need to work on. Example, for the past three seasons you have had to miss games due to hamstring pulls. Guess what is going to happen this year? Yep, you guessed it, you are going to pull a hamstring and you will miss some games (FYI, the leading cause of injury to athletes is a prior injury) .Do yourself a favor and work with a certified or licensed trainer or therapist who can ASSESS your tissue quality and movement skills. Cost is around $75-$100/per session but it’s $$$$ well spent.
4. Clean up your nutrition: If your nutrition is lacking start TODAY to eat better and drink water more often. Get up early (Stop sleeping until 11 am everyday) and eat breakfast (FYI, NEVER skip breakfast). Make sure you eat a good lunch and a good dinner. Your meals should include a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats. If you are looking for expert advice on nutrition go to www.precisionnutrition.com
5. Train 4-5 times per week: Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to train 7 days per week. If you can get in 4-5 training sessions per week that should be enough to help prepare you for camp. Ideally I like to see my athlete’s get in 3 strength training sessions per week as well as 3 conditioning sessions. Here is a sample schedule:
–Monday: a.m. Running (Sprints) p.m Total body Lifting/body weight strength training.
–Tuesday: Extra stretching
–Wednesday: a.m Running (sprints) p.m. Total body lifting/body weight strength training.
–Thursday: Extra stretching
–Friday: a.m Running (Tempo runs) p.m Total body lifting/body weight strength training
–Saturday: Cross training (Either strongman work, swimming, hoops, surfing, biking, yoga, etc).
Note: Only lift weights under the supervision of a qualified coach.
6. Get a training partner: Training is always better when you train with a teammate or someone who is willing to work as hard as you. Find a friend and the two of you (FYI, get as many people as you can in your group but understand this. You guys are here to train and push each other. Before you begin, everyone needs to commit and be willing to work hard. Hold each other accountable for missed workouts).
7. Get to bed early: Ok, it’s the summer and I realize that you want to stay up late and I understand. Here is the deal. Your body repairs itself and gets stronger when you eat and when you rest. So, 4 out of 7 nights get to bed by 11 p.m . If you want to stay up later 2-3 nights (that’s your parents decision) go ahead. Ideally, I would like to see you in bed by 10:30 but again it’s the summer so we can cut you some slack here. HOWEVER, when camp starts you need to get to bed by 10 pm if you have an 8am, practice.
8. Set your own personal goals for pre-season camp: Coaches always talk about goals but rarely do we hold our athletes accountable. Get out a piece of paper right now and right down at least 3 goals that you want to accomplish during camp. Here are three examples:
–By the end of camp I want to be in the starting lineup.
–I will eat breakfast everyday during camp.
–I will be the top finisher in my conditioning test (FYI, coaches always remember who was 1st).
9. Train at 7 am, 3 pm and 6 pm.: Why would I recommend you do this? Most coaches in camp will do 2 if not 3 practices a day. If you always “train” at 9 am your body will get use to this schedule. What happens when the coach says everyone report to practice @ 7 a.m tomorrow for a 2 mile run and you are normally asleep at this time? The answer is you are going to struggle. So, train at least four times (4x) @ 7 a.m, 3 pm and 6 pm. Your body will thank you during those “dog days of camp”. Note; remember to always have 2 water bottles with you at all times during your training session.
10. Incorporate soft tissue work (stretching, self myofascial work): Ok, here is a tip that most high school kids will skip. I admit, in high school, I stretched for about 10 minutes in four years. The reason being, I did not know how to stretch properly and I did not make it a priority (I did a thing called “fake stretching” FYI, future BLOG). Fast forward 21 years (yes, I am old and now you can figure out my age) and now I am true believer in “soft tissue” work. This includes band stretching, self myofascial work, sports massage, ART, Graston, mobilization work). For the average high school athlete all they need is a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, foam roller and band and they will be set. Basically there are too many things to explain in this blog but after you read this go over to my video page and you will see examples of what athlete’s can do right now. NOTE, this is VERY IMPORTANT and I truly believe that it needs to be a part of an athlete’s program. The areas that I recommend you focus on are your feet, hamstrings, glutes and shoulders.