Why WOULDN'T You Do In-Season Training?

There's been a long standing mindset that training during your sport season is not that important, and is best left to the off-season when you have more time and energy.
While it's true you can't train as intensely, this approach misses the mark on the realities of how your body adapts and grows over the long run.
In-season training has been part of the weekly routine for college and pro athletes dating back at least to the 1990's in many sports.
Most notably, all-time basketball great Kobe Bryant became legendary for his early morning strength workouts on game days throughout his 20-year NBA career.
The lesson there?
The best athletes in the world know how beneficial in-season training is.
Those same benefits apply exactly the same to younger athletes in the earlier stages of their development.
More specifically, there are three big ones:
Benefit #1 - You Maintain Off-Season Progress Far Longer
For all those kids who grind away and make notable progress in the off-season, those gains slowly slip away when you completely stop what you were doing.
Remember that your body is in a constant state of adaptation.
Provide a stimulus to make it improve, and it will. Remove that stimulus and it will gradually adapt back to the way things were.
A general rule is that conditioning, speed and flexibility decline within a week, strength and power gains take about a month.
Wait an entire sport season to provide a new stimulus, though, and you'll slide back in every athletic skill you built.
Not to mention, when your season ends and the time comes to reach an even higher level next year, you'll start back up at a far higher level if you've worked to maintain your progress.
Benefit #2 - You'll Still Be At Your Best At The End Of The Season
Championships are won at the end of your sport season, not the beginning.
Coaches love to see players come in to camp in great shape, playing at a new level. As each week of detraining passes, though, that level of play can gradually come back down.
In-season training's goal is to essentially maintain your off-season progress, and when done properly that means your physical skills will continue to stay elevated from the first game right to the last.
Luckily for you, most youth teams still either do no in-season training or do not apply the right principles to peak for playoff time.
Do this right, and you have a notable edge over your competition at exactly the time of the season where games count most.
Benefit #3 - You'll Lower Your Injury Risk
Although it is easiest to picture strength training as your protection against injury, it is really the mobility and stability work you do that limits your risk.
Remember that more than half of all sport-related injuries come from non-contact incidents.
Essentially this means that some weakness or imbalance you have was always susceptible to breaking down in the right moment, and for some that moment unfortunately came for them.
Continuing to improve your mobility helps you to avoid getting caught in awkward positions during the sudden stop and start moments in your games.
Training the smaller muscles that act to stabilize your joints (shoulders, knees and ankles mostly) teach them to turn on at the right time before they snap out of position.
A properly designed in-season workout targets major mobility and stability needs on top of speed and strength work to make it far likelier you finish the season healthy.
These are just the physical benefits.
We all know that exercise is a great stress relief, too.
Going that extra mile when others don't is also a trait that the truly elite build over the years. If you want to go farther than your competition you must be willing to do more than them.
Busy practice and game schedules combined with school and travel make in-season training difficult for everyone.
In-season training only requires 1 or 2 out of the 168 hours you have each week to be done properly.
Are the benefits listed above important enough for you to dedicate 1% of your week to achieving them?

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