The KRCS Strategic Approach to Training
It’s not uncommon to find Upper School weight rooms across the country training with a “one-size-fits-all” methodology.
Typically, the style and interest of the coach determines the template used for every athlete who crosses the threshold of the weight room regardless of season, sport, or development level.
This means the same exercises, at the same rep ranges, at the same intensities will be used regardless of specific needs that must be met per athlete. This style of training is certainly effective and an athlete could still grow, stay healthy, and be a well-rounded competitor. However, since there is no attention given to specialization of their current season or development level, much of their success and resulting accomplishments will be limited.
At King’s Ridge Christian School, we choose a different approach.
While we certainly believe there are necessary movements that must be completed for the ultimate growth and development of our athletes, how and when those exercises are implemented will differ greatly depending on the athlete.
We believe that if we desire consistent improvement in the strength and conditioning of our athletes, specific periodization must be considered in their training. Repetition count, intensity, volume, and overall load must be considered in alignment with movement selection and depending largely on seasonal training.
Recognizing most of our athletes play multiple sports, King’s Ridge does not have the luxury of a true in-season, off-season, and pre-season periodized macrocycle. This is simply not a reality for most of our athletes because they move from being in-season in one sport to in-season in the next. We believe this to be a great thing. Athletes involved in multiple sports throughout their Middle and Upper School careers prove to be better athletes overall but also tend to be healthier and less injury prone. Since this is the case, we have no choice but to train athletes with specific seasons in mind and find ways to continually get stronger, faster, and see continual progress even when in season. To permit an athlete to not train for a growth during season will ultimately lead to decline in their strength, speed, and athletic development near the end of their season. This has the potential to develop athletes who decline athletically at the very moment in time when they should be peaking and performing at their highest level. What's more, in an environment like King’s Ridge, this would lead to continual under-development of our athletes as they move from season to season.
It is with these specific considerations and circumstances in mind that King’s Ridge athletes are identified to be in one of five different categories depending on development level and seasonal training.
Any athlete who is not competing at the varsity level on a regular and consistent basis.
- Ultimate goal is to progress athletes to be good enough to compete at the highest level. Therefore when not competing at the highest level they will be trained year-round as if that were the goal.
- Will typically be reserved for middle school and early high school aged athletes.
- Will specifically focus on anatomical adaptation, perfection and precision of movement, and size and strength gain.
- The goal for this category is to get the athlete moving as perfectly as possible.
- In anticipation of preparing for future varsity level competition it will be imperative to create required structural support around their joints and skeletal system to prevent future injury, They will also be introduced to the types of sport-specific movements they will complete at higher intensities and higher loads in the years to come.
- Critical adaptation work and hypertrophy work is built into this training at this time. Without this type of preparatory work an athlete will be susceptible to injury and could waste their potential when they're needed most at the varsity level.
The Off-Season Athlete
:Many KRCS athletes will never find themselves in this category though we encourage and emphasize this specific phase of training as necessary for any sort of long-term athletic development.
- While it is important to play multiple sports and be well-rounded in athletic development, it is also critical to give your body rest and allow for rebuilding and strength gain in many of the areas that have been overlooked while in season.
- During off-season training, the focus is placed on some hypertrophy work to gain a little more structural stability and help protect the body from in-season training and specific sport training down the road.
- Athletes will also overly focus on absolute strength gain. The absolute strength phase of their training is designed to build upon the preparatory work they've done in the first phase and give an athlete an advantage in prep for an upcoming season.
- The stimulus and taxation required to complete true, productive strength gain is immense. For this reason, much of it cannot be done during season when practices and competitions are taking their toll on an athlete’s body. The psyche, energy level, and physiological stability of an athlete does not allow for absolute strength work to be completed during season when sport-specific volume is at its highest
- This phase of training is when an athlete will back off all of the extra, high skilled, sports specific work in order to increase their overall strength and conditioning as they develop a good base for the in-season sport, specific movements that come later. This phase is absolutely necessary for the overall health of an athlete as it allows them to be more well-rounded, balanced, and healthy heading into the rigors of their sport season.
:Also called the pre-season phase and takes place during the early phases of in-season training.
- Start and stop date for this phase is largely dependent on the length and competition frequency of a sport. Sports consuming three months of training and competing two - three times a week extend a version of this phase of training to help the athlete survive the rigors and toll of their season without showing evidence of decline and under development.
- For example, if a season is limited to ten weeks with a 1x/week competition, the athlete will spend limited time in this phase. The “pre-season” will be short since it is critical to get athletes moving towards their peak sooner and ready for live competition.
- During this phase, the athlete is focused on maximal strength and exhibition of the growth experienced in their absolute strength phase. Essentially, the athlete will gain as much true strength as possible, while limiting the number of exercises in this phase in order to create a "reservoir of strength" to help them last the length of their season.
- Includes some “work-to-exhaustion” and pushes the athlete physiologically in a much different way than absolute strength. Why do this during season? Because if done early in the season the ripple effects will help an athlete peak at just the right time at the end of their season and allow them to remain healthy throughout the breadth of their competition time.
- This phase is critical because without it athletes get worse, slower, and weaker throughout the season. By the end of their season an athlete is far less developed and under-trained than they were at the beginning.
- Exercise selection is critical in this phase of training. To decrease any unnecessary load and taxation on athlete’s body, the fewer exercises utilized, the better.
- Athletes at the beginning of their season will find exercises will be selected that are necessary for their overall athletic development and exercises will be excluded that take away from their performance in practice and competition.
- It is not all that unlikely to see exercise selection drop from ten exercises to four or five exercises during this phase.
:Training occurs when an athlete is that their greatest volume in competition.
- This approach of training is designed to move from maximal strength gain to exhibition of strength through power endurance.
- Exercise selection during this phase becomes more and more sport and skilled specific while the intensity will be relatively high and the rest intervals will increase.
- This training phase is designed to help an athlete utilize the strength they've gained over the last couple phases of training while also preventing any unnecessary loading.
- Amount of workouts completed in a week decreases from 5 to 3 during this phase of training. Depending on the frequency of competition, many of them will train on competition day with specific parameters around their position or skill requirements in competition.
- This phase of training is a great way to allow athletes to continually exhibit their strength, preventing any loss of strength, while at the same time allowing them to grow in their application of strength through power and speed work.
:Designed to be completed when athletes should be performing at their highest level, when most of their energy and effort is being expended in practice and competition.
- Work in the weight room limited to two days a week and focused solely on application of power.
- Exercise selection significantly decreased and the major movements consistently utilized in training will be given significant amounts of rest in between repetition.
- Very specific sport-related auxiliary exercises intertwined into training as well as higher dosages of recovery methods in order to sustain an athlete for the remainder of their season and allow them to utilize their athleticism on their field of play.
- Time in the weight room will be best spent maintaining their health, growing only in their application of power, and aiding in recovery.
- Experience a decrease their volume in training only because of the preparatory work done in the previous listed phases. If previous phases are not performed consistently and with precision, this phase will ultimately lead to the decline of an athlete rather than continued growth.
- The multi-sport athlete this phase of training will serve as a perfect deload to their psychological and physiological stress experienced in the weight room. This allows them to jump into off-season training with renewed vigor with little to no downtime when their season is complete.
Multi-sport training and seasonal programming must be considered when training high school athletes to perform at their highest level. To assume all athletes are the same or that all 16 year old, 5’10” male athletes will respond the same to stimulus short-changes the potential development of an athlete and is in direct conflict with recognizing the uniqueness God created in the human body. We believe to provide a “one size fits all approach” is short-sighted and does not serve our student athletes. The King’s Ridge Strength and Conditioning Program is committed to prepare athletes for performance on their fields of choice.