Fire. Mental Toughness. Strength. Speed. Agility. Quickness. Power. Do you excel in all of these components? How are you going to be better than those guys who do? If you want to be above the competition you have to “Jam” harder than the competition. You have to put in the work in the off-season. The off-season is the time when gains are made. Train harder than the competition, but more importantly, train smarter than the competition. To become a champion, you need a plan.
The information presented in this article just touches on some basic concepts in sport psychology and program design. There are a million ways to skin a cat. Use this info, but think for yourself. Develop your understanding of training before beginning your training program.
Here’s my 6 step approach to attacking your off-season training:
1. Set Goals
2. Visualize success
3. Develop Your Program
5. Training Mentality
Step 1: Set Goals
To start, you’ll want to set two goal types, outcome goals and process goals. Your outcome goal is the major goal, it is the outcome of all your training and hard work. Process goals help you get there by obtaining smaller goals in the right direction. Let’s say your outcome goal is to place at the Club Championships. Your off-season process goals could be to…
- Clean 100 KG
- Front Squat 255 Lbs
- Run a sub 5.00 forty yard dash
- Pull backhand 80 Yards
- Touch your toes
Step 2: Visualize Success
Once you have your goals set, begin to image yourself succeeding. Actively envision yourself reaching your goals. In sport psychology this is known as imagery. Imagine perfection, and perfection will come.
It’s OK to be a bit dramatic for purposes of motivation. For example, your goal is to make Nationals. Before big sets in the weight room, image yourself at Regionals; its game to go, double game point, you are on D. Imagine the physical and emotional energy you are going to invest in that point. This moment is the cultivation of all the work your put in during the off-season. You lifted all off-season with this moment in mind… You put in the work and you are stronger and tougher than the competition.
The moment of truth… imagine yourself succeeding; you get a huge layout block, pick up the disc and huck it for the goal. “We are going to Nationals!”
Positive thinking and visualization will vividly remind you of your objectives and give you the motivation to grind through your off-season training.
Step 3: Develop a Program
There is no need to over think your program. It can be a simple process if you understand some basic concepts. Programs must be structured and planned out in phases. The simplest approach to developing phases is known as Linear Periodization.
The basic premise is, as intensity (weight) increase, the volume (amount of work performed) decreases. Look forward to USAU magazines winter edition of Above the Competition for further explanation.
Phase 1: Adaptation. Build work capacity, groove movement patterns. Prime your ligaments and connective tissue for the heavier phase to follow.
Phase 2: Strength. Put some weight on the bar and develop strength, the precursor to power.
Phase 3: Conversion. Convert your strength base into Ultimate specific power.
The majority of players are in their extreme off-season right now; therefore we have to start by building a work capacity through phase 1: Adaptation.
AmmUNItion Ultimate just completed their adaptation phase.
Here is an example workout:
Piece 1: Clean Complex – 2 Sets
12 Reps Each – (empty barbell)
-Front Squat to Press
-Power Clean to Front Squat
We are reinforcing the movement of the Clean with high reps. Typically you would not use these high of reps with Olympic lifts. However, it makes sense in this phase.
Piece 2: Metabolic Leg Series – 1 Circuit
-Crossover Lunge x 15 Each Leg
-Thruster (front squat to press) x 25
-Split Squat (no barbell) x 10
Gas out the legs. Build that capacity to do work.
Piece 3: Barbell Upper Body Circuit – 7 Circuits
1st Circuit – 7 reps of each exercise, 2nd Circuit – 6 reps,…,7th Circuit – 1 rep.
Upright Row – Bent Over Row – Shoulder Press – Plank Push/Pull
Hit a little upper body push/ pull.
Piece 4: Plank Variations/ Abs
Hit some pillar holds and abs.
Pretty simple huh! It’s not tough stuff. The workouts only take 45 minutes twice per week.
It’s simple. It’s effective.
There is no need to get any more complicated during this phase.
Each week increase the intensity by decreasing the reps and adding weight. Your clean complex should look like this after a few weeks… Notice they have adapted to the movement by decreasing the reps and increasing the weight.
Look forward to future articles where we will discuss the other phases.
Step 4: Testing
Here are some easily replicable tests that will give some process goals to work for:
Field Tests (and what you need to do it):
- 40 Yard Dash: Tape. Watch.
- Vertical or Broad Jump: Wall. Tape. Ladder.
- Serpentine Agility: Cones. Watch.
- 300 Yard Shuttle: Cones. Watch.
- Distance Pull: 4 Angles. IO backhand, OI backhand, IO forehand, OI forehand
Lifting tests (some examples):
5 RM Front Squat
3 RM Power Clean
Pull Up ‘Til Failure
Note: Adapt into your lifting program prior to attempting to gather numbers. A smart lifter should be able to gage baseline numbers after about 6 weeks of Phase 1: Anatomical Adaptation – this is all about getting used to training. Phase 1 is a great time to get some rough numbers before jumping into Phase 2: Strength Building.
Retest after 6 – 8 weeks of Phase 2: Strength. During phase 2 you must move some weight. Develop your strength and prepare to convert it to sport specific explosiveness during Phase 3: Conversion.
Step 5: Training Mentality – On to the Next One
It’s a new year that is shaping up to be an amazing one for competition levels in our sport. To keep up, you are going to have to train.
Train hard, train smart, train consistent.
Perseverance may be the stand out quality that separates the good from the great. If you start your training finish it. There will be obstacles. You will overcome them. When you do overcome them, when you accomplish a task or a process goal, well, that is awesome. Good work! But, you must keep your vision and outcome goal in mind.
Tell yourself, “I got it done, I did a nice job today. That’s behind me now. What’s next?” Plot your next move, make your next move, move onward, move “on to the next one”.
You can apply this mentality even to individual sets and reps of exercises during training. Blast your first set, add some weight, on to the next one.
Thinking with this “on to the next one” mentality will keep you constantly moving forward, up the ladder towards developing your athletic potential. Continuing on our example from above:
- Develop a smart lifting program and do your field tests. “On to the next one”
- Complete Phase 1: Anatomical Adaptation. “On to the next one”
- Complete Phase 2: Strength. Destroy your base lifting numbers. “On to the next one”
- Convert your strength to Ultimate specific power (Phase 3). “On to the next one”
- Re-tests and destroy your field tests numbers. “On to the next one”
- Jump higher, run faster, play better than the competition. “On to the next one”
- Accomplish you outcome goal (place for Nationals):
Step 6: Jam
Use goal setting, visualization and testing to motivate you. Develop your program and get after it.
Get in the weight room and Jam.
For: AmmUNItion. Who will accomplish their goal.