Wellness Blog

Unleash Your Potential: Summer Training Tips for Fall Sport Athletes

Written by Dr. Nicki Evans

Unleash Your Potential: Summer Training Tips for Fall Sport Athletes

Unleash Your Potential: Summer Training Tips for Fall Sport Athletes

During my summers growing up by the beach, the arrival of warmth and sunshine signaled the end of school and the start of my summer jobs. While I worked multiple jobs during some summers, there was another job that was just as important but often overlooked - working out. Though I didn't earn a paycheck from it, dedicating myself to daily workouts was crucial for my future success. This holds true for any athlete playing high school or collegiate sports. If you aspire to make the team in the fall or winter, you understand the importance of preparation.

The beginning of June marked the start of my fitness journey, as I learned to balance my real-life jobs with my fitness goals. It was no easy task. As a soccer player at the high school and collegiate levels, I had to devise workout schedules that fit my work load. Some summers, I woke up before sunrise to beat the heat during my runs. Other summers, I had two jobs and would go running late in the evening after finishing a shift as a waitress. While others were heading to the bars or clubs, I would be out running through the crowd, focused on my late-night workouts. For strength training, I had to coordinate with the gym's hours and work around my social calendar.

Now, I may have missed out on some social activities, but this was my idea of fun. I knew that hard work and dedication would eventually pay off. For me, the summer season meant hitting the pavement, working on foot drills for soccer, and gaining strength in the gym. What does the summer season mean for you?

I learned the hard way how to incorporate my fitness journey into my work and social life. Below, I share some key advice that I hope will benefit you and help you navigate your own summer fitness journey.

First and foremost, start with a game plan that aligns with your goals and training. Your goals may involve specific target times for running, as set forth by your sport, or a specific number of push-ups to improve your strength for your sport. If you're not participating in a school sport but want to enhance your fitness before the school year starts, your goal could be to run a 5K by the end of the summer. A well-structured training plan is essential for any activity, especially those that span several months. Having a plan in place ensures that you're prepared from the start, minimizing guesswork or last-minute planning. It also allows you to see your upcoming week and make adjustments as needed. Ultimately, this promotes consistency and reduces the likelihood of skipping or forgetting workouts.

A second piece of advice is to ensure that your training plan incorporates three key components: endurance/conditioning, strength/resistance, and skill development/technique. The emphasis on each component may vary depending on your sport, but all three are important. Endurance training enhances cardiovascular health, improves mental toughness and resilience, and reduces the overall risk of injury. This is particularly beneficial for longer events, as it builds the confidence that comes from knowing you can push through to the end. Meanwhile, strength and resistance training builds muscle and power, improving overall muscle efficiency and performance. Finally, summer training provides an opportunity to refine existing skills and develop new ones, further maximizing your performance potential.

Recovery is often overlooked but is an essential part of any training program. Many of us learn this the hard way. We often believe that working out every day without proper rest will lead to improved performance. However, the phrases "more is better" and "no pain, no gain" can be misleading and potentially harmful, leading to injury, loss of passion for the sport, or subpar performance when it matters most. Allowing your body adequate time to recover is crucial for optimizing the effectiveness of your summer training program. Proper nutrition, sleep, hydration, active recovery days, and rest days are all vital for performance optimization. Recovery enables your body to adapt to the stressors of training, helping to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall participation.

Summer sets the foundation for your upcoming season. While it's important to have fun, work, and spend time with family and friends, it's also the perfect time to prepare for the demands of the upcoming season. Summer provides an opportunity to sharpen your skills, build a strong physical foundation, and enhance your endurance for the challenges ahead. So lace up your shoes, grab your gear, and let's embark on your summer training journey. If you need assistance with training plans or want to get started on your summer fitness goals, feel free to reach out to me today.

Published: May 28, 2024