Many non-professional sports teams seem to hit a wall late in the season. They burst onto the scene enthusiastically and energetically, only to taper off their performance as time goes on. Injuries tend to occur with higher frequency at this point in the season as well.
Coaches must work to discover methods that keep their team active, healthy and passionate up until the end of the season. Ideally, athletes will see their peak performance at the tail end when the games matter most. Coaches and trainers involved in high school athletics must work particularly hard to keep their team focused while trying to juggle countless other responsibilities on the side.
To get the best results, athletes must train individually to consistently push themselves to the next level throughout the season. Team motivation coaches must also ensure that, as a group, athletes are preparing for in-game situations while at the same time using exercise techniques that prevent injury.
Even if you are not a high school athlete coach, your organization can use these same strategies to beat out peak season fatigue and prevent your best members from sitting out when the most important projects are on the line.
Athletes have regular practice five or more times per week. This schedule makes individual training a tight squeeze within their schedules. Trainers and private coaches have to make the most of this time by using truly effective strategies that mark progress, teach the athlete stress management and ensure they continue their personal growth throughout the season.
Personal trainer Jared Markiewicz employs self-limiting exercises to see how an athlete copes with progressive work overload. The athlete will engage in activities like jump rope, squats and one-armed lifts until they begin to show fatigue. As their technique degrades during these moments of increased central nervous system stress, the coach can teach them how to correct posture problems or use regressive movement to regain a more neutral resting phase.
Personal coaches can use similar techniques in the business world to work one-on-one with staff. They can track progress during high stress times and point out issues that start to appear when workload gets high. The coach can also suggest ways to regain energy and motivation after coming off of a particularly stressful period. As Markiewicz puts it, “our goal is to reset them back to neutral and leave our gym more recovered than when they entered.”
In every team, there will be individuals with more natural talent, more personal motivation and a varied mixture of both. While the temptation may be to work only with problem cases and let excellent performers stay the course, the best method is to raise everyone to the same standard as much as possible. Increasing awareness for unequal ability levels or inconsistent performance can have the whole group work together to address common problems.
Short, intense exercises that recreate game-day conditions offer the most benefit. Over time, the athlete can begin enjoying the exercises and see them as fun rather than a punishment. At the same time, strength training should be used to minimize injury and develop a culture of raising abilities and achieving success.
Managing a business team can similarly use high intensity exercises to drill the group as a whole and prepare them for real life scenarios. At the same time, preparation work can be used to teach the team how to minimize the risk of making errors or falling behind while boosting productivity and abilities across the board. The metaphor might not be perfect, but the image of pulling your team through the busy season and making their most impressive plays during the peak can be an inspirational goal.