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One of the most difficult jobs for a Strength Coach is getting their athletes to workout during high school season. This is somewhat understandable because for most athletes, it is the busiest time of year for them. The average varsity athlete has practice and games 5-6 days a week with a possible tournament included. Of course they also have homework, family, friends and other responsibilities to share with us which makes it even more difficult. However, difficult does not mean impossible. At Jackson Strength we require all of our athletes to continue their training during high school season but it takes some creativity and a change of direction as far as what we are trying to accomplish. A lot of parents and athletes will be quick to blame lack of time and fatigue as their main reasons for not wanting to workout during this busy time. In fact, I am so used to this question that I just decided to blog about it so I don’t have to explain it anymore. So, here are the top 5 reasons all athletes MUST train during their high school seasons:

1) If You’re Not Going Forward, You’re Going Backwards: It’s very simple: If you stop stop lifting weights for 3-4 months during high school season you are going to lose strength, flexibility, and mobility while increasing your chances of injury. Contrast this with the beast on the other team who has maintained their strength and conditioning with continuos workouts and you can see how this is a bad situation for you. Advantage: Competition. It’s a very simple concept. Do you want to own the advantage or you want the competition to have it? The smartest and most dedicated athletes have no problem answering this question.

Takeaway: The athletes that continue to train during the regular season have the advantage during championship season.

2) You Will Be Lifting During Season in College: So you say you can’t make it to workouts because you are tired and you have homework? Well, your college coach isn’t going to care. There is nothing special about this situation. Everyone else is in the same situation called being a student-athlete. Manage your time to stay strong and healthy or you don’t survive and you end up on the bench with all the other excuse makers. Student-athletes must start preparing for college athletics as young as possible which means learning to balance a social life, athletics, homework, weight training, injury prevention, and nutrition.

Takeaway: In college you will be forced to make time, so start training yourself now.

3) Twice as Strong or Half as Strong?: If you take high school season off, not only did you miss out on 3-4 months to improve mobility, dial-in technique, and get stronger. You also set yourself back a couple months in terms of progress. So, if you take 3-4 months off and then it takes 2 months to get your strength back, you have just lost 5-6 months of time. So, over the course of two years leading up to college you can either end up with a total of two years of weight training experience or one. To a dedicated and hard-working athlete, this is an obvious no-brainer. Especially to the athlete seeking a scholarship. College coaches know that the stronger an athlete is, the less likely they are to get injured. Injuries are a huge problem for college coaches these days who give full rides to athletes that don’t produce anywhere close to their potential because they are constantly injured. As soon as your potential college coach finds out you have been lifting consistently for a few years, your stock instantly rises.

Takeaway: If two similar athletes are battling for the same scholarship, most college coaches will give it to the stronger one.

4) Discipline and Mental Toughness: Many people look at weight training as developing physical strength, which is obviously true. However, pushing yourself to workout on your day off, when your tired, or after practice is where discipline and mental toughness can be worked on as well. If you want to be the best, you have to be able to push yourself in less-than-ideal conditions. Lifting weights when you are tired is basically practicing being strong when you really want to give up and do nothing. When you start to mentally or physically fatigue during competition, your body knows exactly what do: Suck it up and push forward.

Takeaway: Every athlete will get fatigued during competition but college coaches want the athletes who have the mental toughness and discipline to push through it.

5) Recovery: Rarely does weight training get thrown in the same conversation as recovery but an experienced strength coach can do it with ease. At Jackson Strength our methods for accomplishing this include an emphasis on core strength, flexibility and mobility, less volume of reps, reducing the intensity of weight lifted, and focusing more on injury prevention. Another tool we use is our MarcPro machine that lets us decrease inflammation and soreness in the muscles. Just simply getting in the weight room and moving around with a light lift and a dynamic warm-up will help recovery more than an 8-hour social media session on the couch.

Takeaway: Life is movement and movement is healing. Go get your lift on!!