Summer conditioning can oftentimes be optional for high school athletes. However, there are many benefits to training in the off-season.
High school football summer training can help prevent athletes from getting injured during their fall season. One way to avoid overuse injuries is to follow a proper football conditioning program.
Dr. Jonathan Shook, OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, will discuss how to prevent overuse injuries and the benefits of football summer conditioning.
Benefits of off season-training for football
According to Dr. Shook, training in the off-season has many benefits. “Most athletes aim to increase muscle mass, increase speed and agility and increase skills for their specific sport or sports,” said Dr. Shook. “These gains then translate into better performance when their sport’s season comes along.”
Once the season starts, the focus is on maintaining these gains. “Training during the off-season also has the benefit of reducing the number of ‘in season” injuries’,” said Dr. Shook.
“Increasing intensity at a slow steady rate allows your muscles, bones and joints to adapt to the increased stress they are experiencing,” said Dr. Shook. “Your muscles and tendons gain strength and flexibility with training, and this process happens slowly. Your bones get stronger with strength training, but if you do this too quickly, you can actually cause stress fractures of the bones.”
High school strength and conditioning programs are designed to help get athletes in shape.
“Nobody should expect to go from sitting on the couch one day to playing in a football game the next day without training and working up to the level of intensity it takes to play in a football game,” said Dr. Shook.
Furthermore, high school football summer strength and conditioning programs allow time for growth for a sports team to get acquainted with one another which helps build team chemistry.
Common overuse football injuries
- Patellar Tendonitis: The patellar tendon is attached to the quadriceps muscles and allows you to straighten your knee. Repetitive stress on the tendon activity can weaken it. It also makes the tendon more susceptible to tears.
- Shoulder Injuries: Shoulder dislocations and separations are caused by the repetitive throwing motions. Shoulder separations, the spraining of the joint alongside the collarbone or tearing of the tissue of the shoulder socket, cause severe pain and reduced motion of the arm and shoulder.
- Knee Injuries: Hard falls and tackles can cause ACL and MCL tears. Other ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the knee may also suffer stress injuries from overuse. Cartilage in the knee can be damaged from high-impact, repeated motions during football activity. This can result in early-onset arthritis.
Five summer training tips for football players
- Get enough sleep to fuel your workouts.
- Fuel your body with nutritious food.
- Wear the correct athletic gear to help prevent injuries.
- Hydrate before, after and during workouts.
- Warm-up and cool down to decrease the chance of injury.
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