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Written by Bobby Smith, MS, CSCS, *D, RSCC *D & Pat Livesey, MS, CSCS

Schools and sports have been put on hold, and American citizens have been told to stay home.  As athletes and coaches, we are finding this time to be difficult for both our physical and mental preparation as we head into what is truthfully the unknown.  When will we be able to return to our normal daily routines, return back to our seasonal sports, and return to training?  With so many unknowns, we wanted to help out with some tips and strategies to stay “game ready” until this is all over.
As athletes and active people, the best way to stay prepared is to set up a plan of action.  For those that do not have access to a facility to train in, we are providing you with a 4 part plan of action that will get you through the next few weeks.  Each of these 4 different pillars have their own importance and need to be addressed now more than ever, as we are uncertain what the immediate future holds.  These pillars are in no particular order of importance as they are all equally necessary and should be worked on together. They are 1) Cardiovascular condition (running), 2) Strength/Power maintenance, 3) Recovery and nutrition, 4) Flexibility and mobility.
So where’s the best place to start?  
1) Let’s get outside and run!  This is the first pillar that we are going to focus on because it requires the least amount of equipment.  Grab your sneakers/cleats and find a field, or go for a run around your neighborhood.  Regardless of the sport you play, staying conditioned during this time is going to be of great importance upon returning to your sport.  All athletes need aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, in other words, we feel its valuable to do both short, quick sprints, as well as longer, slower distances.  If exercise has been deemed acceptable in your city/state as long as you are 6 feet away from anyone else, we recommend a training session similar to this to help stay “game ready” for whatever sport you are preparing to jump back into.
The charts below have been developed to help maintain or rebuild the conditioning that athletes would normally build up during offseason training, practices, and conditioning after practices.  Each athlete is different sports require usage of different energy systems.  However, in a time like this, all athletes can benefit from basic cardiovascular conditioning regardless of their playing level or sport.
Here is how to perform the training session in Chart #1.  The distance labeled is the TOTAL distance that you are to run during a shuttle drill at the increments it lists below.  If the distance is 20 yards (at 10), then you are to run 10 yards upfield, change direction, and run 10 yards back downfield to total 20 yards.  Your stopwatch or timer will start when you begin the 20 yard shuttle and if the rest states “sprint every 30 seconds” than you have until the 30 second mark before you are required to run again.  Write down the time that you completed the 20 yard shuttle and perform however many “reps” or repetitions that is listed in the right hand column.  Perform the exercises in order as they are listed.  The only part that changes slightly is the finisher for each day, the 150 yard shuttle.  You will perform 2 repetitions of this distance, but you get a 90 second rest from the time you cross the end line of the 150 yard distance.

To keep the training sessions interesting and give you some variety, Chart #2 is another type of running that you can do.  Depending on the type of field you have access to, the size may vary, however they will normally be 100-120 yards.  You may need to change the distances, but do the best you can with what you have available to you at this time.  General guidelines would make 1/4, 1/2, and full field become 25, 50, and 100 yards respectively.  The same rules apply from above, start your watch before the sprint and begin the next sprint at the end of the given rest period.  As the distance increases, we are challenging your body a little differently, requiring you to adapt to the changes!

Stay tuned for the next 3 pillars! Have fun and stay RYPT!