It should go without saying but quality is better than quantity. It is all too common for players or coaches to run themselves into the ground or think they have to kill themselves in the gym with every workout. How tired you are should not be the barometer of how quality your training was.
A quality training program gives the minimum effective does to elicit a training effect. This allows you to stay consistent and do it again the next day. Consistency is the name of the game. In other words, don’t let today’s workout ruin tomorrow’s.
Most coaches have finally come around and realized that running poles and distance running are a complete waste of time, but some may still argue that their over-zealous conditioning builds mental toughness. But, you know what else builds mental toughness? The mental fortitude it takes to make sure you get 4,000 calories in a day, put on 40lbs in 6 months, and take your deadlift from 200lbs to 400lbs. That athlete that does that is tough, I guarantee it, and they’ll be a better baseball player for it.
Isn’t that the goal?
Your training should stimulate, not annihilate. We use variations of the High-Low training system famed by Track coach Charlie Francis.
The High-Low Training system is the idea that your high intensity days are extremely taxing on your central nervous system, and they should be counteracted with low intensity days. This structure will keep you within your training economy and allow you to optimize the benefits of your high intensity days. Low intensity training may seem boring or soft, but they are used to recover and prepare the body for the next high intensity day. Constantly being in the state of fatigue will likely lead to injury and you’re going to have a hard time getting faster or stronger. Remember, you’re training to be an athlete, not a Navy Seal.
Another method we use is incorporating deload weeks into our training. Every offseason training program I write is a 4 week program. For the first 3 weeks we’ll really build up and get after it. I’ll even add a little volume or intensity in week 3. Then in week 4 I’ll remove the volume by about 25% and the intensity should come down. I want my athletes thinking around 6/10 on the RPE scale. This deload week should have the athlete feeling fresh and ready to get after it on the next program.
One thing that is important to remember is that the more advanced athlete you become the higher your highs are and the lower your lows should become. An athlete that runs the 60 in 6.4 seconds is going to tax his CNS a lot more than an athlete that can’t break 7 seconds. Quality recovery is very important for an explosive athlete.
Training is just the stimulus, the recovery from your workout is when you are actually getting better.