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3 Reasons Training In-Season is a MUST for Athletes




At CSTS, we are striving to create lifelong athletes that love the training process, fitness, and being active.


In the short-term, we want to see our athletes THRIVE on the field or court.

We want to see them throw touchdowns, score goals, and make PLAYS.

We want to see them stay healthy, avoid injuries, and support their teammates!

BUT... it's the long-term growth that we ALWAYS maintain our sights on.

And in order to maximize long term athletic development one thing is NECESSARY...


Training for a month here and a month there will NOT create the physical adaptations and positive training habits that we work to empower athletes with.

Training "just when the schedule allows" is NOT what's needed to reach the next level and maximize your athlete's potential - helping them achieve their goals.

Training needs to be prioritized... year round.

Now, don't hear what I'm not saying...

Training also NEEDS to adapt throughout the year.

Season's change, sports ramp up and wind down, practice times increase and decrease.

In the summer your athlete SHOULD train 2-4 times per week.

In the fall, as they increase time spent on the practice field and in competition, they SHOULD decrease training time to 1-2 times per week, amongst other changes to training methods (discussed below)!

At CSTS, we are prepared, adaptable, and capable of adjusting programming to meet the short-term and long-term needs of the athlete!

WHY in-season training is necessary?


Our bodies are VERY adaptable.

They adapt to the stresses we place on them.

This is why lifting works in the first place.

Lift weights, stress the body, get stronger.

However, the adaptable nature of our bodies can also be a negative thing.

Just like we adapt to stress, we will adapt to a lack of stress.

Sit on a couch for a month - don't be surprised when strength decreases, muscles atrophy, and movement quality diminishes.

In the off-season, many athletes work hard to gain strength, grow muscle, and improve movement quality - all of which play a critical role in minimizing the risks of injury.

As athletes transition into the season, we NEED to continue to give the body the stresses that got the athlete to that point, or else we risk losing those qualities.

Train in-season, minimize the risks of injury.


A sport season can be hard on athletes.

Maybe they don't get the playing time they would like.

Maybe they dropped a game winning catch.

Maybe they got yelled at by a coach.

At CSTS we pride ourselves on fueling ATHLETE SUCCESS.

We want athletes to walk out of the gym every day SUCCESSFUL.

Whether that's lifting a bigger weight, exploring a new exercise that they learn to love, or playing a new game that it turns out they're pretty good at - we strive to have all of our athletes find success daily.

This isn't saying that we avoid failure - which is an important piece of development - but when we fail, we work together to solve, grow, and find success from it.

This creates two things...

First, it gives the athletes a very positive emotional response to training.

Going back to my original discussion, if we want to create lifelong athletes, it starts with creating positive health and fitness habits that are fueled by positive training experiences.

Second, it gives athletes a place outside of their primary sport - both physical and emotional - that they can use as an outlet.

CSTS is a home for athletes.

It's a community.

It's a performance facility.

It's a family.

We unconditionally support our athletes and sometimes during the season is when they need that support the most!


There are many training strategies we can pursue that will PRIME and PREPARE an athlete's body in the short term to maximize performance.

Potentiation strategies.

Active recovery methods.

Neuromuscular priming.

By pursing some of these well researched training methods, we can increase athlete performance in the short term.

We can prime their bodies so they walk on the field FEELING great.

We can utilize strategies to help them RECOVER faster.

We can help them, in the end, MAXIMIZE PERFORMANCE.

HOW we train in-season.

At CSTS we are adaptable.

We make adjustments to meet the needs, goals, and contexts of the athletes that walk through the doors.

When an athlete transitions to in-season mode, so does their training.

To make this transition, we do 3 big things...

First, we decrease the training volume.

This goes for both the number of training sessions per week, as well as the training sessions themselves.

If you are an in-season athlete, I recommend joining our BRONZE or SILVER memberships.

With practice time increasing and more games being played, training time should decrease (BUT NOT DISSAPEAR).

Training 1 or 2 days per week is the perfect amount to support long-term development and short-term performance.

Within the training sessions themselves, we will decrease the volume of each exercise being completed.

Instead of completing 4x6 squats, we adjust to 3x4.

Instead of running 6 sprints, we run 2 of them to make sure maximal linear speed is maintained throughout the season.

While it may seem like small changes, over the course of the season this decrease in volume can drastically support recovery and feelings of "freshness" while still achieving the strength and speed maintenance that we strive for!

Second, we shift our exercise selection.

Certain exercises that we complete within training are more stressful than others.

For example, a Barbell Back Squat is more demanding than a DB Goblet Squat.

A maximally loaded Hexbar Deadlift is more stressful than a Hexbar Jump.

A Bench Press is more stressful than a Loaded Push Up.

In all of these scenarios, we can achieve a very similar training response with the less stressful exercise.

By doing so, we minimize the training stress that is being placed on athletes, while still maximizing the creation of physical adaptations.

Third, we prioritize what they aren't getting in their sport.

Because the majority of sports are dynamic, use minimal external loading, and played at a moderately fast pace, in training we minimize the amount of time devoted to these qualities.

Instead, we fuel stressors on the other end of the spectrum.

By doing so, we continue to create a long-term athletic development plan that is holistic.

Think about it like a nutritional plan...

Having a wide array of foods and nutrients within your diet is crucial - Meats, high quality carbs, fruits, vegetables, fats, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, etc.

Let's say you find yourself in a position where you are missing a critical piece of this equation, like meat.

All of the meat in the world has been removed in this made up scenario.

You shouldn't simply say "welp, I guess no protein for me."

You should find other sources of protein that allow you to maintain a holistic, well-rounded diet.

Once the meat comes back, you can have it re-enter your diet and YOU are in a better place because you supplemented protein with other sources while it was missing.

The nutritional plan is your athletes holistic development.

Training is the meat.

Don't simply remove it.

Let's supplement it to support your athletes upcoming season and BEYOND.


Train in-season.

It's important for your athletes long-term development.

It's important for them to have the best season possible.

It's important for their creation of positive health and fitness habits.


Carter Schmitz, MS, CSCS

Owner and Head Coach at Carter Schmitz Training Systems



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