If I could turn back the clock I’d be 10x the player I am today.
But I can’t.
The best I can do is share the lessons I’ve learned with you, so you don’t make them!
He are the top 6 in-season mistakes I made as a young contact athlete:
1: I Lost Muscle Mass
I’d work my ass off to build muscle in the pre-season, to lose it during the season.
If you can gain (or maintain) muscle mass, you’ll retain strength.
Sprinkling “15-Minute Muscle Mass” could be the antidote, on-top of a well structured plan.
2: I Neglected Top-End Speed
Despite being strong, I constantly tore my hamstrings.
You’ll likely get acceleration exposure through playing itself, but you rarely need to tap into top speed. But when you do, your hamstring can “go” if you’re not conditioned for it.
Malone et al (2016) found the sweet spot for injury risk reduction.
✅ Volume: 6-10 high-speed exposures per week
✅ Intensity: >95% of max speed
3: Thinking In-Season is for “Maintenance”
By training to maintain, instead of progress, I seriously hindered my long-term athletic development.
Contrary to what others say – you SHOULD be getting stronger, fitter and faster in-season.
You just need to be sensible (see next point)
4: Lack of Autoregulation
Having zero auto regulation in your program is a bad idea.
Variability within training, games, and life make your responses to training very difficult to predicted.
70% of 1RM might feel too like one day, then too heavy the next week.
We recommend using the APRE system
5: Focusing on “power” (despite my goals)
Traditional periodisation teaches you to focus on “power” during the season.
Modern seasons can last 45 weeks. If all you did was box jumps, you’d be weak AF.
Stimulate speed, power, strength, hypertrophy, and conditioning year round. Just control the dose.
6: Building my week around weights, not my sport.
When building your training split, put training and games in the diary first.
Then build around them, to optimise your performance on these days.
Our free in-season program gives you a visual of what this looks like: Game Ready: In-season Plan