Advertisement

How often should I train for my sport?

The amount of training needed is dependent on the individual, sport schedule, and specific needs of the sport. Most yearly sport performance programs are built upon the principles of periodization training. There are common seasons built around a specific sport: Pre-season / In-Season / Off-Season.  Periodization training creates cycles within and through these seasons.

Cycles:

  • Macrocycle: A year long plan at a training program
  • Mesocycle:  A month by month plan within a training program
  • Microcycle: A week by week plan within a training program

It is common practice that In-season training is to stave off injury and maintain current levels of strength, power, and flexibility.  Athletes generally train 2-3 days a week with lowered intensity and participate in soft tissue management (flexibility, mobility, and fascial health) everyday. Off-season training starts off light to rejuvenate and restorate the body after a grueling season and then builds to increase balance, core, strength, and endurance. Athletes will build up to as much as 6 days a week. Power is the main component of emphasis in Pre-season training. The foundations have been built and now explosive power, speed, agility, coordination, and quickness must be developed at maximum efforts to create the complete athlete. Due to the intensity of various power training workouts the athlete will reduce intense training sessions as they are closer to the season. Skilling and technique activities begin to become integrated within global power workouts. Formal training sessions are usually 3-4 days a week.
Sport-specialized training can be a year round endeavor in some cases. As in every sport, practicing your craft 6 days a week while in-season is pretty standard. It's always a wise policy to take off at least one day a week to rest and recover if scheduling permits. As the off-season transforms into pre-season, more time must be spent practicing the actual sport and creating high levels of competency and coordination for the skills needed for success. Different sports require different time commitments, so it is sometimes too difficult to give an exact number. When balancing between sports performance training and training sports skills, the relationship is usually inversely proportional with respect to time prior to competition. For example, at the beginning of an off-season, spend more time performance training (resistance training, focusing on conditioning) and less time practicing sport skills. As the season draws closer, balance your time and energy evenly between the two. When entering the pre-season, you should primarily focus on sport skills and technique while giving less time to sports performance training.
Paul Winsper
Sports Medicine
Training frequency is determined by many different factors.
Age – most younger children will train for their sport a couple of times per week and play once per week in season. As you get older  your involvement in the sport becomes more serious then so does the time commitment, often needing to practice up to x4 per week and playing at least x1 per week in season.
Playing level – it is not uncommon for professional athletes to train everyday for most of the year, even a day off may include some light recovery type session such as a massage or stretch.

Phase of season – during the off-season players usually have a period of down time and are encouraged to engage in light physical activities away from their focus sport. They then engage in serious physical preparation in the latter part of the off-season in readiness for the pre-season training camps. During pre-season players combine their physical preparations with the technical and tactical components, usually training x2 per day for 6 days per week. Once the season starts competition takes centre stage and players may train less in order to be fresh to compete.

Continue Learning about Sports & Athletic Performance

Sports Physicals 101: Who Needs Them and Why
Sports Physicals 101: Who Needs Them and Why
For many students, the back to school routine usually involves seeing their doctor for a yearly checkup. Once kids reach middle school, high school an...
Read More
Does my combine training transfer to my sport training?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
If done correctly, your combine preparation should directly transfer to your sport. You should take ...
More Answers
Calories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer Sports
Calories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer SportsCalories Elite Athletes Burn During Summer Sports
Learn how many calories top athletes might burn playing these summer games.
Start Slideshow
How Important Are Lifestyle Changes for Professional Athletes?
How Important Are Lifestyle Changes for Professional Athletes?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.