First off, I hope everyone has been staying healthy through this unprecedented time. No one ever saw this coming, and we all have had to learn how to deal with it as the world went on a complete “lockdown.” It’s been since the middle of March that all cities/states in the USA were following “stay at home orders” from their respective governors. As the country/world is slowly starting to open up, I thought PRESEASON TRAINING SCHEDULE was the perfect topic to discuss and share with you, so you know how to come back safely without a possible injury.
We typically take three weeks off, most of June, as the summer is the perfect time to take off from a long season and heal both physically and mentally. Otherwise, you are susceptible to physical injuries and mental burnout. Most people overlook what we call the recovery cycle, but Diana McNab and I advocate it.
When Covid-19 hit, most of us were forced to take time off starting mid-March and more than three weeks. From what I saw on social media many of you were doing physical conditioning as there were so many free apps out there offering free classes to do online, from yoga to Zumba, dance classes, Rocky’s workouts, etc….and that was GREAT. I also wrote a 2 part series on Visualization for the IRT, which I hope you followed on the http://www.irt-tour.com or www.FranDavisRacquetball.com
Now that we have gone through the recovery cycle for almost ten weeks, we need to start back up with following a preseason training schedule, which will start getting you ready for when the clubs open and tournaments/leagues start up again. Of course, the entire country is not opening up at the same time, so you will have to adjust the timing when you start your particular preseason training schedule to fit YOU and your STATE, but you still can do physical conditioning at home or outside to build a base.
Preseason Training Schedule
This will start at different times for each person based on where you live and what phase the fitness clubs will reopen in that state, so you can resume doing your weight training, take classes, and play racquetball. It usually lasts for six to eight weeks, or until the leagues/tournaments begin, but remember you will have to adjust accordingly. The key is you want to focus on getting back into a routine sooner rather than later.
In the chart below you will see how to set up a preseason training schedule using the components of flexibility (FLEX), speed play (SP), aerobic conditioning (AC), strength training (ST), drilling (DR1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. These #’s refer to different drills you are working on to perfect a particular skill, for example, DR1 might be Forehand, DR2 might be Backhand Off the Backwall, DR3 might be Drive Serves, DR4 might be Forehand/Backhand Ceiling Balls, DR5 might be the Return of the Lob Serve and DR6 might be a Set-Up shot off the front wall and return it with a Down-the Line or Cross Court Pass. DR1-6 continually rotates to different drills based on what skills you are working on at the time.) and mental (MENT). Give yourself adequate time to prepare, and as it gets within 4-6 weeks of your season add in playing.
Remember as it is within 4-6 weeks of your season replace 1 day a week of DR (1 of the 6) with 1 day a week of playing. As you are within 2-4 weeks of your season replace 1 more day a week of DR (1 of the 6) with another day of playing. As you are within 0-2 weeks of your season replace 1 day a week of DR (1 of the 6) with yet another day of playing.
***Check out my book, “Championship Racquetball” for more details on how to ease your way back into tournament toughness over an eight week period of time…Chapter 10, “Conditioning and Flexibility”, P. 257-260.
So here are some more detailed tools to help you in your preparation.
6-8 weeks out: Begin practicing and drilling on the court by yourself (no playing yet), three to five times per week.
4-6 weeks out: Continue practicing and drilling by yourself, but add some movement and service drills, plus play with someone once per week (choose a partner one level below you so you can work on your game and not feel pressured).
2-4 weeks out: Continue practicing by yourself one or two times per week, and play two times per week with someone a level below you as well as someone a level equal to you so you can put your skills to the test.
0-2 weeks out: Continue practicing by yourself once per week, and play three times per week with someone one level below you, one level equal to you, and one level above you to push you a little bit to get you ready for peak play and the season.
Check out my book, “Championship Racquetball” for details on how to drill over an eight week period of time…Chapter 1, “Attacking Forehand Drilling”, P.18-26, Chapter 2, “Penetrating Backhand Drilling”, P.46-53, Chapter 8, “Practicing Perfectly”, P. 205-214.
6-8 weeks out: At the onset of 6-8 weeks from your season you will be doing 3 times a week of MENT, especially visualization.
4-6 weeks out: Add in a 4th day of MENT
2-4 weeks out: Add in a 5th day of MENT
0-2 weeks out: Add in a 6th day of MENT…you can never be doing too much MENT.
***Check out my book, “Championship Racquetball” for ALL the details on “Visualization” and much much more and see exactly how to use the Mental Toughness tools over an eight week period of time that pertain to the preseason…Chapter 9, “Maintaining Mental Toughness”, P. 215-235.
6-8 weeks out: Start with an aerobic conditioning program of running, biking, stair stepping, and so on for 25 to 35 minutes, and build up to 35 to 45 minutes, three or four times per week.
Begin strength training with light weights for endurance and cleansing, two or three times per week
4-6 weeks out: Continue the aerobic conditioning program three times per week, and add speed play for 15 minutes once a week.
Continue strength training, and increase to heavier weights two or three times per week for power and speed.
2-4 weeks out: Continue aerobic conditioning two times per week for up to 35 minutes and speed play one or two times per week for 15 minutes.
Continue strength training two or three times per week with lighter weights and more repetitions to begin your maintenance program.
0-2 weeks out: Continue the aerobic conditioning one or two times per week for 20 minutes and speed play two times per week for 15 minutes.
Continue strength one or two times per week, tapering to lighter weights and fewer repetition to enter your peak play mode.
***Check out my book, “Championship Racquetball” for ALL the specific on conditioning during your preseason training program…Chapter 10, “Conditioning and Flexibility”, P. 237-257.
Often during the recovery cycle people have a tendency to “treat” themselves and stray from eating well and drinking lots of water. As you enter back into your preseason training you want to make sure you get back into the routine of eating right and drinking lots of water as your body and mind NEEDS this in order to perform at its best.
***Check out my book, “Championship Racquetball” for specific information on your NUTRITIONAL needs.
****Make sure you check with your physician and personal trainer on your fitness level and how to proceed safely.