Train Smarter, Train Harder…or both?

  • by

I recently completed a yearly certification requirement from the NCAA. In one of the modules the NCAA broke down a sample daily schedule for athletes which included all Countable Athletic Related Activity (CARA).

The NCAA sets maximum CARA hours for all athletes. An in-season student-athlete can have a maximum of 20 hours per week of CARA, while an out of season student-athlete is limited to 8 hours each week of which just 4 hours can be skill or practice related.

As you can see from the graphs it becomes apparent that 4-20 hours per week is actually not a lot of time. Because of this I believe there are only two feasible options or a combination of both;

  1. Increase weekly training duration or
  2. Optimize training- train smarter.

I’m not an advocate of the #hustle #nodaysoff culture or mentality as I don’t believe that more work always leads to greater outcomes.

Unfortunately for athletes they are often left with little choice.

An athlete rarely has the means to train smarter as their sporting sessions are laid out by their coach and their strength and conditioning sessions are created by strength and conditioning staff. But if you did- what are choosing…and why?

#Hustle culture

It can be tempting to increase weekly training duration as you don’t want to be seen by others as lazy- or that you want it to be known that you are making the most of your opportunity but the reality is that training too much or over-training can lead to stagnation, burnout and a lack of desire to compete at a high level.

Make no mistake about it: making the decision to optimize your training is a large investment and can be seen as a great risk. In optimizing your training you will need to extensively research your training methods, recovery methods, food intake, sleep, nutrition etc. This investment will take a lot of time on the back end but once you obtain this knowledge you will find huge advances in your game.

The second option is a financial investment. Refer to the experts to level up your game; consider working privately with a sport coach, dietician or strength and conditioning professional as they can develop programs or protocols to help you make the most of your time on the field and in the weight room. If you would like start your journey into training optimally, consider working with me HERE.