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Physical Conditioning
Definition - conditioning a present participle of con·di·tion (Verb))
    The process of training to become physically fit by a regimen of
    exercise, diet, and rest; also : the resulting state of physical fitness

 Source -  Merriam-Webster

Conditioning of an Athlete
      Most people, including recreation and competitive athletes, will experience some days that it is hard to get up. Have you shut off the alarm and then overslept causing you to be late or miss entirely an appointment or practice session? It is fairly easy to do even when normally the person is very disciplined.

      Having an erratic sleep schedule caused by change work shifts, pulling all "Nighters" to complete work or school assignments, or allowing play and social activities to make it impossible to get eight hours of interrupted sleep each night. Such behavior results in sleep deprivation and it affects the brain's cognitive functions, slows responses, inhibits judgment, and messes up physical coordination just like being under the influence of alcohol.

Establish a Regular Sleep Pattern
     It is important to remember that children and young adults require more sleep than many adults and octogenarians. Too many school, sports, school homework, and family obligations are crammed into a child's every day schedule. What tends to give is to establish a reasonable time for bed.

     Parental should schedule activities that are not high energy just prior to the time to should be preparing for bed. Allow about an hour for them to decompress or they will not be able to immediate go to sleep.

     It is especially hard when a family has several children who are separated by enough years so each child should have different bed times. The younger children will usually complain and make a fuss because they feel the older child is receiving preferential treatment. Stand your grounds unless you want every bedtime to be a repeat of the same arguments for delaying bedtime.

     Children of all ages need to have some down time that they can control themselves instead of having a schedule thrust upon them. They should be able to relax, play, and have fun time to enjoy with friends.

     It is very important to establish a daily schedule that has consistent times to start the day and start the sleep cycle. It is important to stress that there is not such a thing as sleeping longer on weekends to make up for sleep deficits that occurred during the week.

     For more information, refer to The Role of Sleep in Developing Athletes.

Post 7 Day Plan of Scheduled  Commitments each week
      Create a schedule for the entire week and attempt to avoid an extra early or late event. The body's biorhythms. are influenced by physical, emotional, and intellectual cycles. If it is possible to schedule activities to correspond with the highs and and avoid the lows of your cycles your body's response will improve. It may be necessary to adjust your schedule to avoid heavy meals that affect your basic metabolism to increase alertness rather than drowsiness.

     Ideally the time of athletic practice sessions should closely reflect the time of competitive events. However, if you practice from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. or work on a night shift, it is highly desirable to arrange your schedule a few weeks before competing so you will be alert. The same advice is appropriate if your practice or work schedule is during the day and the competitive event is held in the evening.

     Traveling to a different time zone to compete becomes a problem, especially when several time zones are crossed. Be sure to allow for your body to adjust to a different biorhythm schedule. Your body also will require more than just a few days to adjust when traveling from sea level to compete at a mile high location. This is a physical response of acquiring enough oxygen because of the "thinner" air.

Training Programs are Constantly Evolving
     Athletic training that was previously used to get athletes back into shape after a long period of down time, has undergone many improvements since the days of long and grueling practice sessions to:
  • Interval training that establishes a strong foundation of good work habits in a fun and progressively challenging atmosphere:
    • Build Stamina and Endurance
    • Speed and Agility Development
    • Body Mechanics & Core strength
    • Improve Strength and Coordination
    • Improve Self Image and Confidence
    • Create a Competitive Atmosphere
  • Recovery techniques to manage an athlete's activities form daily training and competitions:
    • A Complete Nutrition Plan
    • Yoga
    • Sports Massage
    • Hydrotherapy
    • Thermotherapy — Hot & Cold
    • Emotional and Mental Contemplation
  • Pre Season Tune-Up workouts should focus on reviewing basic, fundamental core body movement skills followed by speed, strength, and conditioning. The objective of each training session should be to gradually increase the length and intensity gradually to ensure that they are in a challenging atmosphere to ensure they are fully prepared and in peak condition for the intensity of starting a new training season!
  • Review Training Strategies as not every form of conditioning is applicable to all events through out the competitive season. Selecting the right combinations of training and the most specific exercises is an important, energy conserving principle. List dates of competitive events and the emphasis in preparing for each event in preparation for peaking for the final and most important competition. Conditioning for one event will be significantly different compared to another. Athlete conditioning training involves:
      • Physical Skills,
      • Strength,
      • Power,
      • Endurance,
      • Speed,
      • Flexibility conditioning.
Interval Training
      The early forms of interval training were casual and unstructured with the athlete allowed to simply increase and decrease his/her pace at will. Interval training has evolved to consist of short, high intensity bursts of speed combined with slow, recovery phases that are repeated during one exercise session.

      The best strategy typically involves balancing multiple methodologies. In some sports the athletes are encouraged to participate in year round, high intensity intervals of training that do not involve aerobic exercises. Athletes benefit from a progression aerobic training and interval based training.

       During the high intensity exercises, the anaerobic system uses energy that is stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. This process occurs without oxygen and produces lactic acid as a by-product. As the lactic acid level increases, the body experiences an oxygen deficit. A recovery phase is required to allow the heart and lungs to replenish the low oxygen levels and break down the lactic acid.

      Aerobic training exercises use oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. It improves efficiently of the body's aerobic capacity, trains the body to utilize fat for energy, reduces injury, improves recovery, and better prepares an athlete for endurance activities.

      Ideally athletes should have their blood measured for lactate levels during and after intense exercises using an Anaerobic Threshold (AT) test.

      There are differences in the levels and length of activities required in different sporting events. An athlete training for long-distance swimming might engage in a training regimen ... Recovery from anaerobic exercises is highly dependent upon an individual's level of aerobic metabolism. Aerobic endurance training may help athletes reduce the amount of recover time required. 

The SAID Principle & Aerobic/Anaerobic Training  Specific adaptations observed in athletes are directly related to the quality and specificity of the aerobic & anaerobic stimulus within their training programs.

Effects of High Intensity Intermittent Training It is a low volume strategy for producing gains in aerobic power and endurance normally associated with longer training bouts.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity of Endurance Athletes  Jan. 9, 2008  When you are new to endurance training your goal is to create an aerobic system capable of functioning for the duration.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity of Endurance Athletes 
A brief outline of point for a better understanding of:

Aerobic System (with oxygen): provides energy at a slower rate for long-term exercise (e g Ironman contests, Marathon races, etc.).
  • it uses oxygen to help provide fuel
  • it enables athletes to recover from tough workouts and helps develop the capacity increase repetitions.
  • does not produce fatigue producing waste products
  • lower intensity exercises
  • takes longer to overload than the anaerobic systems
  • requires a minimum 20 minutes duration training period
  • workload can be continuous or broken up into interval training
Anaerobic Lactic System (without oxygen): generates energy quickly and the by- product of this system is lactic acid (e g sprints, weight training, interval training, training at various speeds)
  • less efficient
  • hastening muscle fatigue
  • high intensity level
  • body must burn carbohydrates stored in muscle
  • lactic acid must be removed — can take up to one hour
  • carbohydrates must be replaced for further activity to occur
  • first ten minutes of active recovery produces greatest reduction in lactic acid
  • provide majority of energy requiring high bursts of speed or resistance lasting up to 10 seconds
  • built by alternating periods of work and rest
  • builds on the aerobic base, and challenges the athlete at the upper level of aerobic capacity

Progression and Periodization Training
      Progression and periodization are absolutely necessary for optimal results as the athlete progresses through various stages of puberty. Another consideration is that the longer the athlete has trained the more they need to experience a variation in their training to maintain their enthusiasm and stay focused on his/her training needs which is vital to continue progressing in their sport.

      To design an optimal exercise program, workout, or training schedule, it is desirable for a coach or athlete to adhere to the following six principles of exercise science:

  • The Principle Of Individual Differences simply means that, because we all are unique individuals, we will all have a slightly different response to an exercise program.

  • The differences relate to body size and shape, genetics, past experience, chronic conditions, injuries and even gender. Note: girls and women generally need more recovery time than boys and men. As we age, more recovery time is required for older athletes compared to younger athletes.
  • The Principle of Overload states that it is necessary to increase the exercise workload causing stress or load levels beyond what is normally required for training and acquiring new skill sets. The body adapts to the exercise overload by improving fitness, strength, and/or endurance levels.
  • The Principle of Progression implies that there is an optimal exercise load that should be achieved combined with an optimal time frame for this exercise activity to occur. It is possible to maximize improvement in fitness, without risk of injury, by gradually and systematically increasing the workload over a period of time. If overload occurs too slowly, it is very unlikely that much, if any, improvement will occur; however, overloading exercise levels too rapidly increases the possibility of injury to joints and/or muscle damage.
Continual stress on the body that occurs from constant exercise overloading makes it very likely for exhaustion and injury to occur. You should not train hard all the time, as you'll risk over training and a decrease in fitness. It is extremely important to train so peaking occurs for specific competitive dates.
  • The Principle of Adaptation refers to the body's ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands. Athletes must acquire the skills to coordinate muscle movement and develop sports specific skills. Reparative practice allows a skill or activity to become automated and easier to perform because of muscle memory. At the start of any new exercise routine, athletes usually experience sore muscle, but this starts to disappear within a few days after starting,
  • The Principle of Use and Disuse implies that we either continue to use an asset or we will see it decline and ultimately disappear. Muscle size and strength increase with use and experience a loss of muscle size and strength with disuse. This also explains why we should apply the concept of deconditioning or de-escalating exercise programs at the end of a season or suffer a considerable loss of acquired skills, muscle strength, and coordination over a two to three month period of inactivity.
  • The Principle of Specificity states that exercising a specific body part primarily develops that part. It is helpful to start with a good basic level of fitness acquired by participating in general conditioning routines. However, to become better at a specific sport, the training program must target exercises designed to improve skills specifically required to excel in that sport.
Source of list -  Exercise Science Principles of Conditioning

 Identify the source(s) of Fatigue
     It is important to understand what contributes to the physical, mental, and emotional fatigue that occurs naturally in children and adults. Please review the following for a better understanding of what causes fatigue and the solutions:

  • Fatigue |  Sept. 13, 2011  Fatigue may be classified as either a physical or an emotional symptom in response to multiple root causes which makes diagnosis difficult.
  • Fatigue - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment  There are numerous potential causes of fatigue as a major complaint. ... as a feeling of lack of energy and motivation that can be physical, mental or both. ... while emotional or mental causes comprise the other 40% to 80% of cases of fatigue.
  • Emotional Fatigue: Coping With Academic Pressure  Emotional fatigue greatly influences student performance. It is possible to identify basic physical and cognitive components that are positive as well as negative. The physiological and mental symptoms associated with emotional fatigue can cause a person to isolate themselves from family and close friends.
  • Effects of bullying and stress: symptoms  Bullying: psychological and physical symptoms of stress and fatigue cause our body's physical, mental and emotional batteries to become completely drained by prolonged negative stress - fatigue, anxiety, depression, immune system suppression, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), aches, pains, numbness and panic attacks.

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
Sports Training
PDF  USFS Stretching Training
PDF  Strength Training Exercises
PDF  Cool Down Exercises
PDF  Warm Up Exercises
PDF  Power Skating Classes
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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