This article was originally published on XL Athlete by Matthew Van Dyke and Cal Dietz. With their kind permission we’re sharing it here for Trayn readers.

There are no short cuts. If you want to do something special, there's a price to pay.

— Tom Thibodeau

In order to be able to perform best during peak season many athletes train with too little variation or too intensively. Training should be specific, targeted at the energy system involved in the particular sports.Thus, training intensity is essential for reaching maximum performance. Nevertheless, the question coaches always face is how to prepare their athletes best during off season. Cal Dietz and Matthew Van Dyke have devided the off-season conditioning planning in 3 phases.

PHASE 1 – Metabolic Injury Prevention Running

During this phase, base running and training are completed. This is the phase in which metabolic injury prevention running will be completed. This first phase of training typically lasts between 2 and 4 weeks, with the goal of creating a solid foundation of training which will allow more intense training as the off-season progresses. Metabolic injury prevention running can be completed between 2 and 3 times per week due to its low impact intensities and overall lower intensity on the body.

Off-Season Conditioning Plan
Off-Season Conditioning Plan

PHASE 2 – Sport Specific Speed Development

Phase 2 consists of sport specific speed development and includes the qualities of acceleration, top end speed, and change of directions. The majority of the time within this phase will be spent completing as many sport specific drills as possible. This intermediate phase will last between 4 and 8 weeks to allow optimal development, with high quality work being the goal of each repetition.

PHASE 3 - Game Speed Conditioning

This final phase of the off-season periodization consists of game speed conditioning. This will be completed 2 to 3 weeks prior to the beginning of training camp or the season. This phase is used as the final peaking method to prepare athletes for camp or an athlete’s season. It will offer optimal conditioning and injury prevention using maximal intensities. It should be performed at least twice a week, if not three times, when no other conditioning methods are being utilized. However, if speed development of athletes is still required, this quality can be trained throughout the week.

About the authors

Matthew Van Dyke is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Denver. At Denver, Matt is responsible for designing and implementing speed, strength, conditioning, and mobility workouts for men’s lacrosse, alpine ski, volleyball, tennis and swimming.

Cal Dietz is a Sports Performance Coach at the University of Minnesota, Co-Author of Triphasic Training, and owner of XL Athlete. During his tenure, Dietz has trained: a Hobey Baker Award winner, two Big Ten Athletes of the Year, athletes that have achieved 375 All-American honors, 24 Big Ten/WCHA championships teams and 7 NCAA Team Champions, and 13 teams finish in the top four in the nation. He has consulted with Olympic and World Champions in various sports and professional athletes in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and Professional Boxing.