A Coaches Guide to Keeping Your Team Fit Over Christmas

Coaches from the professional to the amateur and junior level leave no stone unturned to get the edge on the competition with greater fitness and strength for their players.

But they face a major interuption here in the Southern Hemisphere. The Christmas break!

It is great getting a bunch of time off over the summer with some beach weather, but it’s hard for coaches to fully relax.

  • Are we losing fitness over the break?
  • What condition are my players going to come back in after the break?
  • Will they be fit enough?

Unfortunately the sad reality is that most athletes will come back from the break in worse shape than they left.

Some will over eat and under train. Some will over train and under eat.

Very few of them will successfully maintain full fitness and even fewer will come back fitter and stronger in January than they were when team training broke up in December.

At Core Advantage we work very hard to make sure all of our athletes are "summer-improvers". We want them to come back fit, fresh and ready to attack the sporting year. We want our athletes to absolutely dominate their summer training to be in peak condition from day one of training in the New Year.  

How we ensure athletes maintain fitness over summer

To keep everyone in great shape over the break our athletes are given a customised summer program covering all aspects of their physical preparation.

Aerobic and anaerobic fitness, speed, agility, strength and flexibility are covered with every day of the summer programmed based on each athlete’s individual goals whilst taking into account where they will be and what equipment they have access to.

Some will be having a stay-cation at home and will have full access access to our facility and coaching, others will be away camping and have nothing but land and gravity to work with. Either way we give our athletes all the tools and advice they need to power through the break without missing a beat.

The great news is you can do this too, and use the resources we have created to keep your players in great shape. It’s actually really simple. Just share this with your athletes and have them follow our free guide below. We have videos, articles and even a free custom app designed specifically to help all athletes get in great quality work.

The summer fitness guide

This guide contains everything an athlete needs to maintain or improve fitness over the break. Just follow the steps and away you go.

Step one: set goals

Goal setting is a powerful tool that is so often under utilised by athletes. We like the 1-2-3 method for goal setting.

  1. Set one long term goal. This could be 12 months or 5 years away. This is the ultimate prize. Maybe you want to make the pros, play college or just make the firsts team at school next season. This is the ultimate reward and motivation for all this hard work
  2. Set 2 medium-short term goals. These could be 1-6 months away and might be some form of stepping stone that takes you closer to the long term goal. Winning a tournament, being promoted a division, or averaging a certain stat line over the season are all great examples.
  3. Set three daily-weekly training goals. While long, medium and short term goals are all outcome based. Training goals are all about focusing on the process. These are the goals, habits and routines that you do frequently, consistently and with great attention to detail. This is the most powerful type of goal an athlete can set, yet it’s the one that we see athletes spend the least amount of time working on.
    Some examples include:
  4. Foam rolling and stretching everyday
  5. Taking an extra 10 free throws, set shots, putts at the end of every training
  6. Eating a high protein breakfast everyday

These are all just examples, grab some paper and decide what it is you want to focus on. For your process goals, focus on what you need to maintain during the break so you arrive back at training strong and fit.

Step two: understand load management

Load management is a huge topic and a very important concept to understand. This video explains what you need to know about load management. I’m not great on camera so the delivery isn’t amazing (sorry) but the info is mission critical for all athletes and coaches so it really is worth watch.

Step three: Create a basic training plan

Having a good plan is crucial maximising your results. We recommend the schedule below for most team sport athletes. NB. The videos explaining how to do all these things are right below the outline.

  1. Game Fit
  2. Strength Training
  3. Bike/Off legs cardio or Rest day
  4. Repeat sprints and sports skills
  5. Strength training
  6. Game Fit or Repeat Sprints and sports skills
  7. Rest day

Your exact schedule might look a little different but this guide spreads the training load evenly with room for recovery too. This might look like a lot but each workout is only 30-45 minutes long, so the time investment isn’t massive.

Step four: attend to tissue quality

Warm up, cool down and recovery are crucial all year round. Why would that be any different over summer? We recommend every athlete do the following routine daily. The dynamic portion (4) only needs to be done before any sessions that involve running and jumping.

Phase 1: Foam rolling

Phase 2: Targeted static stretching

Phase 3: Glute and core activation

Phase 4: Dynamic movement (only done prior to sessions that include running)

Step five: sports specific fitness

For this we have three killer sports fitness workouts. Game Fit, Repeat Sprints and 8:12s on a spin bike

All three of these workouts help to mimic the energy system and movement demands of team sports like basketball, football, netball, soccer, tennis and rugby.

To learn more about sports specific fitness. Read our article here.

All of these workouts are made easy through the use of the Core Advantage Interval Timer App. It’s free to download in both the App Store and on Google Play.

Step six: maintain strength

Strength is the foundation of athleticism. Getting strong takes time, access to coaching and weights and a whole lot of consistent hard work. But that doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Doing something is always better than nothing.

Standing calf raises are a great exercise that can be done anywhere with no equipment and play a huge role in jumping and sprinting.

And our 5-minute abs workout are all great options to help you maintain your core strength even if you don’t have any equipment with you.

Step seven: tournament plan

Many sports return from summer with trials, selection camps or big 3+ day tournaments early in the year. If this is the case check out our tournament prep article to have your team recovering between games and dominating the opposition.

Step eight: Stay on track with your nutrition

Remember you can’t out train a bad diet. These videos should help you stay on track through the holiday break (without missing out on all the deliciousness along the way!


It might seem like a lot but is less than an hours training each day and it will make a huge difference. So enjoy your time off but remember to keep up your training during the break so that you can hit the ground running and have a great season the following year.

If you live in Melbourne and want take things to the next level get in touch and we can put you into our summer program and guide/push you every step of the way.