Game Fit - The Best Training Method to Improve Fitness During the Preseason
Sport specific fitness is something that's very unique and hard to replicate away from actually playing sport, but there are ways to optimise your fitness during the off season.
December 20, 2016
Sport specific fitness is something that's very unique and hard to replicate away from actually playing sport. The movement patterns, muscles used, chaos, and sheer intensity of sport means that even the hardest working athletes can be under-prepared come round one.
Now depending on your sport and the position you play this drill might not be perfectly "specific" to your needs but this high intensity workout will go a long way to helping you replicate the movement patterns and the intensity of most team and ball sports.
Setting up the area for Game Fit
Ideally, you'll do this work out on a basketball court with a level, even floor but over the holidays it can be hard to get access.
A soccer pitch, a football field, running track, anything like that will do the job. Just make sure it's even and check for any potholes before you start. If you’re at an oval you are going to need to set up cones or markers. The sideline should be 25 to 30 meters long. While the baseline is 15 to 16 meters long. You'll also need to mark the halfway points of the sideline. (approximate distances are fine)
You'll also need some form of interval timer. given the multiple parts of the workout and the quarters we have built our own custom interval timer, which is available for free on both Apple and Android. (links at the bottom of this article).
Completing the workout
First complete a full and thorough warm-up before beginning the first set. Once you are warm, open the Core Advantage Interval Timer, select Game Fit, and enter the number of quarters you plan on completing.
A full Game Fit workout consists of four quarters (like many sports). If you are new to this workout I recommend starting with just one or two quarters and building your way up to the full four quarters. Each quarter is the same and consists of;
A ten-in-one Shuttle run. To complete this the athlete repeatedly sprints from end to end (baseline to baseline) of the Game Fit course. The goal is to cover ten lengths* of the court/field in one minute (hence the name).
*Each time you reach a baseline that is counted as one.
The full version of Game Fit requires you to run the full ten, even if you go over the one minute timer. Whatever you run over the one minute you subtract from your rest (if it takes you 70 seconds you now only have 50 seconds rest). For younger or less-fit athletes an eight-in-one might be used instead.
Sixty-second rest. This is designed to mimic a timeout, stoppage or lull seen in many common sports.
Three minutes of as many rounds as possible of the Game Fit circuit. Now, the circuit requires some explaining. The image might also help you navigate the sequence (or watch the video below)
Start in the bottom corner and sprint to half court.
At half court, switch off and coast to the end.
Then zigzag your way backward with lateral push steps two steps left, then two right. You are now at the opposite corner of the court to your starting point.
turn and sprint back to the halfway cone.
Coast to the end
Across the last baseline zig-zag your way back to the starting cone with forwards cutting, two steps left, two steps right.
Now you're back to the first cone. Repeat as many as you can in the three minutes before taking the quarter time break and resting for 3 minutes.
Three-minute rest. This is designed to mimic a half time break, or substitution.
Sports specific fitness is about quality over guantity
And one last thing, if by the third or fourth quarters you're really starting to slow down or the quality of your movement is dropping off, rest longer between each lap of the game fit circuit.
It sounds counterintuitive but a little more rest to maintain high movement speeds and good quality of movement is actually better than grinding through sluggish, slow laps.
The goal isn't just to thread your way through it. It's to get high-quality explosives work for your muscles, your moving patterns, and your energy systems, just like you would in sport.
Download the Core Advantage Interval timer for free:
The easiest way to time this workout is with the Core Advantage Interval timer, a smartphone app you can get for free.